Down Inverleith Way 19
Due to Open Day at the College, only the 1st XV had a run out last Saturday, with Royal Grammar School, Newcastle being the visitors to Edinburgh. In an exciting match, the RBG put the disappointment of the last two weeks behind them to produce a pleasing, if somewhat narrow, victory to the tune of 34-28.
The Stew Mel Academy U15s also met with Geordie opposition, visiting Newcastle Northern RFC on Sunday for a fixture against the top side in Northumberland. The boys played 3 x 20mins and had a tough contest against a very large outfit, finally losing out by the narrowest of margins (35-36). It was a tremendous game of big hits, fast flowing play and end to end action, and the coaches were full of praise for a very good all-round performance! The return match in Edinburgh during December promises to be a cracker!
Such cross-Border encounters are giving the boys an experience of the physical nature of rugby South of the Border and helping them into the mindset of producing top-class performances week in and week out.
Congratulations to our Lions P3 team. They played their first away tournament at Watsonians, undertaking 7 matches, scoring lots of tries and having huge fun. A great day for all. Thanks to our Myreside friends for being great hosts. Also, well done to our P4, 5, 6 and 7 teams (with the P7’s picking up a wee trophy!)
Finally, one more shout for the P6 squad who took on the might of Borders rugby at Melrose and played great rugby against hard opposition.
At the other end of the spectrum, the Senior Mighty 3’s managed to get a strong team out to play Inverleith 2nd XV. It must have been somewhat daunting for the men from Aboretum to view an RBG line-up featuring so many stars from the past, and several who should still be playing at a higher level. Struan Allan found himself a new rugby niche by turning out at tight head prop, being nursed through unchartered territory by his fellow front row veterans Lindsay Ross and Martin Kemp (age is no barrier for the Mighty 3’s!). An 86-0 victory, but this team is only as good as its next performance and it is to be hoped that those who played on Saturday can make themselves available on a regular basis. The club needs to honour all its fixtures and Fin and his team, who work incredibly hard every week to get players on the pitch, need and deserve strong support.
Senior 1st and 2nd XVs
So far so good but, sadly, the Senior 1st and 2nd XV’s had another very difficult afternoon. The former took on a confident Jed side and, despite dominating possession and territory, found themselves 0-12 at half-time courtesy of two break away tries. The first 20 minutes of the second half took on a very similar pattern, with Jed scoring more points from SM mistakes than any startling creativity from themselves.
The crucial point, however, is that we made the errors and they scored! Such a pattern takes its toll and, despite some valiant defence, the Borderers increased their share of possession and ran the last 10 to 15 minutes of the game. It would be naive to dispute the Jethart victory, but the aforementioned confidence (or lack of it) played a big part in this game. Young as our team are, they need to appreciate their abilities and realise that they have talent.
Bill, in his excellent match report, quotes Gregor Townsend – “Learning from mistakes and learning from failure is what makes you better” – and this can take the club forward. We have an excellent coaching staff and players who want to learn, so roll on next Saturday! It is up to every Stew Mel supporter to get behind the side, and, if at all possible, attend at Stoneyhill next Saturday to give the boys Gav’s 16th man lift.
When there is an injury crisis such as the one being faced at the moment (26 players unavailable), inevitably it is the 2nd XV who suffer most, and so it was on Saturday. They met a competent Hawick Force side who eventually ran out comfortable winners. Despite their difficulties, however, Fin Calder reported that the towel was never thrown in and they competed to the bitter end. They also have the chance to make amends on Saturday in Musselburgh.
Despite his disappointment, Captain Ruaridh Mitchell took time out at the end of the 1st XV match to thank the ballboys for their sterling efforts during the game. The Jed kicker managed to dispatch four balls into the gardens at the castle end of the pitch, but, even with this difficulty, they never gave up their task. It would be great to see more Lions, School and Academy players and their parents down on a Saturday at Inverleith to support the concept of one club. You would all be very welcome. In the same vein, senior players are reminded that the Lions hold their big tournament next Sunday (1st October) and the junior players would really appreciate the support of their senior colleagues from the touchline. It really is a great day and another chance for the club to join together.
As a final footnote to last Saturday, the club is pleased to report that one of our major sponsors, Fraser Pollock, was, despite his disappointment at the 1st XV result, basking in glory as he announced to anybody who was prepared to listen that he had won his golf tie in the morning by an amazing 6 and 4. Commiserations to Fraser’s opponent, who was an, as yet, unnamed Stew Mellie! It is to be hoped that Fraser can bestow his Midas touch on the RBG teams next Saturday.
Scottish Rugby Youth Panel
The Youth Panel acts as a voice for young people within Scottish Rugby and enables members of the panel to inform the implementation and development of Schools and Youth programmes. Our very own Catherine McNie is a member. She says, “I have been watching rugby ever since I can remember – however, I only decided just over a year ago to start playing and get more involved, and it’s the best decision of my life. I am now also a part of the BT Academy’s under 18 programme. I’m thrilled to be on the Youth Panel as I think really positive things could happen if young people are represented at a higher level”.
Club Development Conference
The SRU held its club development conference at Murrayfield last Sunday. It was all about Performance, Participation and Sustainability. It might be suggested that the governing body’s immediate emphasis is about competing at the professional level, but there was also great store being placed on participation and sustainability.
Are you aware of the Super 6 proposals that are being acted upon and what are your views on them? Guidelines are due to be produced by the SRU on 1st November. Have you given any thought as to how Stewart’s Melville rugby might fit into the broader picture? Please do not stand back – let your views be known. Remember, however, that having ideas without putting them forward, and not becoming involved in the implementation process, does not help the club to move forward. There is a desperate need for people to confirm their membership and take a real interest in the club, especially at the senior level. Gregor Townsend, in his conference address, talked about “cohesion and energy”. We need to continue to work at this for RBG rugby.
Please make an effort to support the senior section of the club at Musselburgh on Saturday. It really is a very important day. Also remember that the future is on show at Inverleith on Sunday.