Dunfermline 5 Annan 24, Women's National Shield

DUNFERMLINE'S ladies team opened their National Shield campaign with a home loss to Annan but will build on the "enthusiasm" they have for the challenge.

In their first competitive game since winning the Scottish Rugby Women's Caledonia Midlands / East Division Two title in December, they went down to a 24-5 loss in what head coach, Gary Kenhard, said was a "feisty affair".

Despite that, he acknowledged the "tremendous" atmosphere in the clubhouse, which included the visiting team introducing a fun charity competition where, for a small fee, players were "pied in the face"!

"The ladies team are excited to take on this new challenge," Kenhard commented.

"There will be many unknown challenges for them in the Shield competition, and this is all part of the fun. The standard of play is on to the next level, so to meet these challenges, we have set ourselves small goals to get our own individual and collective wins from this cup run.

"The great thing about rugby is we are going to places, and play teams, we would not normally compete against. This gives us the opportunity to tese ourselves and learn from different people who also love their rugby.

"The game against Annan was a feisty affair, and we were a bit game rusty, but, that said, the atmosphere in the clubhouse was tremendous.

"We will be a more resilient team as a result of playing Annan. We had some great performances from new players, from Heather Campbell in the second row, to Heather Gray on the wing.

"It was great to see how, although they were apprehensive, they were not frightened to make mistakes, try things and simply take the game by the scruff of the neck."

Kenhard added: "We will build on this enthusiasm through our next round of games.

"We have Cartha Queen's Park (second XV) on Sunday, who have been established for some time, however, our team are up for it, and keen to show them true Dunfermline colours.

"The old adage of one game at a time is being followed and, regardless of the scoreline, the ladies will be better players for this cup competition."

Sunday's match away to Cartha kicks off at 2pm.