Hillhead edge out Wandies in Sarah Beaney Cup final

Hillhead Jordanhill overcame Murrayfield Wanderers 26-23 in a nail-biting Sarah Beaney Cup final at BT Murrayfield to deny their club rivals of silverware on BT Cup Finals Day

Wandies’ Helen Nelson made an early break in the opening minutes of the match which eventually led to an early penalty opportunity for the defending champions.

Scotland Women captain Lisa Martin then kicked the opening points to send Wandies into a three-point lead as the Edinburgh club gained momentum in the opposition 22.

A line-out fed by hooker Sarah Quick provided the platform for Wandies to move the ball wide and through the hands, with the ball finding the line courtesy of blindside Jennifer Cram, before Helen Nelson added the conversion.

Hills claimed their first try of the match in stylish fashion, when Hannah Smith found space down the middle to sprint under the posts before Ally Cook converted.

After the 20-minute mark, Hills increased the pressure and managed to bag two scores within minutes of one another, Abi Evans securing a brace after fellow centre Hannah Smith provided quick ball after breaking on both occasions.

Evans showed pace and power, turning the Wandies defence inside out, to send her team into the lead with Ally Cook adding one of two conversions.

Martin then added a penalty from in front of the sticks to edge closer to leaders, Hills.

An injury to Hills’ winger Hannah Smith stunted play at the end of the first-half before the teams went into the changing rooms to re-group for the next passage of play.

Half-time: Murrayfield Wanderers 13 – 19 Hillhead Jordanhill

After the interval, both sides looked to assert authority with several positive passages of play leading to a swings of momentum.

A kick through from Wandies’ Chloe Rollie threatened before Wandies found themselves in a threatening position in the 22 but a spilled ball gave possession back to Hills.

Minutes later, a line-out for Wandies moved the ball to the right with Helen Nelson providing the winning pass to wing Eilidh Sinclair who raced over to score right of the posts before before Helen Nelson converted to take the scores within one point of one another.

A penalty from Wandies’ Martin was then added and with the scores on a knife edge, Hillhead found themselves deep inside the 22.

Smith then scored her second of the match to take Hillhead into the lead as Ally Cook added the extras, with the team from the west now three points ahead.

Hillhead Jordanhill captain, Louise McMillan, said: “Before we always talked about how we deserved the victory but today I think we earned it. In the second half we took the opportunities when they were there.”

For a while everyone has been questioning whether we can beat them and for the whole season we’ve been saying, ‘yes we can’ but we haven’t been. The belief was there from the girls that we could beat them and today we did."

Full-time: Murrayfield Wanderers 23 – 26 Hillhead Jordanhill

Murrayfield Wanderers: Chloe Rollie; Eva Rojas Bonet, Sula Callender, Helen Nelson, Eilidh Sinclair; Lisa Martin, Jenny Taylor; Beth Dickens, Sarah Quick CAPTAIN, Lisa Robertson, Emma Wassell, Sarah McCormack, Jennifer Cram, Lucy Park, Rachel Cook. Replacements: Alison Wilson, Kirsty Fisher, Ciara O’Driscoll, Jilly Alford, Kirsty Auckland, Ellie Wilson, Christina Newton.

Hillhead Jordanhill: Aimee Watson; Sarah Smith, Abi Evans, Hannah Smith, Lizzie Willi; Ally Cook, Mairi McDonald; Heather Lockhart, Stella Kyalikunda, Lindsey Smith, Siobhan McMillan, Kirsty Reid, Hannah Telling, Louise McMillan CAPTAIN, Jade Konkel. Replacements: Kirsty Daly, Debbie Falconer, Jenny Johnston, Kirsty Openshaw, Andrea Gaffney, Fiona Dorman.

Referee: Alexandra Gordon Smith

Player of the Match: Hannah Smith (Hillhead Jordanhill)