Tennent’s Women’s Premiership kicks off this weekend
The new Tennent’s Women’s Premiership season gets underway on Sunday and newly promoted Ayr cannot wait to host defending champions Hillhead/Jordanhill to kick things off.
Hills were very much the form team in the league last time out, the Glasgow side being presented with the trophy on the final day at Watsonians’ Myreside ground after coming out on top.
They will likely be strong once again in the coming months and Ayr are the first team who will try and stop them in their tracks.
Ayr will be led by Catherine Shennan on the field and have a new head coach in the shape of Andrew Duncan.
Duncan is looking forward to the opening match and the top flight season as a whole and said: “I came into the club in February time when the Sarah Beaney Cup was getting started and it was great to get to know the squad over that couple of months.
“Now we have been working together in pre-season and I think everyone is excited about the challenge of being in the Premiership again.
“We have a good mix of more experienced players and younger ones coming through while for me this season will also be a good challenge as I start my coaching journey.
“Hillhead Jordanhill are a top side and we expect a tough game on Sunday, but the team are looking forward to it.”
Aird Jardine, the Hills head coach, said: “I am really looking forward to the season starting now and being able to see the team get stuck into a game again.
“We have all worked really hard during pre-season and it has been great having some new and old faces back at the club. We are looking forward to the challenges that are ahead this year and are excited to be starting it all off at Ayr this Sunday.”
Watsonians finished second in the league last time out and lifted the Cup back in April.
They start with an away trip to Corstorphine and the visitors new head coach Freddie Main said: “I am really excited for the season ahead, we have depth in the squad and a lot of potential.
“We have some good individual players, but for me it is all about working as a team to get the desired results.
“As a coaching group we want the players to have real clarity around how they play and what they are trying to achieve.
“Corstorphine away will be a tough opening match because they have recruited well and are always a tricky side to play against.”
Among the new players in the Watsonians squad are Scotland caps Hannah Smith and Claire Bain while Rachel Bragg is captain.
Corstorphine have also brought in international quality in the summer with the likes of Emma Wassell, Mairi Forsyth and Lucy Minty joining.
Their head coach Eric Jones, who has Lucy Park as skipper, said: “We are just looking forward to getting started now.
“The new players coming in will be great for us, Emma Wassell is a role model to many of our young forwards, and that should help us grow as a squad.
“We also have a couple of players back from long-term injury and I am keen to see how the girls can build on finishing fourth last time out.”
The third and final game of week one sees Cartha Queens Park hosting Stirling County.
Both were in the top flight last year and County skipper Rachel Shankland is looking forward to the first match.
“We have had some close matches with Cartha in recent years and we are expecting this one to be no different,” she stated.
“It has been a good pre-season for us and I am excited to see how the young players coming into the senior ranks integrate into the squad.
“We have great coaching available to us and it will be good to see how the squad grows as we move forward.”
The league season runs until November 10 prior to play-offs and the crowning of the champions.
This weekend’s fixtures:
Sunday 25 August (all 2pm)
Ayr v Hillhead Jordanhill
Corstorphine v Watsonians
Cartha Queens Park v Stirling County