1st XV Match Report vs Selkirk
Entering the last ten minutes Stewart’s Melville, 19-7 down, received a life-line, Mabenge the influential Selkirk tight head was sent to the ‘sin-bin’ for a ‘no arms’ tackle and Stewart’s Melville awarded a penalty underneath the ‘sticks’.
Sensing our chance we opted for a scrummage, but Selkirk defended that scrum. We manged to retain possession and Sam Ross touched down under the posts for Mark Sinclair to convert. There was now a bonus point secured but could we seal an unlikely victory at the death? Let’s face it, challenging for a win in the last five minutes is unchartered territory for us this season, but we had a go, and in Murchie, Hannay and Ross we had the runners. Perhaps there was a tiny bit of lack of belief but surely if we find ourselves in a similar situation in the coming weeks the ultimate disappointment on Saturday will provide the spur to finish the job.
The miserable morning that preceded the game gave way to watery sunshine and the pitch, for all the moisture, was ideal for running rugby. Our scrummage against their experienced Selkirk counterparts stood up well with Finn Hobbis adapting well to the rigours of National League One scrummages. Our line out was similarly quite settled with Duncan, Jamie and Alex securing good ball, in the first half in particular, with Sami picking up the odd loose throw from Selkirk. We opened the scoring when a speculative ‘up and under’ was well chased by Jack Hanning, Selkirk really should have cleared but Jamie Hodgson following up dived on the bouncing ball underneath the posts, to absolute silence from the standing area in front of the Selkirk hospitality area. Jack Calder converted but a knock forced him to retire soon after. Sam Ross stepped up to fly half with Sean Murchie reverting to full back and Neil Bowie introduced on the wing. We seemed a bit surprised at the amount of ball and, on reflection, we were on top without really threatening the Selkirk line. Towards the break Selkirk came more and more into the game and we ran out of defenders allowing wing Scott Hendry to touch down this time to delirium from the aforementioned Selkirk support. The kick from the touch-line levelled the scores at the break.
The second half got underway and it looked to be ominous as the Selkirk front row carried effectively to set up opportunities for their runners. There was a bit of unstructured kicking from both sides but it was no real surprise when Mike Davies burrowed over to give Selkirk the lead. Mike was at the heart of most of Selkirk’s attacks although he was ably shackled by ‘Puckle’ aka Mark Sinclair. The original ‘Puckle’ was in attendance to watch his offspring and it is to be hoped he enjoyed his day in spite of the result – it’s a long and winding road from Orkney to Philliphaugh!
Jamie Sword a useful addition to the boiler house options and Lewis Scott came on for a cameo at the end and both were instrumental in giving us a fighting chance as we approached the final ten minutes
It’s easy from the touchlines, but the key to working overlaps is to commit the tackler. On occasions when we have a two to three we bullet out a miss pass to the outside man rather than give that winger a chance with a little bit of space on his outside. An increase tempo is essential when we are in attack- get excited and look to get involved through support. Rugby is a great game with the ball in your hands but it is good to be thinking about attack rather than trying manfully to fill holes as we have in the last few games.
So close…… but no cigar… as we look forward to welcoming Howe to Inverleith next Saturday.
To anybody reading this article these boys are training hard, full of enthusiasm and starting to gel into a team. They have no little talent please get down next Saturday and cheer them on.
Full Time Selkirk 19 Stewart’s Melville 14