Garioch Ladies, now currently undefeated table toppers have come off their season start flying.
Garioch travelled to Orkney for their preseason friendly on the 21st of August, the game was played on the Saturday after the Garioch ladies travelled from Kellands to meet their match in the Dragons.
Giving the National 1 team plenty to work on before their opener against Broughton ladies the game was eventful and a welcome sight for all to see after almost 18 months without a competitive game for both sides.
The Dragons put up a strong fight with their squad but it was an ease for the Garioch ladies as they swiftly took control of their game with some brilliant back moves mixed in with strong forward action to gain an inevitable but hard fought win.
The following week the Garioch ladies kicked off their Ladies Tennents National League Division 1 opener at Kellands welcoming the Broughton Ladies to the fortress.
The game was a competitive and exciting game to watch with Broughton bringing a strong attack through strong running and linked up play. However, the Garioch ladies soon began to start their attack as their scrapping for possession of the ball led to the first points of the game coming from rapid winger Nikki Chalk who accelerated over the try line followed up by a conversion from Alisha Ross.
The time off from competitive play was apparent as both teams had some handling errors but both bringing strong packs for some great scrummaging action.
The forwards of Garioch came with speed and strength as a penalty from Broughton came in their own 22 and Alisha Ross swiftly came across the try line to put some more numbers on the board. Moreover as Garioch continued their attack the forwards put in some excellent ‘Sonny-Bill’ offloads leading to a line break into the oppositions 22. Broughton ladies were tenacious in their contact and won the ball back on the ground leading to getting a kick away. However, the kick landed straight to our try hungry winger Chalk as she sped across for her second try of the day.
Some great linking work from the home team saw the Garioch forwards breaking through the Broughton defence and ship it out to the backs gaining valuable ground in attack. Chloe Matthews saw some gaps in the defence and battled her way straight through the front door of Broughton's try line between the posts. Alisha Ross once again converting successfully.
After some relentless work in the oppositions 22 finally came to bear fruit as a break came from Nikki Chalk was followed by excellent support in a pick and go from the back of the ruck as Lindsey McDiarmid dived for Gariochs 5th try of the afternoon.
In the final minutes of the game Garioch did not rest and left it all on the pitch as a break came from Natalie McDonald allowed Captain Jess Silcocks to tear across for the final try of the game, followed closely by a successful conversion from Gariochs fullback Lorna Young.
The league opener was a brilliant game, tough in contact and rapid in pace. The opposition challenged throughout and their sportsmanship was to be appraised.
For the second game of their league the Garioch ladies travelled down south to face off against the Stewarty Sirens. The Ladies knew that this would be a challenging game following a long travel period and the physical nature of the Sirens.
The Sirens came off the blocks pacing however it was a hard fought win for the Garioch ladies as they came away with a 15-17 win from Stewarty.
The following weekend was home game for Garioch at Fortress Kellands against the Howe of Fife Women and it showed. After the tough win the Sunday beforehand the team were keen to show why they deserved to be on the top of the table and made sure it stayed just that way with a talented show put on from the backs with some beautiful lines tied in with fierce graft put in from the forwards. A 33-12 win over Howe was a yet another push for the Garioch girls in their quest for top of the table.
On the weekend of the 26th of September the team moved onwards and upwards with a win from a clash with the West of Scotland securing a 35-10 victory over the opponents. This was a welcomed game to be played after both the Ayr v Annan and Stewarty v Kelso games in the National 1 league had to be postponed.
Onto the 3rd of October the Garioch Women had another welcomed win with an away game to Ayr. The women secured a 40-12 win over the home side.
Due to insufficient players for Annan the Garioch Women had a long three week break ahead of them. The momentary lull in game time was brought to a swift end as the Garioch women travelled to meet Kelso at home. A mix of new players, a long journey time and a strong and very eager Kelso brought about a tough game for the ladies. However, the determination of Garioch paid off in a 29-5 win over Kelso Ladies.
Unfortunately an unforeseen backing down of Broughton this Sunday the 31st has led to a small boost in Gariochs lead as they prepare to gear up to welcome Stewarty at fortress Kellands in just a few weeks time. This will be a brilliant match to watch with Garioch ready to defend their previous win over the visitors and Stewarty ready to repay Garioch in kind with a win at Kellands.
Look out for some post match interviews and highlights to come after Stewarty take on Garioch on the 14th of November.
See below for some action shots and an in depth focus on Garioch v Kelso Ladies from Borders Rugby.
Photo credits to Gareth Falls.
Video credits to Borders Rugby.