MATCH REPORT FROM COACH NICOLE BARLOW
Annan’s Under 16 girls squad travelled to Ravenscraig Sports Facility on Sunday to challenge for a spot to play in the Bowl Final at Murrayfield.
To secure their place they had to take on the stern opposition of Oban, Edinburgh and Highland in 3 tough 20-minute matches.
With everyone competing for a chance to play at the home of Scottish rugby and lift the trophy, none of the matches would be easy.
First up for the Hornets was Oban Lorne.
The game started fast, with players looking to use the pacey nature of the artificial turf to their advantage. Captain Niamh Ross lead by example and opened the scoring for Annan, bagging the first 2 tries of the match to give Annan a good lead. This was answered quickly however thanks to a well worked score from Oban.
This didn’t seem to phase the hornets as they regrouped to score again soon after. The scores continued trade back and forth for the remainder of the first half, with the hornets going into halftime with a good, but by no means safe 7-4 try lead.
The Hornets however showed good fitness and enthusiasm which helped increase their lead and hold off the Oban attack to finish the game 13-6. A great defensive effort from all the girls.
A good start but plenty more to do.
After a short break, the Hornets moved to the 2nd pitch to take on the girls from Edinburgh. A more fast paced game was to be expected here and prior to kick off the girls discussed some tactics in order to exploit the oppositions weaknesses and avoid their speedy wingers getting to the ball.
Unfortunately Edinburgh took the first score by using their pace to run through Annan’s unorganised defensive line. Annan replied quickly with a try of their own scored by Ellie Smith following a great hand-off to the Oban winger.
Hornets on the attack. Photo thanks to Regional Manager for Scottish Rugby – Glasgow South Jessica Broach
Like the previous game, try scoring was regular and some there was some fantastic attacking play from both teams but it was Annan who lead 5 tries to 4 at half-time and secured the win with a full time score of 10-8 to the Hornets.
Lastly, the Hornets were up against Highland. One more win and this would guarantee the Hornets a spot in the final in two weeks time. Once again it was Niamh who scored first after gathering the ball from a loose Highland pass to race down the wing and cross the line.
The next try was to be Highlands, in keeping with todays toing and froing scoreboard however the Annan Girls kept calm and finished the half, 5-4 in hand. The final 10 minutes was heated as frustrations run high for both teams and energy ran low.
The Annan Hornets pulled together in one last big effort and dished out another 8 spectacular tries which kept coaches and family members entertained, closing the game 13-10 to Annan U16 Hornets.
Overall this was a fantastic day and the girls should be proud of their performances in all three matches.
The 10 Hornets on the day were:
Niamh Ross – Captain. Led the team confidently in defence and attack, performed some great cross field kicks and regularly tackled opposing players who were twice her size.
Heidi Jamieson – Improves week on week, has great tackle technique and despite being the youngest in the squad, she was defensively the strongest player on the team.
Ellie Smith – Carries the ball well with a combination of pace and power and made several try-saving tackles.
Ayda Chierchia – Done a great deal of the real rugby work at the breakdown, lineouts and scrums, winning most of her balls and some of the oppositions playing hooker position.
Sophie Richmond – Is developing quickly as a player and valuable member of her squad. Kept the defensive line strong and closed gaps blocking opposition players through.
Tess Percival – Created turnovers during rucks and her support play and handling was fantastic. She backed every teammate to the line and was always on hand to catch any stray offloads.
Drew Ross – Raced down the side lines several times to score 5 trys during the day and regularly made try-saving tackles.
Sofia Bell – Attacked with pace to bulldoze through opposition defence several times, offloading the ball accurately to set up many of her teammates tries.
Hannah Colledge – Faces each game with sheer grit and determination. Attacks hard when in possession, defensively strong and steady in rucks has a desirous dominant tackle.
Eva Graham – Last but by no means least, due to injury Eva was top cheerleader and chief water girl on Sunday. She carried out her duties well but we look forward to seeing her back playing on the pitch at Finals Day!
Annan Hornets now set their sights on the final game to be played on Murrayfield training ground on Sunday 27th March against an Edinburgh opposition.
Thr U16 Hornets team