Scotland’s Women endured another harrowing afternoon yesterday as they were outclassed by an organised and ruthless England team.
After losing 59-0 to Ireland in their opener, the all-amateur Scots again failed to register a point on what was a dispiriting day in Aberdeen. The English were clearly on a mission after losing their opener against France the previous week, and, determined to remain in the shake-up for the Six Nations, made their extra quality count.
Scots centre Gillian Inglis admitted it was a tough day for her side, but refused to be downbeat. She said: “We never gave up, and did not miss too many tackles. They were a very good side, but I like to think we gave them a game. We are improving all the time. We have Italy in two weeks’ time, and aim to beat them. This was good preparation for us.”
The nearest the Scots came to getting points on the board was in 21 minutes when scrum-half Louise Dalgliesh hit a post with a penalty, by which time the visitors had scored two unconverted tries through lock Joanne McGilchrist and centre Amber Reed. The English standout was stand-off Katy McLean, who pretty much ran the show, half-back La Toya Mason was also crucial to her side’s dominance.
Three more tries before half-time put the game beyond the Scots as winger Lydia Thomson, prop Claire Purdy and the influential No 8 Sarah Hunter all forced their way over the line. McLean added two conversions to make it 29-0 at the break. Scotland raised their game briefly in the early part of the second half but, by that time, the visitors had found their rhythm and were able to make good use of the wind at their backs. Five more tries came as result, two of which were converted by McLean. The classy English stand-off also scored a try to sit nicely with the efforts from full-back Emily Scarratt, wing Claire Allan, replacement centre Margaret Alphonsi, Sophie Hemming and finally lock Rebecca Essex, who finished off a satisfactory afternoon’s work.
“After the poor showing in France this was a greatly improved performance,” said captain McLean. “It sets us up for our game with Ireland, which is going to be the big one.”
The Scots were best served by full-back Stephanie Johnston, Inglis, the tireless half-back pairing of Dalgliesh and Lisa Martin, and flankers Ruth Slaven and Linsday Wheeler, while veteran prop Heather Lockhart was impressive on the charge.
Ulimately, however, over the course of the match, the spirited Scots were unable to live with the visitors, who were simply on a different level.
Scorers: England: Tries: McGilchrist, Reed, Thomson, Purdy, Hunter, McClean, Scarratt, Allan, Alphonsi, Hemming, Essex. Cons: McLean 4.
Scotland: P S Johnston; A Seargant, G.Inglis, L Steven, M Gaffney; L Martin, L Dagleish, H Lockhart, S Quick, T Balmer(c), J Konkel, D McCormack, R Slaven, T Forsberg, L Wheeler. Subs used: N McLeod, L Smith, L Robertson, E Wassel, A Stodler, S Law, T Griffin, K Green.
England: E Scarratt; L Thomson, A Reed, R Burford, C Allan; K McLean (c), L Mason, CPurdy, V Fleetwood, L Keates, R Essex, J McGilchrist, H Gallagher, M Packer, S Hunter. Subs used: M Foy, S Hemming, S Acheson, E Brand, M Alphonsi, G Gulliver, C Large, K Wilson.