Down Inverleith Way 35
Déja` Vu! As the car turned off the A7 onto the B710 towards Clovenfords, the outside temperature read -2 degrees centigrade and snow threatened to engulf the road. Would the weather be as horrendous in Selkirk as it was for the match against GHA last week? Thankfully, although bitterly cold, the overhead conditions relented; sadly the result ended up the same with the RBG going down by 28-05. The really frustrating thing (although the Soutars’ faithful might disagree) was that there was very little between the teams and Stew Mel, through Cameron Symes, scored the best try of the day as, from depth and with excellent support running, the ball went through several pairs of hands before he crossed the line.
If one says that Stew Mel arguably played as good – if not better – rugby at times, then one also has to ask, “What was the difference”? Quite simply Selkirk took their chances, showed a little more composure and a greater ability not to spill the ball in promising positions (does this sound familiar?). Such is the difference between the relegation zone and riding in the upper echelons of the league – confidence and experience counts for a great deal!
Mathematically (if one is a super optimist) demotion can still be avoided but, realistically, the club has to start building for next season. Not only at (Senior)1st XV level but throughout the senior section of the club with the 2nd XV being an integral part of this process. On Saturday, they travelled to Biggar with 14 men and, therefore perhaps not surprisingly, lost to a club who are below them in the league and who have sometimes struggled to produce a team. Last weekend, despite it being “Super Saturday” the Lanarkshire outfit managed to field 20 players and score 45 points to 7 points. The RBG are not safe in their league and it is paramount to stay in National Reserve Division 2. The weather has made it an elongated season but Stew Mel is not the only club to suffer and the target must be to win the last two league games against Selkirk (at Philipshaugh) on 31st March and GHA (at Inverleith) on 7th April. No easy task as both these teams are high in the league and won the first encounters earlier in the season. The challenge is on! As a prelude to this a friendly has been arranged for this Saturday against Dunfermline at McKane Park.
The Senior 1st XV face Gala on Saturday (24th March) and the first encounter back in October at Netherdale was one of the “highs” for the club. Can one dream again?. Please get down and support the team. Our hard working Vice-President, Simon Breeze, and his team have organised a pre-match lunch with Gregor Townsend being the principle guest amongst some other well known celebrities, and it promises to be an excellent occasion.
The Sevens Series organised by Scottish Schools has been dogged by the weather with the final events at Goldenacre and Newfield also having to be cancelled. In the end just one tournament took place and that was in conditions more conducive to an SAS artic survival exercise! The College U14 Seven does have the opportunity to participate in one more competition as they set off to take part in the Roslyn Park Sevens tomorrow (Thursday 22nd March). In a tough group they play Wellington College, University College School, Portsmouth Grammar School and the Samuel Whitbread Academy.
With the College season now finished, the Stewart’s Melville Academy takes over and this Sunday the U13’s, U14’s and U15’s play Currie. The first two games are at Inverleith with an 11 a.m. kick off while the latter game is at Maleny Park with a 2 p.m. start. Not to be outdone the P4,P5 and P6 Lions’ teams go on tour to Newcastle — with their fathers to look after them!
Congratulations to Scott Riddell – Stew Mellie and Scotland’s most capped sevens player in history – who has been chosen to lead the Sevens team at this year’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in Australia. This will be his third games having previously featured in both Delhi 2010 and Glasgow 2014.
Also well done to Ed Kalman (College 1st XV) who joined Jack Blain in the Scottish Under 18 XV squad that played England at Murrayfield last Sunday. It is not a good idea to dwell too much on the result, but it is a great honour for Stewart’s Melville Rugby to have 3 players (the other one being Conor Boyle) representing their country at age group level.
Those of you who take an interest in the mechanisations of National League Division 1 will have noticed that Jed-Forest inflicted the first league defeat of the season on Edinburgh Academicals thus drawing them level at the top of the division. Realistically, one is going to get automatic promotion to Premier 1 whilst the other will face a play-off for the honour against Glasgow Hawks. At present, the Raeburn Place men claim top spot by virtue of a better points differential but who knows what will happen in the coming weeks?
Talking of Premier 1, have you given any thought to Super 6 and Agenda 3? In the club’s present position, what exactly does it mean for Stewart’s Melville rugby? Even if desired, it is in no condition to apply for a franchise, but according to the CEO of Scottish Rugby, Mark Dodson, there are currently 13 letters of intent so something is likely to happen. The question has been asked on several occasions before – do you have a view? Now is the time to make it known before it is too late!