ladies get ready for battle with old rivals garioch
Greenock Wanderers Ladies resume their British Telecom sponsored Scottish Women’s National League First Division campaign at 2pm on Sunday when they host Garioch Ladies at Fort Matilda.
The match promises to be a cracker as Garioch have had the edge over the Greenock girls in recent years but Wanderers have improved significantly this season and must fancy their chances of overcoming the Inverurie based team for the first time.
Traditionally the visitors are a big heavy side that rely on forward power to grind down the opposition.
Wanderers will certainly take plenty of confidence and expectation into the fixture as they have won both of their last two games against Borders sides Melrose and Kelso. Those two victories have ensured that a massive injection of self-belief has spread around the dressing room and the games simply can’t come quickly enough for the Greenock girls these days.
Wanderers are bang in form just now and with injury victims Caitlyn and Erin Haldane hoping to be available for selection the locals are only getting stronger by the week.
Head coach Ally Hunter has something of a selection dilemma ahead of Sunday’s game as he has 27 ladies all fit, ready and able for action. Whoever gets the nod to wear the colours on Sunday will be aware that there is increasing expectation that defeat at Fort Matilda is now not an option.
A strong bond has developed amongst the squad of players with all the girls making a strong and decisive contribution when called upon. Several though have excelled this season and deserve special mention.
Up front number 8 Tina Hemphill has had an outstanding start to the campaign. The rampaging loose forward is an excellent ball carrier and regularly drives forward making the hard yards through opposition defenders, ensuring Wanderers enjoy front foot possession. She is also a ferocious tackler, a regular try scorer and adds an educated boot and accurate goal kicking to her array of skills.
Behind the scrum stand-off Bev Addison has taken to her new role as first receiver with considerable enthusiasm and skill. She is an accurate and intelligent distributor of the ball and her decision making under pressure has been a major factor in the recent success story.
Another star catching the eye is Cat Cowan. Cowan’s fast and elusive centre three-quarter play is a key component in the Wanderers attacking armoury. Her commitment to the cause is unquestionable as she commutes every weekend from London to represent the club in what is a remarkable display of loyalty and dedication.
On field leaders Skipper Emma Grace and her vice-captains Hannah Mutton and Emily Gray have taken to their new role with relish and few could have asked for more from this trio.
Mutton’s scoring prowess is highly impressive particularly as she now ply’s her trade mainly at scrum-half. Strong in the tackle and with lightning acceleration her strike rate is another main feature behind the Greenock ladies achievements.
Head coach Ally Hunter said,” We have enjoyed a good couple of weeks and with competition for places now heating up some difficult decisions will have to be made in terms of selection. We have a strong pool of players with plenty of quality in every department so it is a nice problem to have”.
A large crowd will descend on Fort Matilda to support the locals who have every chance of extending their winning run to three consecutive matches. Wanderers are brimming with confidence just now and it would be a brave soul to bet against the Greenock girls taking the spoils on Sunday and finally getting one over on old rivals Garioch.
Wanderers were drawn against the top student side in the United Kingdom, Edinburgh University Ladies in the second round of the Sarah Beany Scottish Cup. The tie is scheduled for Fort Matilda next Sunday 22 October at 2pm.
The Greenock girls can blame their very own founder member Caitlyn Haldane for the tough draw as she pulled the names out of the hat as part of her new job as a Partnerships and Projects Officer for women and girls rugby with the Scottish Rugby Union at Murrayfield. All at Fort Matilda wish Caitlyn every success in her new role.