1st XV vs Marr: Match Report
My memories of my first trip to Marr are less hazy, though, even at this late remove. Colin was kind enough to invite Callum and me through as his ‘plus 1s’ for the pre match lunch – thanks, Presidente – so we drove over to Fullarton Road early doors in the Presidential limo. The lunch took place in the clubhouse bar, and involved an after dinner speaker who was simply superb – am still chuckling at some of his jokes as I type this. The food was great, the bar stocked real ale from the local Ayr Brewery, Marr president Kevin Quinn pretty much refused to let us put our hands in our pockets all afternoon and the Marr punters couldn’t have been more welcoming – what a fantastic club!
The fact that all of the above was taking place in a clubhouse that was gutted by fire in September 2013 makes the quality of the Marr matchday experience all the more impressive.
Right – to the rugby! Our hosts looked well up for the game in the first ten minutes, with young scrum half Grant Baird constantly probing, but we soaked up the Marr pressure with some dogged defence before launching a counter attack that ended with Cash touching down. He converted to make the score 7-0 in our favour.
The next twenty minutes of the game involved more defence from our boys as Marr sought to get back on even terms, but, as before, we took everything that they threw at us then picked our moments to turn defence into attack. Cash’s tactical kicking, our pack’s scrum superiority and (crucially) our collective confidence in our abilities really came to the fore at this point in the game – basically, we looked like we knew what needed to be done at any given moment.
Marr came close to scoring after 30 minutes, their second row Kris Kirk embarking on an impressive gallop up field that ended with us being penalised when he was finally tackled. Home full back McGee’s subsequent penalty bounced back off the post.
We set the scoreboard ticking over once again on the 25 minute mark, when Ruaridh Mitchell repeated his recent Rubislaw heroics to flop over from short range. This came after we were awarded a penalty and opted for the quick ‘tap and go’ and a series of well organised forward breenges. Cash converted from wide out to make it 14-0.
The announcer had barely finished calling out the score before we were battering the Marr line once again, having secured the ball straight from the restart. Further excellent ball control and patient recycling from our forwards led to another try for the front row union, with Rhys Morgan the man to cross the whitewash this time. Cash missed the conversion, despite the try being a few feet closer to the posts than the last one, leaving the score 19-0 in our favour.
Mike Hanning nearly added the bonus point try before half time, a break from Cash making the space for Mike to embark on one of his trademark mazy counter attacks before being felled by a fine cover tackle close to the line.
The second half was a more stop start affair, with Marr rather running out of options as they started to tire and (on the other hand) our discipline starting to waiver. We did still manage to add another two tries, the first of these coming on 45 minutes when Hugh Lindsay was on hand to finish off another fine break by Cash. Nick added the conversion from close range.
Mike Hanning, one of three Stew Mel players to enjoy a period in the bin during the second half, then completed the scoring just before the final whistle after another fine counter attack by the men in red, black and gold. The conversion was missed, making the final score 31-0.
While we coped well while Cash was away on holiday, grinding out important league wins against Peebles and Aberdeen Grammar, it’s probably fair to say that we looked much more comfortable with him restored to the ranks against Marr. He kicked well, shipped the ball rapidly to the outside backs when there was room for them to run and looked for gaps himself when that was a realistic option. It’s no coincidence that he was namechecked so often in the Marr match report, and you get the feeling that our hosts’ post match suggestions that he might like to consider swapping the Forth coast for the Clyde one weren’t made entirely in jest.
It’s also interesting to read at the top of the Marr match report that this was the first time in over six years that they’ve failed to score any points in a home game – you can’t really sum the quality of our defence up any better than that!
We return to league action this weekend, welcoming Jed-Forest to Inverleith for a 2 pm kickoff. Our next home game is a fortnight thereafter, on the 24th, when Kelso are the visitors; that’s also the day on which the Club’s annual Burns Support will take place at Inverleith.
Tickets for the Supper cost £25, and are already going fast – please speak to Neil Bowie or any of the Committee to secure your tickets if you’ve not already done so.