ladies take on challenge of their careers
Greenock Wanderers ladies hope to get their massive Sarah Beaney Scottish Cup second round tie against Edinburgh University played at the second time of asking at 2pm on Sunday at Fort Matilda.
Despite having an away league fixture scheduled against Howe of Fife the games governing body, the Scottish Rugby Union, has decreed that precedence must go to the knock-out cup competition so Wanderers and the students will attempt to go head to head once more this weekend.
The local girls were left frustrated last Sunday when news of the postponement was confirmed as they had prepared well and had selected a strong squad who were focused and confident of having a real go at the top ladies university side in Great Britain.
Head coach Ally Hunter said, “The game frankly couldn’t come quickly enough for the girls last week and the cancellation meant a huge anti-climax. The positive aspect of the call-off though is that we get another week to work on and consolidate our game plan so if anything we will be even more ready for this weekend.”
“We are settling nicely into our own style of play and the girls all know what is expected of them in different situations and areas on the park. There will be a few tactical tweaks here and there but by and large we will play to our strengths and ask questions of the students defence”
Wanderers’ preparations have been thorough and big game performances will be expected from several key players.
The Greenock back row consisting of skipper Emma Grace, open side flanker Anne Thompson and number 8 Tina Hemphill is developing into a highly effective unit. This technically gifted trio complements each other perfectly with their mix of skills that include the necessary ingredients of aggression, athleticism, composure and tactical nous at the breakdown which has resulted in the locals enjoying more than their fair share of turnover possession.
The unglamorous chores though are as always done by the front five and vice-captain Emily Gray ensures that her pack will do the hard graft for the entire 80 minutes with no slacking countenanced.
Unsung hero, newcomer Cat Geurtsen typifies this spirit with her industry and consistency at lock-forward where she simply toils away doing the unseen but necessary tasks that gives her side the edge.
The Greenock back division has an embarrassment of riches with quality stretching across the three-quarter line and into the back three.
Vice-captain Hannah Mutton plays with poise, self-assurance and authority and her infectious self belief spreads across Wanderers attacking unit. The scrum-half has excelled in all positions she has been asked to cover this season and her colleagues are following her example.
Nicole Boffey is another talent that deserves much praise. She was last season’s most improved player but has taken her development to a whole new level. The hard running, try scoring, tough tackling centre has been a revelation in Wanderers colours this season and capped a fine display a fortnight ago against Garioch with a brace of tries.
Sunday’s game will be the biggest test the locals have faced this term but with confidence high and key players bang in form they have a real chance of getting past what will be a capable and talented Edinburgh side.
A large crowd is expected to descend on Fort Matilda for the big match and if the Greenock girls can get into the groove early, exert their will on the game and put pressure on the visitors then there is every likelihood that a successful outcome will be achieved by the girls in red, yellow and black.