Spirit of rugby to the fore for Keri

Yesterday’s BT Women’s National League Division 1 match between Watsonians and Stewartry attracted a larger than usual crowd for a league game, as players past and present gathered at Myreside on what would have been the 37th birthday of Watsonians back row, Scottish Rugby physiotherapist and Scotland Women international Keri Holdsworth.

 

Keri passed away earlier this year, following a fatal road crash, and her home club decided to mark the significant date with the match in her memory, alongside the official opening of the Keri Holdsworth Physiotherapy Room at Myreside.

Although Watsonians posted the win, results were secondary in a game where the spirit of rugby was to the fore.

Captain Amanda Byrne said:

“It’s a big day for the club, with a lot of support along from other teams. Training for this match was a bit emotional because a lot of the girls played with Keri. Some of our players who decided to stop playing last year came back for one final runout in Keri’s honour.”

Members of her family, who were at the match, have donated the playing strips for this season, with Keri’s initials on the arm. The number 8 jersey has been retired, the position replaced with ‘H’ on the back of the strip.

Watsonians head coach, Baz Lawson, said: “We had really good numbers down on Thursday for training and we had to try to take the emotion out of the game. It’s a big day for the club but we wanted them to turn up with their rugby heads on; rugby first and foremost and a celebration of Keri afterwards. Everyone was up for it – and it was a fantastic day.”

Of the game itself, Byrne said: “Our game plan before we went out was do the simple things well. We knew we were strong in the forwards, so told them to man up and hit the rucks hard and get some good running ball for our backs. We’ve got some good running backs, too. That was our plan. Just keep it simple.”

The 63-5 scoreline saw Watsonians’ centre Helen Blevins touch down four times, stand-off Emma Evans notch up three tries and four conversions, lock Kim Wedge score three tries and scrum half Rachel Collins add another.

Lawson added: “We had a strong kick chase. The forwards put in a lot of hard work which allowed our backs to score a lot of tries. We can’t ask more that that.

“The key to this team is they’ve got a lot of heart and they never give up, even when we’re ahead like today, we never take our foot off the gas. If we play like we did today, we can go for most of the season with winning our games.”