Cruikshank proud of historic win
Edinburgh Rugby's women's side claimed an historic win in its first ever game on Saturday, taking a bonus point win against intercity rivals Glasgow Warriors.
“I probably got a little bit emotional this morning,” said Edinburgh Head Coach Claire Cruikshank at the conclusion of this first ever women’s inter-city derby between representative sides aligned to Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors.
“I think it hit me that for 20 to 25 years I’ve been involved, and when I started playing for Scotland we had to pay for the honour, so to get to where we are now with a packed out stand and two teams supported by the professional men’s teams … it is kind of ‘dreams come true’. To be here for the first one is something I will remember for a very, very long time.
“Really pleased,” was Cruikshank’s assessment of her team’s overall performance. “The cold weather probably didn’t help with the handling skills for both teams, but I thought we played very well in the first half in terms of moving the ball and keeping control. In the second half we got a bit scrappy and let Glasgow back into it, but to ride it out – and not give any points away during that period where we were down a player due to the yellow card – was very pleasing for us.
“We’ve only had six sessions together so everyone is still adapting to how we want to play, with different team-mates and perhaps different styles to their clubs, so it is a work in progress and as we move through the competition I’d expect us to see combinations become more comfortable together,” she added.
“I think everyone played well and I was really impressed with Merryn Gunderson at No 8, while Fi McIntosh in the second-row has not played for a long time so it was good to get her back involved. The person I am really delighted for is Jenny Maxwell, who was coming back after almost two years out and looked pretty sharp for the 20 minutes we gave her, which was amazing.”
Edinburgh took first blood in the fixture, with Edinburgh University winger Cieron Bell storming over after centre Rachel Philipps had offloaded to Nicole Marlow to create space for the flying winger.
Marlow, starting at fullback, converted the score – her first of four in a perfect afternoon from the tee.
The home side doubled the advantage shortly after; the excellent Sarah Denholm, captaining the side, chipped through to the onrushing Briar McNamara, the centre powering away to get the try.
Glasgow hit back to cut the deficit, with Scotland Internationalist Louise McMillan proving too strong, crashing over from close range. The Edinburgh advantage was extended shortly after, this time with the forwards doing the hard yards. Attacking the Glasgow line phase after phase, the capital side finally made the pressure pay, with loosehead prop Poppy Fletcher providing the finishing touch.
The home side had a healthy advantage at the break, and the game entered a cagey period in the first 20 of the second half, with both sides putting in physical hits on one another, but failing to gain momentum.
Cieron Bell saw yellow for a high shot, however the home side weathered the storm to keep the score at 21-5. Eventually though, the pressure told, with Glasgow’s Ailie Tucker scoring from close range to draw the Warriors closer.
The final say came from Edinburgh, however, with Denholm again turning provider for McNamara. A flat pass put the inside centre into space, and there was no stopping the Watsonians star. It was a masterful display from McNamara, with two tries earning her the player of the match.
Edinburgh managed to close out the match, claiming an historic win against their intercity rivals from the West.