Down Inverleith Way 12
There are several words to describe the challenging nature of Scottish weather (‘warm’ and ‘sunny’ are rarely needed!) Just some are ‘plowtery’, ‘oorlich’, ‘jeelit’ and ‘drookit’. Any one, and all of them, could have been used to describe conditions in Edinburgh last Saturday. Just the kind of day to stay in and watch the European Cup on TV — but not when the mighty Stew Mel Senior 1st XV and Development XV are playing at Inverleith! The visitors this week were Hamilton Bulls and Jed-Forest, respectively.
On Pitch 2 the Development XV produced an excellent display against a hard-working and spirited Border side (won 48-0). Good shape and the ability to take tries when they were on offer was the hallmark of the performance. The RBG came out of the blocks strongly to take a 36-0 half time lead with Andrew Jess and Alex Rappestad contributing with a brace each.
The second half was marred by a nasty shoulder dislocation to Jack Calder. Sadly injuries seem to follow him around and everybody at the club sends him best wishes for a speedy recovery.
Two further scores in the second half completed the scoring before the merciful referee’s final whistle (perhaps blown a little early) allowed everybody to escape the dank and dreich conditions.
This result sees the Development XV in 5th place in East Reserve Division 1 (on 36 points), one point behind next week’s opponents Musselburgh. The present leaders, in what is proving to be a very competitive league, are Hawick Force on 42 points.
For the contest on Pitch 1, the general consensus of opinion was that whoever managed to master the conditions more successfully would be in the ascendency. Pleasingly for the Inverleith faithful, it was the home team (won 38-17). This, on its own, would, however, be a very harsh reflection on the RGB performance. The set piece was good and opposition ball was turned over at both scrum and line out. Likewise, the counter rucking (a relatively new addition to the Stew Mel armoury) slowed down the Lanarkshire men’s ball and allowed attack to take place against a defence that had been denied the time to organise effectively. Take a bow the forwards for another strong performance!
Sometimes, in such dreadful conditions, having too much of the ball can be a disadvantage, but scrum-half Fraser Strachan controlled things well and the backs illustrated their burgeoning confidence by making good decisions in attack. Watch out for Kevin’s match report.
A good Saturday for Senior rugby but a wounded Bull is a dangerous animal, and Hamilton showed enough team spirit and skill to ensure that the next meeting at Laigh Bent will be a full blooded affair!
This places the RBG third in the league which, after Dumfries’ defeat at the hands of Preston Lodge, now sees GHK at the top of the pile. There is no doubt that all teams in the league are capable of beating each other! Falkirk, the visitors to Inverleith next Saturday, might be in 10th place but those who attended the first fixture at Sunnyside will need no reminding of how desperately close the result was. There is no doubt that Momo and the boys will be keeping their feet firmly on the ground!
Finally for this match, two little asides:
• Due to a late injury, Director of Rugby ‘Cash’ had to fill a place on the bench despite being out of action for some considerable time. Notwithstanding his protestations, rarely has a player shown such enthusiasm to get on the pitch. The magic is still there!
• Ru Mitchell’s ‘Go Faster Trainers’ have been mentioned in previous dispatches. They have obviously had some influence on his on-field demeanour. Finding himself 20 metres out with one defender to beat, he produced an ‘Ali Shuffle’ of which even the master himself would have been proud. Suddenly realizing that the try line was outwith his distance, he offloaded to a colleague – but not before a touchline worthy had christened him ‘Twinkle Toes’!
The College 1st XV played their Cup semi-final against Marr College last Thursday and produced some scintillating rugby to progress through to the final at Murrayfield on Wednesday 4th December with a 6.15 kick-off.
Their opponents will be Watson’s, who physically overpowered Edinburgh Academy in the other semi-final. The last time the two Merchant Company teams met produced a memorable encounter full of attacking rugby. It promises to be a great occasion and the boys would be grateful for your support.
Well done also to ALL the College teams who, after the last round of fixtures against Watson’s, were confirmed as the Mitsubishi Colt Conference Champions for 2019.
See you at Inverleith on Saturday!
1st XV match photo by Jax MacKenzie