Source: Celtic Challenge

Warriors still one stop short

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Glasgow Warriors v Brython Thunder – Round Six
Celtic Challenge

Unlike the earlier game in Edinburgh there was a damp start here at Scotstoun, so Thunder kept the ball close, working methodically.

That worked well till the first time Coreen Grant touched the ball. She ran right through into the Welsh 22 and gained a penalty. Lucy MacRae celebrated her first successful kick at this level. 3-0

Brython were all over Glasgow at a set-scrum, and Mollie Wilkinson made a mazy run to the line. When the ball went loose, Sioned Harries was the first to pounce on it and score. 3-7

The continuing Glasgow weakness was in the backs; they simply could not string enough accurate passes together to ensure continuity and progress. By contrast, Brython’s pack knew their way around. They drove cleanly over to extend their lead (try Chloe Thomas-Bradley). 3-12

On the half-hour the Welsh backs showed how things should be done. The ball sped out to Eleanor Hing who made a dazzling run. Ceitidh Ainsworth did well to halt her.

The game now came to resemble the earlier contest; both sides throwing the ball around with abandon. But again shortcomings in the hosts’ attacking ploys showed up. An attempted cross-kick saw no team-mate anywhere near where it landed. Fortunately for them a Brython hand knocked the ball on.

Scottish fallibilities became even plainer when a strong attack finished with a kick-through that was touched down safely behind the line. Not the way to ensure a late come-back.

Half-time: 3-12

Warriors got back on track at once. A mislaid Brython pass was snapped up by Claudia McLaren
and she raced over under the posts. 10-12

Then it was Thunder’s turn. The pack took charge and drove over. 10-19 More good work by the pack was rewarded with fine interlinking between Wilkinson and Meg Webb, who sprinted wide into the corner. 10-24. That brought up a Welsh bonus point. Every little helps.

Warriors did well to respond. After several thrusts by the pack, Ainsworth hoisted a kick to the right; it bounced, but into the hands of Roma Fraser. 17-24

In the closing minutes, they had a short and a long-term target: to get a first bonus-point to rid themselves of that unwanted 0 against their name; and to score one, or better two tries to wrest a first victory from the opposition.

In the event, they could achieve neither. They came within that one score, but their fruitless campaign continues. Rather than aim any blame at the players, I must wonder whether the coaching staff have been at their most efficient in preparing their charges. Their reading of the game has seemed laboured all through the series. Basic team-skills, not least at the line-out and back-alignment, have been below par.

Result: 17-24

Teams

Glasgow Warriors:

1 Ailie Tucker, 2 Nikki Simpson, 3 Chloe Brown, 4 Sophie Anderson, 5 Ellie Williamson, 6 Holland Bogan, 7 Izzy Hannay, 8 Megan Hyland, 9 Rhea Clarke (captain), 10 Ceitidh Ainsworth, 11 Roma Fraser, 12 Giselle Chicot, 13 Claudia McLaren, 14 Coreen Grant,15 Lucy MacRae

Bench:
16 Kaylee Fraser, 17 Demi Swann, 18 Debbie Lee, 19 Eve Thomson, 20 Lucy Winter, 21 Alex Love, 22 Priya Crawford,23 Carla McDonald

Brython Thunder:

1 Chloe Thomas-Bradley, 2 Rosie Carr 3 Katie Carr 4 Natalia John 5 Shona Wakley 6 Finley Jones, 7 Alex Callender (captain) 8 Sioned Harries, 9 Seren Singleton, 10 Mollie Wilkinson, 11 Amy Williams, 12 Meg Webb, 13 Savannah Picton-Powell, 14 Eleanor Hing, 15 Lauren Smyth

Bench: 16 Amy Morgan, 17 Erica Kissinger, 18 Cadi-Lois Davies, 19 Charlie Mundy 20 Katie Bevans, 21 Niamh Terry, 22 Lowri Williams, 23 Eve Dutton

Afterthought

The question of player-choice in this series continues to fascinate. Here at Scotstoun half the Welsh pack had 190 caps between them. That is one extreme. By strong contrast Warriors’ selectors put their faith in the up-and-coming. Fine, but what is the effect of sustaining a series of losses, however narrow? Wouldn’t the odd ‘old’ head amongst them have been of benefit?

Equally, how much do the Welsh national selectors gain by seeing seasoned players turning out yet again in a setting like this?

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