2019 Sarah Beaney Cup kicks off this weekend
The excitement has been building all week amongst female rugby players across the country as the new-look Sarah Beaney Cup gets ready to begin this weekend.
There are 11 pools and the final standings of each pool will determine whether clubs are entered into the top tier Cup, the second tier Plate or the third tier Bowl, with the draw for those competitions being made on Tuesday, March 19.
The start of the round robin stage has perhaps been looked forward to the most by the players from Stornoway and Heriot’s because they will play their first competitive matches on Saturday and Sunday respectively.
On Saturday afternoon in Pool 9 Stornoway host Inverness Craig Dunain.
Looking ahead to the game, Stornoway captain Emma Murray Scaramuccia said: “There is such an excitement and buzz about the girls as we head into our first ever competitive game.
“It’s going to be a very special moment stepping onto the Bayhead pitch and I couldn’t think of a better bunch of people to do it with.
“We would not have got to where we are without the the dedication of the players and the coaches.
“This is just the beginning for us and we are looking forward to getting stuck in and putting all our training efforts into the game.”
Heriot’s are being coached by former Scotland back-row Ruth Slaven and on Sunday they welcome Kelso to Goldenacre in Pool 8.
Captain Catriona Syme said: “As a team we're excited to play our first competitive game at Goldenacre, there is going to be a fantastic atmosphere. We want our home crowd to see how we have developed as a team and showcase our abilities, particularly with several of our international players absent due to Six Nations duties.
“We have played two games at Goldenacre this year as part of our preparation against Stirling County and Hillhead/Jordanhill. Playing the best women’s teams in Scotland was a great experience and helped us identify strengths and weaknesses in our game going forward.
“Our first game as a new team was against Kelso away in October last year and we are eager to build on that performance. We expect a good physical contest, they have a strong pack and we know we will have to work for any advantage on the pitch.”
There are nine other ties this weekend with Shetland and Peterhead kicking off the whole event with their Pool 11 match at 11.30am on Saturday morning.
In the eight other matches apart from the Heriot’s one on Sunday last season’s winners Hillhead/Jordanhill will be looking for a solid start in Pool 3 against Stewartry.
Ahead of the Hughenden meeting, Hills’ head coach Aird Jardine said: “The players and I are really looking forward to the Cup starting. We have had quite a few months off so are eager to get back into competitive games again. We have used the time well however and worked hard throughout these months.
“We knew that Stewartry will be competitive at all aspects of the game so we cannot be complacent going into the game. We are looking to go in with confidence and stick to our game plan to get the result we are after.
“The injury to [captain] Louise McMillan a blow for the team, but she has shown great character and has still been a leader at training even though she is injured.
“We have created a strong group of leaders within the team.”
Last season’s runners-up, Watsonians, start with a home tie in Pool 6 against Kirkcaldy.
Watsonians head coach Dave Flynn said: “Kirkcaldy may be in a lower league than Watsonians, but that means nothing in Cup rugby so they'll maybe see it as an opportunity for a scalp - it's certainly not a game we'll be taking for granted.
“We have some new faces likely to feature who have joined us and trained throughout pre-season and this will be the first chance give them a match debut for the club. That's been great in driving competition for places which is as hot as ever and a real positive in that people have raised their standards with it.
“We are hoping to get back to BT Murrayfield this year again after the disappointment of last year's final, but other teams are constantly improving and will have the same ambitions so we'll have to be sharp from the very start.”
Elsewhere Ayr welcome Biggar to Millbrae in Pool 1, Oban Lorne are on the road to Cartha Queens Park in Pool 2 and Corstorphine Cougars welcome Grangemouth to Edinburgh in Pool 5.
Pool 7’s opener sees Broughton taking on Lismore while in Pool 10 there are two ties with Glasgow University v Annan and Ardrossan Accies v Greenock Wanderers.
Pool 4 starts next weekend.
This weekend’s fixtures
|Pool 1||Sunday, March 3: Ayr v Biggar 2pm|
|Pool 2||Sunday, March 3: Cartha Queens Park v Oban Lorne 2pm|
|Pool 3||Sunday, March 3: Hillhead/Jordanhill v Stewartry 2pm|
|Pool 5||Sunday, March 3: Corstorphine Cougars v Grangemouth 2pm|
|Pool 6||Sunday, March 3: Watsonians v Kirkcaldy 2pm|
|Pool 7||Sunday, March 3: Broughton v Lismore 2pm|
|Pool 8||Sunday, March 3: Heriot’s v Kelso 2pm|
|Pool 9||Saturday, March 2: Stornoway v Inverness Craig Dunain 2.30pm|
|Pool 10||Sunday, March 3: Glasgow University v Annan 2pm|
Ardrossan Accies v Greenock Wanderers 2pm
|Pool 11||Saturday, March 2: Shetland v Peterhead 11.30am|
Photo - Stornaway, with thanks to Iain James