Sirens win first re­gional derby

The Galloway News - - READER TRAVEL -

Round 6 of the Women’s Premier League saw Ste­wartry Sirens head down the A75 to An­nan War­riors for a bit of his­tory in the mak­ing – the first time these teams have played against each other in league or cup.

The first few min­utes of the game set the tone for the rest of day with both teams de­ter­mined to play run­ning rugby.

An­nan held the ter­ri­tory from the kick-off with the Sirens look­ing to move the ball from deep in their own half.

A quick Sirens tap penalty saw a promis­ing break end with a knock on, the re­sult­ing scrum showed the dom­i­nance of the for­ward pack as they pushed An­nan off the ball, al­low­ing the Sirens to make their way into the An­nan 22.

An in­fringe­ment by An­nan re­sulted in a penalty that Claire Man­son took quickly. Sup­port from her for­wards al­lowed a quick ball from the ruck to set up Iona St Joseph to punch a hole through the An­nan de­fence. With Ali Hen­der­son in sup­port, the re­sult­ing ball was passed to Donna (Bur­nett) Burns to open­ing the scor­ing with not even 10 min­utes on the clock. The con­ver­sion was missed.

An­nan’s re­sponse was al­most im­me­di­ate as an in­fringe­ment at the restart saw a quick penalty be­ing passed to An­nan sec­ond row who man­aged to beat the Sirens cover de­fence in the foot race to the corner. Again the try went un­con­verted.

The Sirens’ restart was fum­bled and, from the re­sult­ing scrum, Iona St Joseph surged to­wards the An­nan 22.

A few phases later, An­nan were caught off­side and the quick tap penalty from Lizzie Bal­len­tine found its way to St Joseph who fin­ished the move be­low the posts with the Sirens sec­ond try, with 15 min­utes on the clock.

The con­ver­sion was missed and a pat­tern was emerg­ing.

With the Sirens for­wards dom­i­nat­ing the scrums, it was set to be a tough day in this depart­ment for the An­nan for­wards but they made up for it by be­ing com­pet­i­tive in the break­down area. How­ever, any ball won by the An­nan for­wards was soon har­ried down by the Sirens back line, of­ten re­sult­ing in an­other scrum.

With both sides de­ter­mined to run, han­dling mis­takes and in­fringe­ments seemed to dom­i­nate the next 15 min­utes that were played in the An­nan half with neither side gain­ing enough mo­men­tum to break out or through.

An­other Sirens quick penalty from Claire Man­son saw the for­wards se­cure the ruck for Lisa Ritchie to pass onto Iona St Joseph who broke the de­fen­sive line and popped the ball up for Ali Hen­der­son to cross the line for the Sirens third try. The con­ver­sion was kicked by Lisa Ritchie.

The rest of the half saw both teams try­ing to break through, end­ing with An­nan on the front foot. Half time An­nan 5 - 17 Sirens.

The sec­ond half started with An­nan on the at­tack, look­ing to use their mo­bile for­wards to cause dam­age. They made their way up to the five-me­tre line but some res­o­lute de­fence from the Sirens was soon turned into at­tack with Claire Man­son tak­ing a quick penalty to see the Sirens surge to the half­way line only to give pos­s­e­sion back through an­other penalty.

This time An­nan were robbed of the ball and it was Iona St Joseph who made a good 40 me­tres be­fore pass­ing to Claire Man­son for the Sirens fourth try, con­verted by Lisa Ritchie.

The Sirens took the game back to An­nan and an­other com­bi­na­tion of for­wards and backs saw them nearly cross the line once more. How­ever, it was the An­nan de­fence that stood firm this time.

The Sirens en­joyed a spell of dom­i­nance with Jenny Yates re­turn­ing kick re­turns with some in­ci­sive runs.

It wasn’t long be­fore An­nan re-grouped and made their way down­field. With one in­fringe­ment too many from the Sirens whilst de­fend­ing the try line, the ref­eree sent Dawn Cur­rie to the sin bin for 10 min­utes. Al­most im­me­di­ately An­nan scored but failed to con­vert.

With 15 min­utes to play, the Sirens were go­ing to be un­der some pres­sure not to con­cede. It was ac­tu­ally the Sirens who went on the of­fen­sive. Af­ter some good work by the for­wards to win a scrum against the head, mi­nus a player, the play moved right and back left with Rhea Cur­rie slip­ping a pass to Claire Man­son, al­lowed her to sprint un­der the posts from 25m out. The try was con­verted by Lisa Ritchie.

The Sirens were keen to add more points and still with 14 play­ers they mounted an­other as­sault to­wards the An­nan line. They spent the best part of the last 10 min­utes look­ing for an open­ing and when they thought they had scored, they were pe­nalised for turn­ing a ruck into a maul.

The last few min­utes saw An­nan work their way up to the Sirens’ line, this time de­nied by knock­ing the ball on.

As be­fit­ting the en­deav­our from both teams to play run­ning rugby, the game ended when the Sirens were forced into touch as they tried to at­tack from their own line.

Credit to both sets of play­ers who tried to play rugby. It was hard and com­pet­i­tive as one would ex­pect from two Women’s Premier teams who met for the first time in a league match.

Player of the match (awarded by Ste­wartry): Lisa Ritchie

Player of the match (awarded by An­nan): Iona St Joseph.

Derby day de­light Ste­wartry Sirens cel­e­brate their win at An­nan

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