Down Inverleith Way 38
It proved to be anything but “Sunnyside.” The Senior 1st XV finished a difficult season with a loss at the hands of Falkirk ( 34-12), once again falling foul of the referee’s interpretation of the laws. It is demoralising for SM players and spectators alike to be continually on the wrong end of a huge penalty count, especially as it is nothing to do with foul play. Quite rightly, officials must always be respected but a channel needs to be found within the club whereby misdemeanours are clearly explained so that they can be rectified and the team can get on with playing rugby. The corollary, of course, is that if this is done one has to listen and act accordingly! Recognising a certain amount of bias (!), it has not been easy to fathom out the problem from the touchline, but it is something that needs to be addressed for 2018-19.
There is no gain in further labouring the point. The truth of the matter last Saturday was that the Central Region Men wanted to end their own horrendous year on a high while the visitors, after a bright start, appeared to just want it to end! All was summed up when Adam Howie (playing his final match before retirement) was carried from the pitch with a serious knee injury – the season ended as it had started! A speedy recovery Adam and many thanks for your contribution to the club. It has been a frustrating eight and a half months where the RBG have failed to find the consistency and belief to come out on the right side of several tight encounters. Only Jedforest emphasised any real superiority in both fixtures and the champions, Edinburgh Accies, were given two stern encounters. Inverleith will see National 2 league rugby next season but it could have been different!
The players and coaches deserve credit for sticking to the task. Training has been well attended, analysis has been thorough and there has never been less than 100% effort on the pitch. Relegation is a fact but hopefully everybody will stick together now and show the motivation and collective effort to re-energise and move forward again. Efforts on and off the pitch will facilitate this process. There are many major pluses in the Stewart’s Melville Rugby organisation but undeniably there are problems as well, and the club needs YOUR support. There has been some reflection through various mediums as to possible actions but this, here, is not the forum for that debate. Suffice to sincerely thank the small band of volunteers who work tirelessly to keep all sections of the club alive. They would welcome constructive deliberation and “hands-on” help to put future plans into action. Do you have any time? It is also right to acknowledge the support from our sponsors — your backing is greatly appreciated and the club cannot survive without you.
Congratulations to the Stewart’s Melville Academy U15’s who won last week’s Melrose U15 7’s tournament. To quote Ross McNulty, the Academy Manager, “Its hard to win 7’s tourneys…………and for a city team, it’s even harder to win in the Borders, let alone at Melrose. However, this is our second tournament win in 2 seasons, something we can all be very proud of”. Tynedale were defeated in the final.
Not to be outdone the U16 Academy side set out for Melrose this Sunday to take part in the Drummond Cup. They have been drawn in a pool with Gala and Selkirk with their first tie taking place at 12.34. Other teams taking part are Melrose, Kelso, Peebles, North Berwick, Jed, Duns, Hawick and Berwick.
For those off you who are a little bit longer in the tooth. “Shergar” (aka Richard Maxton) plays his final game of rugby for Hamilton Bulls on Saturday before finally retiring. Ritchie played for Stewart’s Melville with some distinction while at University before a teaching post took him back through to the West. There he was part of a successful Glasgow Hawks side which won the Premiership before returning to his alma mater in Lanarkshire. The RBG wish you all the best and maybe see you down at Inverleith again sometime.
Finally, a little personal indulgence. There have not been many highlights for the Senior 1st XV this season but this has definitely been a favourite!
Best wishes to everybody for a good summer and the club looks forward to welcoming old and new supporters to Inverleith in August.