Facing the first round of the BUSA Championships, tensions were high in
the Edinburgh locker room before the match. For nearly a year, after
suffering a heart-breaking 13-10 defeat against Leeds Metropolitan in
the 2006 competition, the goal of the Edinburgh Ladies' Rugby Club has
been to win BUSA in 2007. The 43-0 win against Northumbria on
Wednesday, March 14, was a definitive first step on the road to
As the two teams faced each other on the performance pitch at
Peffermill, the significance of the outcome of this match was obvious
-- most especially to the six women who are in their final year of
university. For the first ten minutes, play progressed steadily, with
Edinburgh retaining a lot of ball, and asserting their strength in the
set plays. A try in the eleventh minute by Scottish International Anna
Panayotopoulos settled Edinburgh nerves, and they were able to get down
to the business of rugby. Another try quickly followed, this time from
a magic pass off the scrum at halfway. Centre Fiona Majorin wisely
spotted a gap in the defense, and put the ball down firmly in the
centre of the posts. Flanker Claire Fergusson kicked for the
conversion -- her first of five.
The second twenty minutes of the first half saw each side struggle for
control of the park, but every time Northumbria got their hands on the
ball, they were promptly tackled and forced to make errors.
Unfortunately, this period saw the Edinburgh captain, Emily Murphy,
sin-binned for retaliatory action, leaving the Edinburgh scrum without
A rousing half-time chat by Edinburgh coach Rob Storey lit a fire under
all 15 of the Edinburgh starters, who were vociferously supported by
the side-line contingent of injured players and friends. Once again,
Anna Panayotopoulos scored a beautiful try from the half, battling
through several defenders who tried, in vain, to tackle this forceful
runner. Shortly thereafter, Fiona Majorin, receiving great ball from
fly half Rachel Collins and scrum half Leah Cuthbertson and showing
considerable spark, streaked home to net two more tries for Edinburgh.
Both times, she was chased by the Northumbria centre, but proved too
speedy for her southern counterpart.
Northumbria's own #8, who had been alternately showing great force in
Northumbria's only real attempts at offense, finally succumbed in the
second half to a niggling neck pain, and play was stopped while both
doctor and ambulance were summoned. An overnight stay in Edinburgh's
Royal Infirmary was warranted, but Northumbria report that she was fine
-- if a bit sore -- the next day.
When play resumed after this lengthy interlude, Anna Panayotopoulos
sealed Northumbria's fate, scoring two definitive tries down the
centre, both of which were easily converted by Claire Fergusson.
Northumbria players were escorted to their defeat to the tune of
Edinburgh's fight song, describing "yet another victory". Edinburgh
will now face their arch-rivals, Leeds Met, in the quarter finals, to
be played March 21 in Leeds.
Forward of the Match: new hooker, Anne "Armchair" Wagner
Back of the Match: Anna Panayotopoulos