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Inverness Craig Dunain overcame learning curve with new-look squad ahead of facing familiar foes

By Alasdair Fraser

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Inverness Craig Dunain’s women’s team are primed for a tough reacquaintance with league newcomers Caithness this afternoon.

The two teams met in a close-fought friendly in the summer and club president Jess Butler is taking nothing for granted despite the visitors’ relative inexperience.

The new-look Craig Dunain side kicked off their first competitive action since lockdown began in March 2020 with a narrow 22–15 defeat away to Orkney Dragons on Saturday.

With plenty of fresh blood in the squad and a 3am rise for the long road and sea trip north, it took the Inverness team time to settle into the match.

Once they did, there was some very promising rugby.

Inverness Craig Dunain's men's and women's teams both returned to action last week. Picture: James Mackenzie
Inverness Craig Dunain's men's and women's teams both returned to action last week. Picture: James Mackenzie

They trailed by three tries to one and the break, with vice-captain Erin Green scoring for Craig Dunain. Tries from Madison Clay-Shewan and Megan Foulis in a much better second half ensured the visitors outscored Orkney after half time.

Butler was impressed by the versatility evident in the squad as well as the reaction given after the break.

“Looking at it, we had eight new starts on Saturday, more than half a team playing their first ever match,” she said.

“In the first half, we did suffer a little bit from sea legs and the long journey and it was quite disorganised.

“We had to rearrange it, and change positions through injuries, but in the second half there was a huge improvement.

“We came out fighting and won the second half on points, which was a credit to all of the players. We’re delighted.

“It was just so good to get back out there on the pitch for our first game since March 2020.”

There will be no early rise this weekend as Craig Dunain host Caithness.

Butler stressed: “We played them in the summer in a friendly and we won that.

“They’re new to the league, but Caithness have a really strong youth team coming through. Just because they are new to the league doesn’t mean they won’t be strong.”

Craig Dunain’s men will look to recover from an ill-tempered 40–0 beating by hosts Dyce when they entertain Fraserburgh.

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