Stewartry Sirens captain Jenny Yates hailed the never-say-die attitude of her team-mates when a last-gasp try secured their third national title at Murrayfield.
The ladies lifted the National Women’s Plate after a thrilling 24-19 win over Glasgow University at the home of Scottish rugby.
The students had fought back to lead 19-17 with just minutes left on the clock but Clare Manson sparked scenes of joy with a last-gasp converted try to secure another title to follow their successes in 2015 and 2017.
“I honestly thought we’d lost it but there was determination and we never gave up,” said Yates.
“We said before the game we play for the badge and we play for the heart and we did. We came through it and we played for each other and that’s the most important thing.
We’ve never had support like that — you can’t describe it. There were so many Ayr and Stewartry supporters, boys and girls, the whole club came out and the whole day has ended perfectly.”
Glasgow University kicked deep to get the game under way but just a few minutes in it was Stewartry who looked to dominate with fly-half Lisa Ritchie making a deft offload to scrum-half Manson who crossed the whitewash to put the first points on the board with a successful conversion.
Glasgow got straight back into the game but came up against a stern Stewartry defence. There was real physicality from both sides and after a good spell of possession Glasgow got their rewards with a try from Ciara Keenan.
The next points came from Stewartry’s Phaedra Snailham, whose fine try widened the Sirens’ lead to 12-5 at the break.
Glasgow University came out fighting and spent a sustained period inside Stewartry territory but the Sirens’ defence held strong.
Eventually the hard work was rewarded when centre Shona Jessman made a break, running the length of the pitch to score an impressive try with a conversion levelling the scores at 12-12.
Both sides kept up the pressure until Snailham recorded her second try to make it 17-12.
In the last 10 minutes, the intensity rose as Elinor Grant scored a try for Glasgow, which was converted.
It looked as if the students had won it but Stewartry showed great resolve in one last push which saw Manson become the hero.
Stewartry: Jenny Yates (C); Donna Burnett, Phaedra Snailham, Chloe Johnstone, Lisa McKinnon; Lisa Ritchie, Claire Manson; Deborah Swan, Lauren Gunn, Dawn Currie, Clare Dooley, Lizzie Ballentine, Laura Turner, Sammy Durnan, Ali Henderson.
Replacements: Louise McLauchlan, Adele Baird, Tamsin Tyeson, Louisa Ramsay, Catherine Clark.
Player of the match: Clare Dooley (Stewartry)