Donna Kennedy Cup lifted by East/South

It was a women's takeover of BT Murrayfield earlier today as teams for East/South and West/North met on the international pitch to compete for the Donna Kennedy Cup.

Named after Scotland's record cap holder, Donna Kennedy - who was on hand to present the silverware - the match also ranked as a selection fixture for the forthing Scotland Women camp with a place in the wider squad at stake as well as regional bragging rights.

Each side featured a mix of newer faces and experienced heads amd, thus, the opening ten-minute period showed the teams getting a measure of themselves, the opposition and, for most, the international pitch.

Hooker Lana Skeldon and lock Jenny Johnson, for the west/north, made the first noticeable forays but, after a solid five-minute period of pressure form the east/south, captain and stand-off Lisa Martin put the first points on the board, crossing in the corner. With a conversion attempt spot from wide on the touchline, it was just out of reach for Martin's boot to add the extra two points.

Experienced Melrose scrum half, Nicola Halfpenny, came off the bench to join the fray midway through the first half and on the half-hour mark winger Rhona Lloyd finished off her own intercept ball to dot down for the east/south, right by the posts, the conversion nailed by Martin to put the blue-and-whites 12-0 ahead.

The west/north came back immediately, powering their way into the opposition 22, spearheaded by Hillhead Jordanhill's Jade Konkel who, along with Debbie Falconer made the yards to put veteran prop Heather Lockhart over the whitewash, the conversion attempt from Kirsty Reid just wide.

It was Konkel who led the foray back in the east/south 22 on the restart, with the yellow-and-blues hunting another five points however a yellow card for Syme for a high tackle, interrupted the flow and the half-time score stayed at 12-5.

With a handful of subs for both sides, the teams took some minutes to settle back into a pattern however it was east/south who found the line again next, substitute Alexia Mavroudis steaming over the whitewash after a great assist from winger Lloyd.

A head of steam up now, it was less than four minutes before the 'home side scored again, lock Emma Wassell the catalyst for a move which put substitute prop Megan McIvor over, with Martin adding the extras to make it 24-5 on 54m.

The restart saw the action head again for the west/south line with flanker Karen Dunbar dotting down - no try however as the ball was adjudged held up. There was no such query over the next break, though, which saw Mavroudis cross for her second five minutes later, the conversion attempt just short.

At 29-5 down, into the last ten minutes, full marks to the west/north for never letting the fight down, as Abi Evans broke to cross and add five points to the tally. East/south retaliated almost immedaitely, however, as full back Chloe Rollie raced down the wing to make it 34-10, Martin adding the conversion just before the whistle to make it 36-10 and an inaugural Cup win to east/south, with Karen Dunbar awarded player of the match.

After presenting the trophy Donna said: "I thought both sides played really well, there was a very good standard of rugby, they all played right up to the 80-minute mark, there was a lot of good individual performances out there.

"I think this is a line in the sand for Scottish Women’s rugby and a way to get competition levels up."

(see full interview with Donna, right)






Head of Women's and Girls' Rugby Sheila Begbie MBE added:

"I think this has been a real milestone for the women’s game. Donna has been someone who has been very important to the women’s game over a number of years and we wanted to recognise her contribution to the game.

"I think it’s significant for us that we used it as a performance level game where we had some of our national team players and also some of our BT Sport Academy players and some others that our national coach Shade Munro has been looking at in terms of the future for our women’s national team."

(see full interview with Sheila, left)

See here for teams