In their first ever home game, newly formed NDL side Broughton WRFC marked the historic occassion by beating Stirling County WRFC 22-7 in a bruising encounter at Wardie.
Broughton Women welcomed Stirling County to Wardie as guests to participate in the first ever game for Scotland's newest rugby club with both sides happy for the opportunity to play on what would otherwise have been another Sunday where over 30 young females would have been idle doing something far less useful.
The game kicked off later than planned as match official Williams searched for a replacement whistle which he had left at home! Luckily Club Subscription Secretary Grant Hutchison (deadline for discounted subs is 30 September!) was on hand after coaching the kids to help out.
Broughton played down hill in the first of 3 agreed time periods. Nicholls was eager to impress new Coach Briedenham but her over-eagerness saw her break down the middle of the pitch but on her own, causing her to be caught isolated and penalised for holding on.
Most of the early pressure was towards the Stirling County line with the forwards, led by Captain Appleby, mauling and rucking with some urgency however it was against the run of play that the opening try was scored.
Another Broughton march towards to visitors red zone was thwarted and the ball lost in contact. This was seized upon by the Stirling lass in the leggings who used her athletic pace to run up the slope to score under the Broughton posts. The conversion by No.8 Natalya Macholla, who featured in Scotland's 2009 6 Nations campaign, was successful. 0-7.
This seemed to get to the Broughton side and their dander was well and truly up. Chowaniec used her strength to hold up play before releasing Kinghorn, however the stand-in scrum half was halted 5 metres out. From the resultant scrum, a tremendous nudge from the Broughton pack immediately caused distress at the base for the Stirling County back row and as the ball squirmed out, McFarlane was the first to react and the Glasgow-based Student pounced on the prize to score. 5-7.
Stirling County came back out for the 2nd period with renewed vigour and it was only a try saving crunching challenged from pint-sized Heard that saved her side from going further behind. This unfortunately caused a delay to allow attention to her opponent who landed heavily.
After the game returned to it's frantic pace, Broughton pushed up the slope with McFarlane breaking the line before setting Heard off on a run. Her dynamic running caused all sorts of issues for the Stirling defence but her final delivery to Kinghorn was knocked on.
However, the respite for the visitors was only marginal with Kinghorn turning sinner to winner with a well worked individual try. The man in the middle had spotted the County back line offside and the quick thinking Kinghorn took a tap penalty and dived over the line, taking a knee to the back in the process. After a mouthful of magic water, she was back up and slotted the conversion to see her team take the lead for the first time. 12-7.
Tragedy struck in the 35th minute for the Stirling team when one of their players suffered a suspected broken ankle after a hand off by Nicholls caused the player to fall to the ground in apparent agony. Both sets of players knew that it wasn't looking good and the match was held up for some time to allow the player to be taken off on a stretcher whilst awaiting the arrival of the ambulance.
This naturally unsettled the Stirling side and in the final play of the 2nd period, Kinghorn broke free from the back of a scrum some 20 metres out to run up the blind side and score a great try. 17-7.
The final third of the game was fairly fragmented as both sets of players struggling with the gusty wind which was causing the flight of the ball to go all over the place and not to hand!
Newcomers to the side Walls & Witt both contributed significantly to the cause, with the former being stopped unconventionally by a high challenge in the 45th minute as her aggressive play seemed to pierce holes in the County defence.
Callaghan looked on fire when she burst through several County players just outside the 22 but her legs were hampered by taking part in the 10k run earlier in the day at Hopetoun House!
Broughton player of the match Smith earned her award for a first class game at Prop but should there have been any doubt as to why it should be given to her, then the 'whammo' she handed out on the unfortunate County No.4 was the icing on the cake. The poor second row forward must have wondered if it was a gazelle or a gazebo than run over her!
Heard continued to tackle anything that had the audacity to run at her and she was instrumental throughout the game, using her knowledge to pull her inexperienced fellow backs into line to keep the County side at bay.
The final score of the day was built from tenacious Broughton forward play and the support each player gave each other as the marched towards the County line. Kinghorn got to within a metre of the line following a promising maul and it was either a case of 'jug avoidance' or a great tackle by the County full back that stop her from falling over the try line, instead she popped up the ball to Greer who only had to fall over the line to score her try. 22-7.
Full credit must go out to both sides for putting on a decent showing of rugby in tough conditions caused by the wind and the two lengthy stoppages caused by injury.