ladies ready for battle against broughton
Greenock Wanderers Ladies resume their British-Telecom sponsored Scottish Women’s National League First Division campaign on Sunday when they travel to Granton Road in Edinburgh to face second top placed side Broughton.
The first division title race is effectively between current pace setters Glasgow University, Broughton and Wanderers and the importance of Sundays clash cannot be understated.
A win for Greenock, while denying the hosts a losing bonus point, would put Wanderers into second place and within striking distance of the summit should the students falter on the run-in.
It has been a terrific campaign for the locals so far and now refreshed after the mid-season break the Octavia Terrace girls are raring to go and have much to play for in the second half of the season.
While still in the running for league honours Wanderers also have a Plate semi-final to contest which could mean an appearance on Finals day at Murrayfield later in the year.
With so much potential glory at stake it is not surprising that the players have been hard at work in the gym during their temporary hiatus from competitive action and are looking sharp, fit and ready for the fray.
Head coach Ally Hunter said,” The cold snap has hampered outdoor training a bit recently but the girls have knuckled down in the gym and have lost none of their sharpness over the festive season. Our objective at the start of the campaign was a top three finish and with a bit of luck a day out at Murrayfield on Finals day and so far those ambitions are very much still achievable”
In terms of selection for Sundays crunch match the locals will have to do without top players prop forward Lauren Gunn and wing three-quarter Cat Cowan but there is strength in depth in the squad and several players will be vying for those jerseys, meaning that a late selection will determine the starting lineup.
Key to success on Sunday though will be the performance of impressive break-away trio skipper Emma Grace, Tina Hemphill and Sophie Hicks. These girls have a fine blend of aggression, speed, fitness and tactical nous and as a unit are peerless in the division.
Orchestrating proceedings at the base will be the indefatigable pairing of Hannah Mutton and Bev Addison and they will distribute possession with their customary intellect and aplomb.
Broughton are known as a hard driving forward based side and in truth one dimensional in character so it would be no surprise if Mutton and Addison’s propensity was to put width on the attack and get strike runners Caitlyn Haldane and Lesley Cadenhead into the action and onto the ball at regular intervals .
There are few better or more effective ploys in the game than quick release ball being fed to two bustling centre’s who are capable of smashing their way over the gain line and Haldane and Cadenhead are more than capable of busting the home defence wide open.
It is indeed exciting times at Fort Matilda for the ladies side these days and a large and loyal following will make their way to Granton Road on Sunday to offer their vocal support to the girls that have done their club and district proud this season.
The hosts won the earlier match at Fort Matilda by the tight margin of 15-12 but the winning try, scored in injury time, was clouded in controversy as many onlookers believed the referee erred awarding the touchdown.
The Greenock girls, to their great credit and in the spirit of the game, accepted the result with good grace but have the chance to inflict a little payback on the hosts who got out of jail at Greenock due to a refereeing blunder.
A cracking tie is anticipated on Sunday and with the locals adept at grinding out tough victories on the road few would bet against Wanderers coming up trumps again and heading home to Greenock with the points in the bag.