Down Inverleith Way 8
This was a different Saturday! The President was beaming after the game, the Stew Mel support was not required to recover from nervous exhaustion in the bar and the scoreboard blazed (long after the game – the club must learn how to switch it off!) a very pleasing result: won 43-22.
The ramifications also extended way beyond the clubhouse: the smile at the door when going home alerted the dog that all was well, and she felt safe to wag her tail! Perhaps not a solution to Brexit, but the RBG senior 1st XV had produced their best performance of the season and progressed to the next round of the Cup (the reward is a home match against either Murrayfield Wanderers or Preston Lodge). Just a pity the game had not been allowed to double as a league fixture, but the SRU has its rules!
Dumfries Saints visited Inverleith as the outstanding team in National Two, heading the league because of an impressive, and well deserved, undefeated run. Admittedly, the southern supporters were disappointed that they had produced (in their mind) a below par performance and felt that they were, perhaps, below full strength – but, make no bones, this was a stern test for the RBG and an important and deserved result.
From an Inverleith point of view it was more like the real thing and there was a sense of focused purpose during the whole game. Equally, there was a will to dominate proceedings and to play exciting rugby (but with a cognisance of propriety) plus a belief in team work. In short, many of the memories of a dark day in Prestonpans were eradicated.
It was also refreshing to have a referee who was prepared to observe the offside law. This gave the backs, on both sides, the opportunity to display attacking potential, and, perhaps for the first time this season, the Stew Mel back-line gave an insight into their full potential – and this was without the influential talents of Sean Murchie.
Talking of leading lights, it was also good to see big Ru standing on the touchline fully recovered from his hamstring injury (yes, he’s a prop!) and wearing a very natty pair of red ‘go faster’ trainers. Promises, promises, Mr. Mitchell!
Sean and Ru were only missing from the squad because of a Stew Mel misunderstanding of the rules governing the number of replacements.
It is easy to get carried away, and, as football managers are fond of saying, the Cup is important but what really matters are league points. Next week’s game against Whitecraigs is immediately paramount and any match up is a potential banana skin in National League 2. All its members have proved that they are capable of beating another team on their day. If nothing else, there is little doubt that the Dumfries & Galloway men we defeated in the Cup will want to prove that they did not hit their straps in future encounters. Every week is a serious challenge!
Due to it being a ‘Cup Saturday’, the senior Development Team did not have a fixture, and it would appear there are no East Reserve League Division 1 matches next Saturday, either. The next encounter (unless a friendly can be organised) is, therefore, 9th November, when they travel into deepest darkest Lanarkshire to play Biggar 2nd XV. This competition has been slightly skewed by clubs not being able to field a XV (fortunately not an issue for the RBG to date), but, after a couple of disappointing results, a win would be very welcome.
Two important fixtures are coming up for the College 1st XV and Under 16A XV. On Tuesday 5th November the former play Dollar Academy in Clackmannanshire while the latter meet Strathallan at Inverleith in the quarter finals of the Scottish Schools’ Cup.
So, in summary, the RBG senior 1st XV are only as good as their last game – but there is hope that they have now found the confidence to perform at a higher level week on week. There is no doubt that this will be the players’ target. Newton Mearns is less than an hour from Edinburgh – see you at Aurs Road!
Match photo by Keith Ferguson