BT Murrayfield gears up to host Silver Saturday
Domestic rugby reaches a crescendo this weekend with Silver Saturday taking centre stage. The day will see 12 teams from across Scotland compete for the six pieces of silverware available.
Hundreds of teams began the season in the hope of making it to BT Murrayfield. Teams from across Scotland are represented. Some are return visitors while for others this is their first appearance at Cup Finals Day.
The Men’s Cup, Shield and Bowl will be played on the International Pitch at BT Murrayfield with action starting at 11am. All three matches will be streamed live via the Scottish Rugby website.
The Women’s Cup competition, which was restructured this year to allow for regional pools before the knock-out stages, will feature the Women’s Plate final at 1.15pm followed by the Women’s Bowl on the back pitches.
The top tier of the Women’s competition will be the final match on the International Pitch. The Sarah Beaney Cup will kick-off at 5.45pm and will be broadcast live on BBC ALBA.
Tickets for Silver Saturday can be found on the Scottish Rugby website.
Dundee University Medics make their first appearance at Cup Finals Day in the National Bowl where they’ll face Aberdeenshire, who are looking to improve on the runners-up place they recorded at BT Murrayfield ten years ago.
The medics have enjoyed a good run to the finals, including a 39-19 win over near neighbours Panmuir in the regional final before seeing off their fellow medics from Glasgow Uni 17-12 in the national semi-final. They’ll now have to turn their attention away from exams to test themselves against tough opposition.
Captain Ewen Cullen said: “It’s hugely exciting. I never thought I’d get anywhere near BT Murrayfield, especially with my uni team, so it’s a dream come true.”
Aberdeenshire have enjoyed a strong season in the league and have recorded some fine performances in the Bowl competition.
They won the Caledonia (North) final 39-36 against Kinloss Eagles and had a 14-10 victory over Edinburgh Northern in the national semi-final. With a number of players who were in the finals a decade ago returning for this match, they’ll be going all-out to lift the silverware.
Aberdeenshire Captain, Frazer Forman, said: “We can’t wait to get down here and take it all in. There’s nothing to lose and it’s going to be a great day whatever happens.”
In the National Shield Cup Final Berwick, a club enjoying their 50th anniversary will face Greenock Wanderers on the hallowed BT Murrayfield turf.
Wanderers men’s side will make their return to the national stadium for the first time in a decade and will been hungry to take the Shield back to the west.
Scotland star Stuart Hogg will be in action in the 1872 Cup on Saturday evening, but the family will be represented at Silver Saturday, as his older brother, Graham, will be representing Greenock Wanderers.
It could prove to be a day to remember for the Greenock club as their Women’s squad have also made it to finals day as they take on Livingston in a 3.30pm kick off.
Andrew Guthrie from Greenock Wanderers was keen for the team to end their season on a high.
He said: “After having a successful season, spirits have been high but again we’re just bringing ourselves back down to earth and focusing on the task at hand”.
There is little doubt that Greenock will encounter some stiff opposition, however, as Berwick, who negotiated their way out of East League 1 in their anniversary year.
Tom Jackson is hopeful that the squad can complete a special year for the club.
He commented, “We’ve done loads of events over the year to mark an important year for the club. “Our performances so far have been brilliant. We’re looking to top it off on finals day. It would just be the cherry on top, so hopefully we can do the job.”
Stewartry will be playing against the reigning champions Glasgow University to compete for the National Women’s Plate title.
In the Plate semi-finals, Stewartry beat Inverness Craig Dunain 70-0 and then had a tense week to wait to find out who they would face in the finals at BT Murrayfield.
It was Glasgow University who were victorious in the second semi-final against Kelso, winning 26-19. Earlier in their route to the finals, they knocked out the 2018 National Women’s Bowl Champions Oban Lorne in the quarter-finals.
Murray Houston, Glasgow Uni Head Coach, said “It’s a great achievement for the club to reach another plate final.
“With a number of senior players leaving at the end of last season it is a testament to the hard work of those players who have stepped up this year.
Stewartry are buzzing to get back to BT Murrayfield for the cup finals day. It has been a few years since they made it to this stage in the competition and will be eager to show what they can do against the University team.
Ahead of the day David Thomson, Head Coach, Stewartry, said, “It’s so exciting that we get to return to Murrayfield for the final, with another chance of lifting the plate. It’s been a few years since we won so we’re all buzzing to get back!”
They have so far maintained a clean sheet in the knock out stages in the competition with a 28-0 win over Kirkcaldy in the quarter-finals to add to their impressive semi-final win.
In the National Women’s Bowl final, Greenock Wanderers will face Livingston.
Greenock have had some great matches in the knock out stage of the Bowl competition with a 99-0 win over Ardrossan Accies and a 54-23 semi-final win over West of Scotland.
Greenock Wanderers Head Coach Ally Hunter, said ahead of finals day, “I’m extremely proud of the girls’ achievements, their work ethic and buy-in to the brand of rugby we have been trying to develop over the last few months.”
They will be returning to Silver Saturday for the second year in a row and will be using their experience from coming up short in the Women’s Plate final last year to push them for the silverware this year.
Livingston qualified for the Bowl final after their 28-5 semi-final win over Stornoway and they had an impressive 69-0 win over Hamilton Rugby club in their quarter-final match. For Livingston, the success for them is that they have got to the final in their first season on playing competitive games.
Lee Anne Steel, President & Director of Women & Girls, Livingston commented, “We’re delighted to get through to the final, especially since these are our first competitive games as a team. We are going to give it our best and enjoy the day.”
In a re-run of the Tennent’s Premiership Final at Millbrae earlier in the month, the Scottish Cup Final promises to be another exciting spectacle as Heriot’s take on Ayr.
Both sides have lifted the coveted trophy three times since its inception in 1995, with Heriot’s last winning it three years ago and Ayr six years ago, although this will be the first Scottish Cup final contested between the two.
Ayr are chasing a famous double and captain Pete McCallum knows his side won’t be phased when they enter the big stage on Saturday.
He said, “Quite a few of the boys have experienced it before, unfortunately we lost to Melrose that day, but it was six years ago that we did the double and there are still a few old timers in the squad from that day.
“We sat down at the start of the season and discussed that we wanted to achieve the double and didn’t make it a secret. We’ve done part of that, the first half, and now we want to go on and win it.”
Heriot’s captain Iain Wilson, who experienced victory with his side three years ago, will be hoping his side can get some revenge for the Tennent’s Premiership Final.
He said, “It’ll be an interesting one as we only played the same team just three weeks ago, we know each other fairly well and know what to expect, so we’ll have a little look about what we did and change a few things and maybe bring something different to the table.”
The Sarah Beaney Cup will be the final match to be played on the International pitch at BT Murrayfield. The final, a repeat of 2018, will see Hillhead Jordanhill play against Watsonians. The match will be broadcast live on BBC ALBA for the first time.
The Cup, which is named in memory of a Murrayfield Wanderers player who tragically died in 2005 will include a host of Scotland Women Internationals in both teams.
Reigning Champions Hillhead Jordanhill will be hoping to achieve the double for the second year in a row following their Tennent’s Women’s Premier League win in November 2018.
Louise McMillan, Captain, Hillhead Jordanhill said, “For us, the Cup final is the most exciting time of the year. It is the best game of rugby we get to play.”
Even though Hillhead Jordanhill won the league, they lost out to Watsonians 28-25 in the final match of the league. Watsonians will be wanting to recreate this victory on Saturday and secure their first Sarah Beaney Cup win.
Both teams managed to put away strong competition in the semi-finals with an impressive 70 points each against their opposition. Hillhead had strong 54-22 win over Stirling County in the quarter-finals with Watsonians securing a strong 43-7 victory over Corstorphine Cougars.
Nicola Nightingale, Captain, Watsonians added, “It feels great to get to the final of the Sarah Beaney Cup. We learnt a lot from last year. We want to go one better this year.”