Last Wednesday the 2XVs travelled to St. Andrews to play in the Conference Cup final against rivals Napier. The two came head to head in the same match last year with Napier coming out on top and the 2s were determined to make sure they didn’t suffer the same fate this year.
Napier kicked off well and Edinburgh managed to form a solid attack. Napier proved from the first few minutes that they were going to be a strong presence in the rucks and after only a few minutes in they stole the ball. With play still in the Edinburgh half it didn’t take long for the strong runners of the Napier backs to get a try in the left corner. The conversion was no good and Napier took an early lead 5-0.
Fly as hell fly-half Laura Keay restarted the game and a motivated green wall pushed straight up on the Napier defence. The next ten minutes saw possession change many times with an outstanding steal from Rapid Raq Matos and some brilliant line breaks from Ginny Miller and Stevie Morrison.
Aimee Dallas reminded us of what we’ve been missing all season with her huge tackles and confident ball play.
With both teams struggling to make it close to their 5 meter line, Edinburgh finally got a break when the backs played the ball out to Captain Annie McKelvey who stepped inside the Napier defense and slotted one down under the posts for a try! She made the conversion and Edinburgh led 7-5 after 20 minutes.
Play continued and with both teams looking well matched it took some quick thinking and fancy footwork from winger Jessie McClintick on the Napier try line to dot the ball over for the score! 12-5 Edinburgh.
Moments later Matos made a cracking line break and with some help from McClintick on the wing, the centre got an incredible try. 17-5 Edinrburgh.
Napier responded with a try and an excellent conversion closing the gap to 17-12.
Edinburgh’s defence struggled to push back Napier but breaks from Dallas and Sarah ‘the destroyer’ Donnelly allowed some breathing room just before half time. Napier’s fly half looked seriously dangerous in the closing stages of the first half as she weaved and dodged past several green shirts but Edinburgh manage to defend the threat and as the half time whistle blew they still had the lead.
Edinburgh start the second half with fresh legs on the pitch and made a couple of successful attacks in the opening 10 minutes, however Napier were able to steal on the try line both times. After Miller heroically holds the ball up, Edinburgh were unable to stop the next threat and Napier equalised. 17 all after 60 minutes played.
With Edinburgh now more determined than ever to not lose the upper hand, Matos proves her athleticism making a mad dash from inside Edinburgh’s own half and getting one under the sticks. McKelvey popped it over and Edinburgh were ahead again 24-17.
Napier’s strong ball carriers were gaining ground and putting them firmly in the driving seat again. Their captain Panashe Muzambe was too strong for the Edinburgh defence and got herself a try, bringing the game back to a tie.
With just over 10 minutes to go, Napier took advantage of the unorganised Edinburgh defence yet again and they took themselves ahead for the first time in 70 minutes.
Napier were ahead and looking strong with minutes to go. But it wasn’t over! A moment of magic from Matos who, despite the pressure and nerves, broke through in the corner and gave Edinburgh try number 5 which tied the score.
The final whistle blew and the score stood at 29 apiece. Extra time.
Coach Louise Dalgiesh told the girls:
“This next 20 minutes is going to be what you’ll remember. Win or Lose. So put everything you’ve got into it.”
After 80 minutes of close contest between these two teams, the overtime began. Edinburgh showed no sign of nerves and within minutes Matos was up to her old tricks and got the crucial first try. Edinburgh lead.
The coaches and subs had their hands on their heads as Napier threatened time and time again but pressure from Galloway and Dallas stopped them getting on the score board in this section of play.
Keay made a successful offload to McKelvey who showed great pace going forward and managed to get it down for a two try lead going into the final stages of play. Napier knew they had a lot of work to do and despite giving it everything in the final minutes, Edinburgh’s fitness showed and with a minute on the clock Keay got her first try and guaranteed the victory for Edinburgh!
There was jubilation on the pitch as the final whistle blew and emotions ran high as this is the first big win for a lot of these girls. After 100 minutes of rugby and 22 players putting their bodies on the line, they only went and won the Cup!
Final Score 46-29.
As the only women’s rugby second team in Scotland this is a huge achievement. This team have come a long way and the future looks bright for a lot of these new players. Certainly a match that won’t be forgotten for a long time.
All credit to Napier for playing a fantastic game and being true competitors till the end. We would like to congratulate them on winning the Scottish 2A League this year and wish them good luck for next season!