Top Of The Table Clash Goes Wandies Way

As the SWRU Premier league gears up for some tough contests before the Christmas break, Murrayfield Wanderers travelled to Royal High, for a top of the table clash.As the SWRU Premier league gears up for some tough contests before the Christmas break, Murrayfield Wanderers travelled to Royal High, for a top of the table clash.

With the home team boasting a large number of players involved in the recent Scotland v Canada game, mainly in the pack, the visitors knew it would be a tough ask to get a win away from home. However, having had three front-five forwards also involved in the recent international, together with ex-International Shank playing on the flank, Aussie visitor Nicky (are you sure she hasn??™t got a Scottish granny??) McLaughlin at number 8, the hardhitting Wenche and Sarah Quick as well as Pocket rocket Rennie, the Wandies pack, although smaller than the visitors, was ready for a battle. Unfortunately, starting hooker Rainbow was injured in the opening minutes of the game, however, Amy Rennie was a more than capable replacement.

The opening exchanges saw both teams set out their game plans- RHC rumbled it effectively up the park, while Wanderers tried to play in the wider channels. Royal High??™s kicking game was good in parts, but a loose kick early on allowed captain Zulfi to dodge a few defenders, after dropping the ball between her legs- hardly a textbook catch??¦ and get points on the board. Harley converted. 0-7.

Royal High continued to ask questions of the forwards, but the Murrayfield pack was outstanding in their defence, winning numerous turnovers, and Shank, Nicky and Wenche making it particularly difficult for the home team to establish a rhythm. Scrum half Gilly also hassled extremely well at the breakdowns, and together with the pack, disrupted Royal High attacks on several occasions. She later even managed to hold up a try, despite being the shortest on the team, and having half a toilet roll stuck up her nose- Good work.

Following a change in play, RHC found themselves in the Wandies 22, following a kick and chase from scrum-half Daggy, which might have led to a try earlier had it not been for Shanks tracking back to collect the ball. However, the home pack was determined, and following a series of pick and goes, FSC Jilly Mccord powered her way over to score. Conversion missed. 5-7.

Wanderers soon hit back though, again from a counter-attack, following a probing kick down the touchline by RHC. Right wing Harley did well to tidy the ball, before it went into touch for a Wanderers line out. Fullback Zulfi took a quick throw in to herself (greedy begger) before linking with Lana ???Windae Licker??™ on the half way. The middle-rower proceeded to sprint the whole 50m to the try line, splitting the defence like a banana, and showing that as well as pace, she has also overcome her try-line phobia??¦ Conversion missed. 5-12

In a tense first half, it was not long before the home team struck back again, this time scoring from a close range scrum, creating an overlap from a number 8 pick up to put Daggy over to score in the corner. Conversion missed. 10-12

It looked set to stay that way going into half-time, however in the last play of the game, a clearing kick from the home team was fielded by Zulfi, who managed to dance up the touchline to score in the corner. Harley slotted the difficult conversion.

Half time 10-19

After a much-needed break, the teams returned to the field, with Royal High kicking off. Wenche took the re-start on the full and made a cracking run, supported by player of the match Nicky. Shona ???Chabal??™ Peacock and Jenni Miller came on on the flank and the wing respectively to add some fresh legs.

It was Royal High who made the stronger start, with stand-off Gayle Stewart gliding through a gap in the Wandies defence to bring the score to 15-19. Shortly after, the teams were forced to move to another pitch, while RHC??™s Alison Macdonald received some treatment for a neck injury. She was taken to hospital, hopefully as a precaution. In a game where there were numerous stops for injuries, it is hoped none of them, particularly this one, were too serious.

Back to the game, and with the gap at only four points, both teams were feeling the pressure, and fatigue was starting to set in. Wanderers were not enjoying the territory they might have wanted, and looked to be running out of ideas. However, an excellent kick from Shorty (or Gilly, it was someone as short as me anyway and I couldn??™t see properly) bounced up beautifully for Harley, who leapt like a salmon, and then showed electric pace to outrun the opposition back three to touch down under the sticks. She added the conversion. 15- 26

Wanderers defence continued to work hard, with centres Tange and Shep forcing their opposite numbers back in the tackle on countless occasions. Tracy and wee Heather also came on to play their part in the victory.

As the game drew to a close, it seemed that the visitors had the upper hand, and there was time for one final try for the fullback before the full-time whistle. Arguably Wandies should have scored again, but Shep and Zulfi were faffing around and couldn??™t quite execute a move in the opponents 22.

Final score 15-33