Down Inverleith Way 17

Down Inverleith Way 17

Here we go again! It has been another interesting summer with some players leaving for pastures new. A perusal of Premier 1 team lists for last Saturday shows no fewer than 7 recent ex RBG’s turning out in other colours. However, the difference this season is that only two – Fin Hobbis and Jamie Hodgson – are going for reasons other than work or university commitments (and this due to the demands of membership of the SRU Academy). While obviously disappointed, we wish them well for the future with an invitation to return to Inverleith at any time. Nick McCashin, Andrew Warnock, Mike Hanning, Jack Hannay, Sami Paulsson, Ben Docherty, Johnny Grant, Russell Geddes and Ali Greig leave for London or overseas, but go secure in the knowledge that they would be welcomed back with open arms at any time in the future.

It is very pleasing to have back Scott Docherty, Adam Greig, Andrew Manson and Harrison Turner after sojourns away to university; James Phillips, Cameron MacDonald and Tom Patieu from the school; and Ruaridh Mitchell after a brief spell of penance with the ‘Nails’. We are also delighted to welcome a large number of new members and the plan is to update the Player Profiles on the website in the very near future and formally induct them into the club. It is great to greet so many fresh faces and we hope that they will thoroughly enjoy their involvement with the club.

One notable achievement that some might have missed over the summer is that Stewart’s Melville member, Isaac Miller, captained the English Students XV while studying at Loughborough University. Having gained his degree, he is now playing at London Scottish. It is to be wondered how many Scots have been awarded such a privilege?

After warm-up games with Marr and Hamilton and a cup victory over Gordonians, the senior 1st XV came up against Edinburgh Accies in their first encounter of National League 1. It was an occasion characterised by both sadness and optimism. The club said goodbye to Gavin Calder with a lunch and a minute’s silence, while a new look team eagerly anticipated a test against an outfit that had only just failed to achieve promotion to the Premier Division last season.

In a very nice touch, Gavin Calder Junior has written the match report and his son, Tom, presented the ‘Gavin Calder Memorial Trophy’ to the winning team. Therefore, there is little need to make more than passing comment about the game itself. The RBG had a good first 10 minutes but must have felt that they were battering against a brick wall. The physicality of the Raeburn Place men began to tell and, helped by a home yellow card, they laid siege. Four tries and two conversions saw the visitors leading 24-0 at half time and a sense of foreboding amongst the Inverleith support. However, in the next 40 minutes, Stew Mel metaphorically rolled up their sleeves and produced a display of guts, determination and no little skill. Indeed, they won the second period by 26-14, gained a four try bonus point and were more than a little unlucky not to achieve a last minute score and secure the losing bonus point. The tackles were made on the gain line in aggressive and destructive fashion and, with confidence burgeoning, a number of attacking ploys saw the Accies defence rattled – and breached – on several occasions.

Accies deserved their win and looked an accomplished side. However, it is to be hoped that the RBG have dispelled any doubts in their collective mind and realise that they are capable of competing (and hopefully beating) the very best in the league.

The home changing room looked like an accident and emergency clearing station after the final whistle and, with many players already out of action for a while due to injury, the medical staff will have to work miracles in the coming week!

The team would like to thank the ball boys – Jacob Cairns, Calum Jessop, James Healy, Callum Young, Lewis MacLeod and Jamie Jarvis – for their excellent work throughout the game. Your support is very much appreciated. Captain Duncan Wood said, “It would be great to see as many Lions, SM Academy and School players as possible down watching on a Saturday. Your support makes a big difference to us and we enjoy meeting the future of the club once the match has finished.”

The Senior 2nd XV also started their league campaign with a match against Boroughmuir 3s and emerged 68-32 victors. This win, after one game, puts them at the top of the table. Long may it continue!

The College 1st XV have recently come back from a successful tour to South Africa, and, in their opening two games, gained comfortable wins against Bell Baxter High School and Heriot’s. However, it was a completely different kettle of fish when they travelled to Cumbria to take on the might of Sedbergh School. In two sessions, they narrowly won the first encounter but were comfortably beaten in the second. Hopefully, the lessons learnt can be put into practice when they play Merchiston next Saturday.

With College, Lions, SM Academy and Senior rugby back in full swing, Inverleith is buzzing. Why not come and be part of it?

Phil Waine

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