Broughton Women welcomed German Champions SC Neuenheim to Wardie for this international friendly. SC Neuenheim, formed in 1988, have won 12 German 'Bundesliga' Championships since they were founded and less than 24 hours earlier, they put Premier side Watsonians to the sword 27-07.
Neuenheim Coach and German National Team Prop Marcus Stunt, who played in last week’s European Nations 67-5 defeat away to Romania, used all of his available squad over both games and there were a few players rested to the bench (injuries, sickness and potential frost bite from the previous night!) for this game, however German Internationals such as Sonja Cole played against the Scottish NDL side.
Late call-offs and unavailability through work commitments forced Broughton Coach Marius Briedenhann to test his skills of position placement and also introducing a handful of raw recruits to this baptism of fire against the well drilled Europeans.
Making a return to the side was Jackie ‘Mama Jacks’ Fung, some 12 weeks almost to the day since giving birth to Caoilainn! Jackie’s warm-up consisted of preparing the post-match lasagne and helping Frog cook it!
With Club Captain Katie Appleby joining Shona Roche on a year’s sabbatical in New Zealand, Anna McFarlane was handed the Captain’s armband for the afternoon as her proud mother watched on from the sideline.
Despite the harsh overnight cold weather, the Wardie playing surface was remarkably soft and Broughton played up the slope in the first half.
Before we continue, a word from Frog – “Bonjour. Le match contie les Allemandes s’annonce difficile”
So, on with the game! Broughton kicked off and early exchanges were akin to a Chess match with both teams looking to exploit weaknesses and gain any advantage.
In at Hooker for the game was Nicholls and Nat, who played in the Watsonians side the night before, took the first of several strikes against the head in the 10th minute which gave the pack tremendous confidence.
That confidence was dented in the 16th minute when Gaskell was penalised for a high tackle 10 metres out on the German No.14 who embarked on a one woman mission to outpace the Broughton defence. Whilst the Broughton players switched off and lost concentration, the quick thinking No.11 took a quick tap and raced in unopposed under the posts. The conversion hit the upright and the Germans were 0-5 up.
McFarlane and Gaskell took the game by the scruff off the neck and their tenacious play against these top German opponents had the visitors on the back foot and the trio of McFarlane’s Glasgow University WRFC ‘guests’ McBride, McConnell and Rollinson were making solid headway as the Broughton side looked to overturn the deficit.
The second half started with the low Edinburgh sun causing chaos for the Germans but it was the tourists who made hay whilst the sun shone and doubled their try count 5 minutes into the half.
The Neuenheim No. 13 went on a run up the wing, out stripping McFarlane for pace then evading the despairing dive of Gaskell to go over the whitewash for a try. 0-10.
Fears that the inexperience of the Broughton side would start to show were put to bed some 4 minutes later when the home team grabbed a try of their own. A scrum 15 metres out from the German try line gave Broughton a great opportunity to hit back. Gaskell worked her magic at the base of the scrum and set McFarlane off on a rampaging run, handing-off both Centres before spinning out of a tackle and hitting the turf. Gaskell complimented the fine score by splitting the uprights and it was now 7-10.
On the hour mark Nicholls was unlucky not to push the home side into the lead however a last ditch tackle on the Hooker saw the ball work free from her grasp. Not to be outdone, Nat won the resultant scrum against the head which caused the ball to pop out at the back of the Broughton pack and McBride was the first to react as she gathered the ball and dived in for a try. 12-10.
McFarlane was almost in for a score in the 65th minute, however she was treble tag-team tackled as she tried to dive in but the ball just left her hands as she headed towards the ground.
With ten minutes left on the clock, Broughton looked set for a morale boosting and historic victory. The Broughton pack was causing all sorts of difficulties for the German scrum from the opening minutes and when Gaskell spotted the ball squirting out from the back of a German scrum 10 metres outside their own line, she didn’t know her luck and it allowed Nicky to run in the easiest try of her Broughton career so far. 17-10.
Broughton saved the best try til last with 5 minutes left on the clock. McBride collected the ball on the half way line and pinned back the ears leaving several players (from both sides!) for dead. There was still a lot of work to do as the German rear-guard regrouped to a degree but a quick interchange of passes with the supporting Greer, saw McBride step outside the visitors No.13 to grab her second score of the afternoon.
Final Score Broughton 22 – 10 SC Neuenheim