Stornoway Ladies first entry in to competitive rugby, finally came to an end last weekend when they went down 28-5 to Livingston Ladies in the semi final of the Sarah Beaney Bowl at Bayhead.
The score line flattered the more experienced visitors with the Stornoway Ladies enjoying large spells of possession and territory but they were unable to turn this in to points.
The real difference between the two sides on the day was the hugely impressive Livingston full back as both in defence and attack she was a constant thorn in Stornoways side.
The home sides consolation try was scored by Ealie Nicleoid who was also chosen by Livingston as their player of the match.
Stornoway had prepared well for the game, despite being left in limbo for several weeks by their quarter final opponents Peterhead. The east coast side eventually withdrew from the competition, much to the islanders and the SRU’s frustration. This gave Livingston the window to travel at short notice and ensure the semi final would go ahead as scheduled.
A decent crowd hugged the touchlines at Bayhead on what was a great day for running rugby.
Those that turned up were offered a very evenly fought and entertaining game. Livingston drew first blood after 10 mins, slightly against the run of play perhaps but nevertheless this gave them a seven point lead.
For the remainder of the first half, the game was played largely in the visitors half, with some solid Livingston defence, the home side were unable to turn possession in to points and they turned at halftime with the visitors still seven points to the good.
The second half started almost exactly as the first, with both sides offering some attacking play. Again however, it was the Livingston ladies that were first on the scoreboard in the second half, stretching their lead to 14-0. They put even more distance between themselves and the islanders moving to 21-0 before Ealie Nicleoid crosses to give the home side some hope. Unfortunately and despite no lack of effort, it was the visitors that rounded of the scoring at the death, sealing the victory and a trip to Murrayfield 28-5.
On another day and with one or two players that were missing on the day, it could have been a different story for the Stornoway Ladies but there is no denying the huge improvement they have made this past year and they show no signs of slowing down.
They are already planning to end this first part of the season with two friendly matches before enjoying a summer of preparation for their first shot at league rugby from August onwards.
The development of individuals and a team as a whole, is down largely to their desire to improve.
“They have a great attitude,” said coach Angus ‘Bubble’ Mackay.
The club veteran has enjoyed the past year, offering his experience and guidance to the spirited bunch.
“I’ve really enjoyed being part of their development this past year or so and I’m excited about their approach to playing league rugby next,” he continued.
“The girls have really embraced the values of rugby, hard work and commitment being just the beginning.
“There are some real leaders within the team and they simply don’t want to let each other down, if they pick up a few players over the summer and strengthen the depth of the squad, then they will stand a real chance of doing well and upsetting a few teams within the league.”