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Edinburgh Uni Ladies keep clean sheet against Manchester
It was a usual windy day up at Peffermill when Uni took to the field to host Manchester. It had been what felt like months since the last time the strips were pulled on to play against English opposition but this didn’t deter Uni in the slightest. Coming off a 10-7 win over Loughborough, Manchester were expecting a good result…how wrong they were.
Going into the game brimming with confidence and excitement, and with the wind behind them, it wasn’t long until Uni were on the score sheet. With great pressure in the scrum, the forwards allowed Minna Ahlström to execute a perfect cross field kick for winger Claire Saunders to pick up and use her blistering pace to beat her opposite number and score. Score was converted by Lisa ‘Shorty’ Martin. Uni kept up the pressure on the Manchester line and were using the forwards effectively to suck in players to allow space for the flowing backs moves to take place. There was a brief stoppage in play as flanker Steph dislocated her finger and looked at Becky ‘BILF’ Hunter for help, surely not one of the best ideas in the world?! Steph had to be replaced by super-sub Sarah Hunt until Coach Rob could turn up and prise it back into place. Uni continued to turn the crank and soon after a storming run by centre Rosalind Murphy allowed for the 2nd try of the match. Conversion successful…just. With the confidence at new found levels the backs began putting into practise all their training ground moves, with some lovely dummy lines confusing the defence. The forwards were providing great ball with their strong pick and go’s giving a great platform for Shorty and Minna to distribute the ball wide. Again Roz jinked her way through the floundering Manchester defence to score again, unfortunately this was unconverted. The pressure never ceased from Uni and some great steals in the rucks by Christine ‘Christ’ Evans and Becci ‘Ginge’ Lewis meant Manchester were hemmed in their own 22 very long periods of time. A well worked scrum on the right side of the Manchester 22 allowed for the backs to float the ball wide to fullback Kirsty Purdon who scored in the corner, again another unconverted try. As hard as Manchester tried they just couldn’t get into the game at all, they had some strong runs from their 15 and 6 but Uni cut them down, and even drove them right back, every time. Again Roz got herself on the score sheet, with various hand-offs and spins in the process, after reacting quickly to the Manchester scrum half trying to take a quick penalty but managing to trip herself up in the process. The rest of the team would have been with Roz had it not been for the fact we were all in fits of laughter as the Manchester girl fell over, try converted. With the relentless pressure it wasn’t a surprise that Manchester’s discipline began to wane, and with a penalty 5m from the line a quick tap penalty was given to Shorty on the right who snaked through the defence with a cheeky show and go, try unconverted. The half time whistle blew to Manchester’s relief, but Uni were only getting started…
With the beginning of the second half, Manchester came out fighting and had Uni on the defensive duties for most of the first 10 minutes, but a significant improvement in discipline from the last game meant that Uni gave nothing away. As Manchester now had the wind they began to use their boot and try to test the Uni back 3, but Kirsty, Claire and winger Hollie Davidson were more than up to the task. With ball in hand each player looked dangerous on the counterattack and was it not for some good tackles they would have increased the try count. Without the advantages of being able to kick Uni concentrated more on the passing aspect of their game and using the forwards as line breakers, with Margaret and Laura ‘Deano’ Dean stepping up to the mark repeatedly with some shattering runs. Soon Uni were camped on the Manchester line once again and after a series of pick and go’s the ball found it’s way to Roz who dived over the line to score, try unconverted. Many scrums followed this which the forwards clearly loved, and the backs of course welcomed the short breather. Captain Sophie Hayward was dominating with some great runs from the base of the scrum, making good yardage every time. Manchester’s ill discipline soon came back to haunt them with another penalty 5m from their line. Then from no where the screech of Anna ‘Birdie’ Swan could be heard demanding the ball be given to her. Now with this reporter being not one to go against someone’s wishes, and rather fearful for her life at that point, the ball was given to Birdie who handed off a flailing Manchester defender and dived over in the corner giving her her first try since the Fresher’s game many years ago, try unconverted. The final whistle soon went and Manchester were glad their pain was over, Uni on the other hand were gutted to be unable to add more points to the board. With a proud speech from Rob on Uni’s performance and a first outright win in the BUCS season all there was to say at the end of the match was…bring on Sheffield!

Final Score: Edinburgh Uni 1sts 46 – 0 Manchester Uni
Forward of the Match: Margaret (5)
Back of the Match: Shorty (9)

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