End Of Season Review
During these challenging times, it’s perhaps not a bad idea to divert our minds temporarily and reflect on the 2019/20 season that has just come to a decidedly premature end.
In a nutshell, it has been brilliant! We only lost three games. Against GHK we weren’t quite ready; PL was a bad day at the office; and Peebles – well, the better team lost. On and off the field, the boys have been, by and large, exemplary. The team has remained more or less unchanged throughout, and, where changes were made due to unavailability, injury, or, indeed, on merit, players from the Development squad have risen well above the parapet and each one, to a man, has deputised admirably. That’s what strength in depth means.
Rather than go through the individual games (already done), it would probably be easier and a little less time consuming to go through the ‘team’ from 1 to 15 that produced performances that they must all be extremely proud of.
The three Dumfries games stand out for me. The front row. I have waxed lyrical about the mobility of Darren, Chris, Connor and Doug. What an asset. And, when Big Ru joins in, he does what the Bear did for Scotland.
The second row. Jamie Sword leaping high like a Borders salmon (sorry, Bill). You would think he was 7’2” and not just 6’ something. And his partner, Captain Fantastic Momo – say no more.
The back row. Joe: every team needs an enforcer, someone who plays on the edge and basically causes major disruption to the opposition. Matt and Willie: athleticism and experience, respectively. And our revered Number 8 – what a season Scott has had! One of my Players of the Year, without a shadow of a doubt. The only time he was ‘missing in action’ was when he was away watching his wee brother.
Now for the so-called ‘pretty boys’. Fraser ‘box kick’ Strachan. Another great season. There is a lot more to Fraser than the aforementioned kick, and his vision, quick thinking and – dare I say it – electric pace has created so much, in terms of opportunities on the park. A key role. He has synched well with Euan at number 10, who has pulled the strings all season. Apart from one poor kick, he has been superb!
The midfield. Happy’s boot has been a revelation, and, although he succumbed to a nasty injury in Dumfries, his presence has been so important throughout the season. Not just his boot but his defence and attack. I always said James should play 13 and I will take some credit for his success there this season. He is my other candidate for Player of the Year. It was the match down at PL during the 2018/19 season where James, I think, found his aggressive streak (controlled of course) and he has never looked back. He has been uncompromising in attack, takes no prisoners and pulls no punches (metaphorically), giving the penetration required in midfield to release the back three: the hard and straight running Adam, the elusive Sean and the spark at full back, Charlie.
Lastly, and by no means least, all credit has to go to the coaches, who have endured the ups and downs and stuck to the task, come rain, sleet or even Dumfries. A great example of both dedication and commitment. Thanks must, of course, also go to Chairman Fin, whose support should never be underestimated. I mean, how many clubs in Scotland have someone of Fin’s (and brother Jim’s) rugby calibre prowling the touch line like Lions every Saturday? That must be so inspirational for the players.
Of course, mention must also be made of our sometimes inappropriately attired but always immaculately turned out President Simon and deputy Bill lending their support, the latter’s dulcet tones of ‘Come on Stew Mel’ echoing around the park – and, indeed, much of the EH5 post code!
So where do we go from here? I think all we can do is wait and see – but the important thing is to stay safe and well, and, as we have done throughout this season, consolidate. We will all soon bounce back. Hopefully see you all soon.
Squad photo by Keith Ferguson