Down Inverleith Way 3
Back to earth with a bump and a reality check! From the heady heights of two wins last week to the salutary lesson of two setbacks for the Senior XV’s on Saturday. The 1st XV went down to GHA by 19-44 whilst the 2nd XV, despite scoring 47 points, were still 16 adrift of Heriot’s Blues (47-63). Ferry Road Wanderers won 28-0 against Edinburgh Northern in a training game but this was hardly compensation for the cloud of disappointment (unless you were a Glaswegian) which hung over Inverleith on Saturday.
It would be inappropriate to name the Stewart’s Melville worthy who predicted, 20 minutes into the 1st XV game, that it might be a bad weekend with the RBG losing, Scotland losing and Hearts succumbing to Hibs. Depending on your allegiance in the latter, he was, to a greater or lesser degree, correct! From 4th top to 4th bottom in the league in one game!
Every team can, of course, have a ‘bad hair’ day, and hopefully, last Saturday was it. There was a flatness about the performance and, in such circumstances, it proved difficult to counter the energetic and physical approach of the Old Anniesland men. They were worthy of their win, even if the margin was somewhat inflated by a couple of lucky tries. Conceded penalties, needless turn-overs and the opposition seizing on self-inflicted mistakes were central to the loss, and the players and coaching staff will be working hard to find a remedy this week. The amount of effort being put in deserves success.
On the positive side, GHK can be beaten in the return, and, hopefully, the sound of a Weegie loudly spurring on his side to ‘go for 50’ will more than provide the necessary incentive! Also, it has to be acknowledged that there were still some good Stew Mel moments, none more so than the first try which saw Momo running a great support line and galloping between the posts with much glee (it is open to question whether or not he thought he was going to drop the ball) to touch down – even if his wife didn’t arrive in time to see it! Watch out for Kevin Murchie’s match report.
Next week becomes an even more important fixture, and it is a challenging one – Newton Stewart down in the fair county of Dumfries and Galloway.
It is critical that the club keeps a strong playing base and, in this respect – and their own right – the Senior 2nd XV is integral to the progress of the club. As already mentioned, they faced the ‘Nails’ on Saturday, and, despite losing, produced a plucky performance always to remain in touch with the Goldenacre side. Last year Heriot’s won the Premier Reserve League with some room to spare, and, although club rugby in general is facing some confusion with the introduction of ‘Super Six’, this result indicates the progress that has been made, whilst, at the same time, recognising there is still room for improvement!
In stark contrast to last week’s Musselburgh game, the nitty gritty was forgotten in favour of a free flowing and somewhat non-tackling encounter. The suggestion by our Chairman that the referee might have missed a try for the opposition was strongly disputed by the RBG pack, who felt that they had gained more than parity in the contest —typical forwards!
Finally, whilst Stewart’s Melville is a fully open club, it is good to recognise that nine players in the Senior 2nd XV have come through the college system. As it, the Lions and the Stew Mel Academy are our nursery, and this is something that has to be encouraged. Sadly, too many of our youth products still end up playing for other clubs.
This Saturday, the Senior 2nd XV play Currie at Inverleith with a 3 pm kick off. If you cannot make Bladnoch Park (Newton Stewart), why not come down, support them and talent spot the players pushing for a place in the 1st XV?
College Rugby has been somewhat interrupted by ‘Open Day’ but some fixtures have taken place. A slightly understrength 1st XV travelled to Newcastle, and, in a tightly contested match, lost narrowly by 21-27; the 2nd XV defeated Loretto by 32-10; and the U16A side won their second round cup tie against Preston Lodge by 55-5.
Meanwhile the B teams at U16, U15 and U14 played Loretto; while all 3 games were lost, they performed with great tenacity against strong opponents.
In the next round of the cup both the U18’s and U16’s have been drawn away from home, with the older boys playing Glenalmond College and the U16’S matched against Bell Baxter High School. Potentially, two very tricky ties. Perhaps the surprise result of round 2 in the U18 competition was Marr’s 28-0 win against St. Aloysius. Rugby seems to be thriving in Troon this season!
The Conference returns this Saturday with a full run of fixtures against Merchiston. If you want to see Scottish Schools’ Rugby of the highest quality then the place to be is possibly the clash of the 1st XVs on pitch 1 at Inverleith (10.30 am kick off).
There was only one other Conference game last Saturday when Watson’s beat Heriot’s by 36-7. Results of interest saw Strathallan and Dollar Academy come out on top over Fettes (49-12) and Glasgow Academy (61-14), respectively.
Match photos by Keith Ferguson