Down Inverleith Way 20

Down Inverleith Way 20

The last two weeks for the Senior section of the club have not been the happiest of times. Disappointing defeats at the hands of Musselburgh and Aberdeen see the 1st XV languishing in the lower regions of National 1 and, while not yet cut adrift, a win is desperately needed to kick start the season.

A good starting 10 minutes at Stoneyhill and an exhilarating last 20 did not hide the fact that SM were totally subdued for the middle section of the match and left with an uphill task of gaining parity with our hosts from the Honest Toun. Too many handling errors, the occasional missed tackle and an inability to win any kind of decent possession threatened an unpalatable possibility of being swamped. Spirits took a further downturn as Adam Howie, just back from a lengthy spell of absence, limped off with what looked like a recurrence of his knee injury. To their credit, however, the boys buckled down and produced the aforementioned strong final quarter (with, as ever, Sean Murchie and Gregor Porteous leading the charge) which saw Musselburgh glad to hear the final whistle (lost 14-19).

A sunny day at Inverleith, and, with Aberdeen as opponents, there were hopes for atonement and getting the season on track. A bright opening salvo kept optimism alive, but, for the rest of the encounter, apart from intermittent sparks of defiance, the men from the North East were in the ascendancy. The RBG struggled to contain the visitors’ power game, failed to gain any concerted spells of possession and spent a large percentage of the time on their defensive heels. While initially the tackling was good, it failed to stop the gain line being breached, and, as a result, the Aberdonians were constantly on the front foot; such pressure inevitably leads to gaps in the defensive wall. SM will be disappointed with the missed tackles and difficulty in disrupting or turning-over the opposition at the break-down, but, more optimistically, when the ball was gained and continuity achieved, four excellent tries were scored to gain a bonus point. This might be crucial deeper into the season (lost 25-67). As a final comment, thanks to the ballboys, James Healy, Ciaran Geddes, Josh Penny, Calum Jessop, Hugo Welsh and Thomas Fallon. You did a great job.

The Senior 2nd XV did not have a match last Saturday but the previous week saw them, albeit very narrowly, also coming unstuck against Musselburgh (lost 14-17). Unfortunately, Andrew Manson suffered another head knock and, subsequently through medical protocol, will not be available for the remainder of the season. Concussion and injury have not been friends to the club this season!

Both Senior teams travel to Dundee this Saturday and “Sesh”, his fellow coaches and the players will be working hard to put things right and get those wins which will, hopefully, turn the season around. Be assured everybody is working hard and there is no lack of effort. A strong Stew Mel presence on the touchline would be much appreciated by all.

The Mighty 3’s lifted the disappointment somewhat with two stirring victories against Lismore/Portobello and Peebles (see Lawrance’s report on the website) although suitably qualified front-rowers remain a problem. They are due to travel to Penicuik on Saturday. Let’s hope the players can get over their fear of crossing the city boundary and that a strong team is fielded!

The Lions held a highly successful Festival of Rugby (Sunday 1st October) and the P7 team won their tournament, beating Stirling County in an exciting final. Incidentally, this is the last time they can play in this competition as they move on to the Stew Mel Academy next season.

All other age groups played “festival” rugby with every P3 player (of all clubs) receiving a medal after participating in their first tournament experience! Stewart’s Melville Senior Club President, Bill McNie, reported spying a certain Murray McColl (son of former Director of Rugby, Malcolm) playing and commented, “Like his Dad before him, he seems to fancy himself as a bit of a winger, as he seemed to spend a lot of his time over there in splendid isolation, waiting for the killer pass!”

On Wednesday (4th October), the Stew Mel Academy Under 14’s played the BAT’s under the training lights at Inverleith. In terrible conditions they still managed to play expansive rugby and produced a solid win against determined opponents.

Not to be outdone, the U16’s are to play perennial rivals, Stirling County, tomorrow night, also at Inverleith with a 7 pm kick off.

The College 1st XV met Dollar Academy (a repeat of last year’s Cup final) on Saturday 30th September in the Conference. Also at stake was the Grant MacKenzie trophy which is played for on a yearly basis in memory of Grant who was a Dollar Academical, a much-loved teacher at Stewart’s Melville and a highly respected former coach of the Club. Whilst never reaching their top form, the RBG retained the trophy with a narrow 23-21 victory, recovering from 13-0 down. Last Saturday, they played Glasgow Academy at Inverleith, and, while winning comfortably (35-5), coaches Bryn Lockie and Jimmy Moran will be demanding a much more controlled and thoughtful performance when they meet Preston Lodge High School in the Cup tomorrow night (10th October). A 5 pm kick off at Pennypit Park, Prestonpans if you are interested! The East Lothian side are a very strong outfit and will be a severe test in the pursuit of retaining the Cup.

The College U16 side, under the tutelage of Hayden Lingard, have so far played Boroughmuir (29-7) and Loretto (62-17) and now face a tricky trip to Fettes in the next round.

It would be great to have a large support at Dundee (Mayfield) on Saturday!

Phil Waine

1st XV vs Aberdeen Grammar match photos c/o 39 Design Photography

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