Your team v Falkirk RFC : Saturday 21 October 2017

Stewart’s Melville RFC

Sponsored By

15 Sean Murchie
Graham + Sibbald
14 Ruaridh Stewart
13 James Ferguson
Haldane UK
12 Euan Morrison
11 Jack Somerville
10 Freddie Roddick
9 Cameron Macdonald
1 Josh Scott
2 Ruaridh Mitchell
3 Angus Wallace
4 William Inglis
Baillie Gifford
5 Jamie Sword
DJ Alexander
6 Tom Croy
7 Duncan Wood (captain)
Breadalbane Finance
8 Nick Winton

16 Shaun Burns
Bisset Waste Management
17 Cameron Taylor
Bill Johnstone
18 David Stoddart
Dreadnought Leith
19 Conor Boyle
20 Nathan Ross
Bier Hoose

Head Coach Gordon Henderson
Team Manager Graham Inglis

1st XV Match Report vs Dundee High

Those of you following our game at Mayfield via Colin’s updates on the Club’s Facebook page would have seen the following post at 3.46 pm on Saturday:

Found in Dundee, Stew Mel heart and determination. For those that have watched Stew Mel this season, the HT score does not reflect the determination, heart and passion the boys are playing with. Without doubt the best half of rugby we have played this season and some great defence. Dundee playing out of their skins and only just deserving of a lead – certainly not 24 v 6.

Mr Rigby wasn’t wrong, either. While we managed to ship four tries during the opening period, we also enjoyed a fair bit of possession, defended resolutely and were unlucky just to have two penalties by Happy to show for our efforts at the interval.

We coped well with Dundee’s attacks during the opening exchanges but still conceded the opening try after five minutes, a penalty kicked to the corner allowing the home pack to rumble over from the resulting lineout. Kieran Scoular’s fine conversion from the touchline made the score 7-0.

We took the game to Dundee from the restart, Jamie Sword, Happy and Sean Murchie all carrying well as we worked our way into the Dundee half. The passage of play ended with us being awarded a penalty in front of the post on the 22, Happy’s neat kick pegging Dundee back to 7-3.

Dundee came roaring back at us thereafter, but some fine collective defence appeared to have halted them in their tracks, our ‘new’ stand off Gregor Porteous marshalling the backs well and big Gus Wallace putting in some resounding hits. We were, however, undone by a simple tap penalty on the 16 minute mark, the rapid attack ending with home flanker Arnott trotting in at the clubhouse end for a soft try. The conversion was missed after the ball fell off the tee, but we were now 12-3 down.

We narrowed the gap to 6 points on 25 minutes after Dundee were deemed to have halted another flowing attack illegally on the edge of their 22. Happy made simple work of the penalty, although, to be honest, we would probably have preferred to have gone with the advantage as a neat chip through by Murray Hanning had sent Sean and our ‘born-again’ winger Ruaridh Stewart haring after the ball as it rolled towards the Dundee line.

Dundee’s next try was rather fortuitous, albeit it stemmed from an almighty up and under from inside centre Andy Hamilton around the half way line. The ball landed near the touchline at the clubhouse corner, bounced over Sean’s head and was then fly hacked over the line by lurking Dundee winger Evan Fairweather. With our defence struggling to react, Fairweather duly beat James Ferguson to the touch down in the corner. The conversion came back off the post, leaving the score at 17-6 to Dundee.

We enjoyed the bulk of possession for the next five minutes, but were twice penalised for diving over the top after we had carried the ball deep into the Dundee 22. This happened at least three times during the first half, and underlines just how important fine margins can be – with a bit more composure in the ‘red zone’, we could have been at least two tries to the good.

As it was, Dundee finished the half on the attack, making the most of the yellow shown to birthday boy Tom Croy for an alleged ‘no arms’ tackle on one of the hefty Dundee props. Tom at least had the decency to shake said prop’s hand in apology as he headed over to the stand to get first pick of the oranges. Dundee understandably kept the ball in the pack after the resulting penalty, eventually claiming a pushover try from another lineout despite some manful defence from our forwards. The conversion gave us that 24-6 scoreline at the break.

As Colin said, we’d actually put in a pretty decent performance during the opening period, the introduction of Gregor stiffening up our midfield defence while Ruaridh Stewart had shown real hunger both in attack and defence. We did, however, seem rather confused by the amount of possession we had enjoyed, kicking the ball away at times when we should just have put it through the hands and (as noted above) rushing things when we managed to break into the home 22. Poor game management and a lack of precision in attack, in other words.

Despite all our efforts in the first half, the game was effectively beyond us before the second half was ten minutes old. The Dundee pack rumbled over on 46 minutes after we’d been penalised at a scrum near our line (29-6) then number 8 Danny Levison scampered in under the posts on 50 minutes after a penalty led to another Dundee lineout near our line (36-6).

We showed admirable spirit to take the game to Dundee thereafter, with Happy and Swordy punching the ball up the middle … only for classy, ex-Hawks centre Neil Herron to intercept a pop pass around half way and sprint in for the try. That made it 43-6 with 20 minutes left to play.

The watching Stew Mellies knew that the game was beyond us now – but the men in red, black and gold showed no sign of surrender, hammering the Dundee line for fully five minutes. Our attacks swung from right to left and back again, our backs handling well and putting pace on the ball … but we just couldn’t seem to break the thin blue line, and were eventually penalised. While this represented our best attacking spell to date in the game, you did get the feeling that we’d kind of run out of ideas – once again, we just needed one of our older heads to take a second, assess the situation and change the point of attack accordingly.

This was, rather understandably, the point at which our heads started to go down, allowing Dundee to finish the game very much in the ascendancy. They ran in three further tries as we started to fall off tackles, giving a final score of 62-6.

Another heavy (and point-less) defeat, then, but there were still plenty of positives to take from the game. We have historically struggled at Mayfield, and better Stew Mel teams than this one have been more than 18 points adrift at the interval there.

Dundee, by their own admission, enjoyed a very good day at the office, finding their home form for the first time this season and pulling off moves that, on most other occasions, would have broken down or led to a turnover. Our defence looked a lot more solid for the first forty minutes, and we were unlucky to come away from Mayfield without scoring at least a couple of tries. The revamped half back pairing of Cameron MacDonald and Gregor worked well, while ‘tall Roo’ looked like a natural winger rather than a lock who’d lost his scrum cap.

All eyes turn to Inverleith now for this Saturday’s home match against Falkirk, the only team below us in the league at present. While we’re not yet in the Last Chance Saloon, it’s fair to say that a good win on Saturday is essential if we are to start closing the gap on Musselburgh and Cartha.

We should have a few more players back for Saturday, and I would ask that you get down to Invers and give our players and coaches your support. No one is more conscious of our perilous league position than they are, and you can rest assured that they are working very hard to turn things around like they did last season.

Bill McNie

Next Match : Saturday 21 October

Saturday 21 October 2017

1XV HOME v Falkirk RFC – Kick off 3pm
2XV HOME v Biggar RFC – Kick off 3pm

3XV HOME v RHC 2XV – Kick off 3pm


Super Six Franchise Lunch : 21 October 2017

Your Team v Dundee HSFP : Saturday 14 October


15           Sean Murchie
14           Ruaridh Stewart
13           Euan Morrison
12           Murray Hanning
11           James Ferguson
10           Gregor Porteous
9              Cameron MacDonald
1              Cameron Taylor* (Prop)
2              Ruaridh Mitchell* (Prop/Hooker)
3              Angus Wallace* (Prop)
4              David Stoddart
5              Jamie Sword
6              Tom Croy
8              Nick Winton
7              Duncan Wood (Captain)


16           Shaun Burns*(Hooker)
17           Josh Scott* (Prop)
18           Lewis Scott
19           Nathan Ross
20           Stewart Hagart

Down Inverleith Way 20

The last two weeks for the Senior section of the club have not been the happiest of times. Disappointing defeats at the hands of Musselburgh and Aberdeen see the 1st XV languishing in the lower regions of National 1 and, while not yet cut adrift, a win is desperately needed to kick start the season.

A good starting 10 minutes at Stoneyhill and an exhilarating last 20 did not hide the fact that SM were totally subdued for the middle section of the match and left with an uphill task of gaining parity with our hosts from the Honest Toun. Too many handling errors, the occasional missed tackle and an inability to win any kind of decent possession threatened an unpalatable possibility of being swamped. Spirits took a further downturn as Adam Howie, just back from a lengthy spell of absence, limped off with what looked like a recurrence of his knee injury. To their credit, however, the boys buckled down and produced the aforementioned strong final quarter (with, as ever, Sean Murchie and Gregor Porteous leading the charge) which saw Musselburgh glad to hear the final whistle (lost 14-19).

A sunny day at Inverleith, and, with Aberdeen as opponents, there were hopes for atonement and getting the season on track. A bright opening salvo kept optimism alive, but, for the rest of the encounter, apart from intermittent sparks of defiance, the men from the North East were in the ascendancy. The RBG struggled to contain the visitors’ power game, failed to gain any concerted spells of possession and spent a large percentage of the time on their defensive heels. While initially the tackling was good, it failed to stop the gain line being breached, and, as a result, the Aberdonians were constantly on the front foot; such pressure inevitably leads to gaps in the defensive wall. SM will be disappointed with the missed tackles and difficulty in disrupting or turning-over the opposition at the break-down, but, more optimistically, when the ball was gained and continuity achieved, four excellent tries were scored to gain a bonus point. This might be crucial deeper into the season (lost 25-67). As a final comment, thanks to the ballboys, James Healy, Ciaran Geddes, Josh Penny, Calum Jessop, Hugo Welsh and Thomas Fallon. You did a great job.

The Senior 2nd XV did not have a match last Saturday but the previous week saw them, albeit very narrowly, also coming unstuck against Musselburgh (lost 14-17). Unfortunately, Andrew Manson suffered another head knock and, subsequently through medical protocol, will not be available for the remainder of the season. Concussion and injury have not been friends to the club this season!

Both Senior teams travel to Dundee this Saturday and “Sesh”, his fellow coaches and the players will be working hard to put things right and get those wins which will, hopefully, turn the season around. Be assured everybody is working hard and there is no lack of effort. A strong Stew Mel presence on the touchline would be much appreciated by all.

The Mighty 3’s lifted the disappointment somewhat with two stirring victories against Lismore/Portobello and Peebles (see Lawrance’s report on the website) although suitably qualified front-rowers remain a problem. They are due to travel to Penicuik on Saturday. Let’s hope the players can get over their fear of crossing the city boundary and that a strong team is fielded!

The Lions held a highly successful Festival of Rugby (Sunday 1st October) and the P7 team won their tournament, beating Stirling County in an exciting final. Incidentally, this is the last time they can play in this competition as they move on to the Stew Mel Academy next season.

All other age groups played “festival” rugby with every P3 player (of all clubs) receiving a medal after participating in their first tournament experience! Stewart’s Melville Senior Club President, Bill McNie, reported spying a certain Murray McColl (son of former Director of Rugby, Malcolm) playing and commented, “Like his Dad before him, he seems to fancy himself as a bit of a winger, as he seemed to spend a lot of his time over there in splendid isolation, waiting for the killer pass!”

On Wednesday (4th October), the Stew Mel Academy Under 14’s played the BAT’s under the training lights at Inverleith. In terrible conditions they still managed to play expansive rugby and produced a solid win against determined opponents.

Not to be outdone, the U16’s are to play perennial rivals, Stirling County, tomorrow night, also at Inverleith with a 7 pm kick off.

The College 1st XV met Dollar Academy (a repeat of last year’s Cup final) on Saturday 30th September in the Conference. Also at stake was the Grant MacKenzie trophy which is played for on a yearly basis in memory of Grant who was a Dollar Academical, a much-loved teacher at Stewart’s Melville and a highly respected former coach of the Club. Whilst never reaching their top form, the RBG retained the trophy with a narrow 23-21 victory, recovering from 13-0 down. Last Saturday, they played Glasgow Academy at Inverleith, and, while winning comfortably (35-5), coaches Bryn Lockie and Jimmy Moran will be demanding a much more controlled and thoughtful performance when they meet Preston Lodge High School in the Cup tomorrow night (10th October). A 5 pm kick off at Pennypit Park, Prestonpans if you are interested! The East Lothian side are a very strong outfit and will be a severe test in the pursuit of retaining the Cup.

The College U16 side, under the tutelage of Hayden Lingard, have so far played Boroughmuir (29-7) and Loretto (62-17) and now face a tricky trip to Fettes in the next round.

It would be great to have a large support at Dundee (Mayfield) on Saturday!

Phil Waine

1st XV vs Aberdeen Grammar match photos c/o 39 Design Photography

Match Report: 3XV v Peebles A Saturday 7 October

Stewarts Melville 3s  51  Peebles 2s  35    Inverleith      7/10/2017
It was great entertainment at Inverleith on Saturday with fourteen tries scored between two evenly matched teams.
With each game more and more of the boys are becoming regulars and it’s noticeable that a certain style is evolving which is pleasing on the eye. Basically the team is taking shape- sorry Fin.
Two early tries from Borthwick and McLaren had the home team in early control. Richard has a touch of class at 10 and it was good to see Stewart McLaren play his first game in ages. Stewart is a fine all round sportsman, one of the best golfers in the Lothians and I can remember him scoring game a match winning 40 for the school cricket 1st X1 down at  Loretto a few years ago.
Nearing half time and the Mighty 3s now 26-7 ahead and everything going as planned the great Cesar Luis Menotti even rated a mention from the home touchline. For you younger   readers Cesar coached an average Argentine football team to World Cup glory in 1978. He did have a certain Diego Maradona in his ranks however.
The famous coaches curse struck at this point when Peebles scored 14 points in a couple of minutes to get back in the game only 26-21 down.
The 2nd half was perhaps even better than the 1st and when they scored their 5th try the visitors actually took the lead. They converted each try, 2 from wide out and had a couple of very dangerous runners in their back division.
The game was now so open which I think suited our keep the ball alive running style and Willie Malcolm, Calum Mac Donald and Calum Hanratty caused havoc with their direct running. Hanratty had an outstanding game with 2 tries and an outstanding take from a kick off which set up another touchdown.
Oh and perhaps I had better mention that Peebles lost their best player around the hour mark with a hamstring injury.
Charlie Simmons made his debut for the 3s in the 2nd half at scrum half and made quite a difference with his quickfire flat passing. He has I think played at a decent level down south and could I feel progress up the teams.
A 16 point win was pretty accurate and hopefully all the boys enjoyed the match, it was certainly great to watch and full marks to the ref who let the game flow and conversed with all the players in a pleasant manner.
Lawrance Reilly

Your Team to Play Aberdeen Grammar RFC : Saturday 7 October

Stewart’s Melville RFC
Sponsored By

15 Sean Murchie
Graham + Sibbald
14 Jack Somerville
13 Euan Morrison
12 Murray Hanning
11 James Ferguson
Haldane UK
10 Euan Bowen
9 Gregor Porteous
1 Cameron Taylor
Bill Johnstone
2 Ruaridh Mitchell
3 Angus Wallace
4 Gareth Henderson
Malcolm Henderson Joiner
5 Jamie Sword
DJ Alexander

6 David Stoddart
Dreadnought Leith
7 Lewis Scott
Rob Mac
8 Duncan Wood (captain)
Breadalbane Finance


16 Craig Willis
Bill Johnstone
17 Tom Petiau
18 Ruaridh Stewart
19 Tom Croy
20 Cameron MacDonald

1st XV Match Report vs Musselburgh

In many respects, this season’s trip to Stoneyhill was a mirror image of last season’s. A good start, an indifferent middle and an excellent end that saw us score a couple of decent tries and threaten to nick the game from under our hosts’ noses.

The opening ten minutes saw us dominating possession and very much on the front foot in the Musselburgh 22. Happy came close to scoring after he broke through the centre, but was ultimately held up near the line; a subsequent attack saw Cammy Taylor dropping the ball as he stretched towards the line to dot it down after a succession of pick-and-go’s by our pack. In both cases, it could be argued, it would have been simpler – and, possibly, more productive – to recycle the ball and change the point of attack, rather than launching a solo attack on the Musselburgh line.

The men in blue started to regain their composure after that opening flurry, asking questions of our defence through aggressive forward play, clever offloads and sensible tactical kicking. We defended pretty well, but, ultimately, were unable to keep Musselburgh out, with our former player John Coutts (playing 13 today) crossing for the try after the home backs had spun the ball from right to left. Our calls for a possible forward pass in the lead up to the try fell on deaf ears, and stand off Pritchard’s tidy conversion from wide out made it 7-0 to our hosts.

We responded well, nearly scoring directly from the restart after Doc’s deep drop out sent the ball over the entire Musselburgh team and rolling towards the try line. Jack Somerville, in hot pursuit, claimed the touch down, but the ‘score’ was unfortunately ruled out for crossing by ref Neil Muir.

Mistakes began to creep into our play at this stage, possibly due to the players trying to force their way back into the game rather than working through the phases and playing to their skills. We were also struggling to make much headway against the muscular Musselburgh pack in the set piece.

Musselburgh had a chance to increase their lead on the half hour mark when they were awarded a penalty in front of the posts near the half way line, but Pritchard’s kick fell just short.

We conceded a second try just before half time after Musselburgh forced a series of scrums down by the clubhouse-side corner flag at the sea end of the ground. Our pack held firm but the ball eventually squirted out of the scrum on the blindside, allowing rookie ‘Burgh scrum half Kennedy to burst in for the score. It initially looked like our back row should have been more alive to the threat of a blind side move, but, to be fair, they were rather busy preventing a pushover try at the time.

The missed conversion made the score 12-0 to Musselburgh at half time, although we’d had to defend smartly in the lead up to the break as the men in blue continued to attack our line.

Given that our play had been beset with handling errors and missed tackles during the opening 40, the rain that started to fall during the interval wasn’t exactly ideal – the last thing we needed was a slippery ball and even more slippery Musselburgh attackers!

Those attackers resumed where they had left off after the interval, taking the game into our 22 at the Esk end. We defended competently, but, as with the first try, simply ran out of chances to force a turnover or a handling error. Flanker Graham eventually crossed for the score, Pritchard’s simple conversion making it 19-0 to our hosts after 50 minutes.

It was at this point that thoughts began to turn to the rather daunting prospect of us going two full matches without scoring a point, as those opening ten minutes when we were in the ascendancy now seemed a long time ago.

To our players’ credit, though, they started to claw their way back into the game, making the most of some tactical changes by the Musselburgh coaches that, if anything, only served to unsettle the home team. We’d also made a number of changes, Gus Wallace replacing Craig Willis in the front row, Lewis Scott replacing the crocked Adam Howie in the back row and James Ferguson replacing Nathan Ross on the wing after Murray Hanning came into the centre.

While we were still making a fair number of errors, we gradually started to gain the lion’s share of possession, with Murch and Jack Somerville putting pace on the ball and asking questions of the Musselburgh defence out wide. It was, however, through the centre that we eventually scored, with a quick tap penalty allowing Scott Docherty to waltz past the Musselburgh half backs as he’d done at Cartha a fortnight before. His easy conversion made the score 19-7 with 65 minutes gone.

We continued to push for points, another rapid attack down the left hand touchline a couple of minutes later seeing Jack coming very close to the try line before the defenders got hold of him.

We weren’t to be repulsed 10 minutes after that, though, another fine midfield break by Murchie allowing us to spin the ball along the back line. Excellent communication and precise handling saw James Ferguson dot down in the same corner that Kennedy had scored in earlier. Doc’s fine conversion made the score 19-14 with maybe ten minutes to play.

Euan Bowen replaced Doc shortly after the try, and duly pulled the strings as we attempted to sneak the game at the death. Musselburgh regrouped, however, and very sensibly ran down the clock by keeping the ball among their forwards. We desperately tried to force the turnover that would allow us to launch one last attack for the win, but, ultimately, had to settle for the losing bonus.

Another frustrating afternoon on the touchlines, then, the way we played for 20 minutes of the game making our lacklustre performance during the other 60 minutes all the more inexplicable. At least our players came away from Stoneyhill knowing that, when they do hit their stride, they are capable of playing rugby worthy of the top end of the table. You get the feeling that they just need one victory – whether deserved or ‘flukey’ – to validate the way they have been playing, as it must be difficult to stick to a game plan when that game plan has yet to net you a league win.

We also looked the fitter team at Stoneyhill – you get the distinct impression that we’d have sneaked the win if our fightback had lasted even five minutes longer.

We go again at Inverleith this Saturday, with Aberdeen Grammar the visitors. The men from Rubislaw have played well at home so far, defeating Kelso and GHA there, but have yet to win an away game. With their patchy away form and our ever-decreasing injury list, it should be a cracking game as we attempt to send our visitors back to the Granite City with their tails between their legs and the league points receding in the rear view mirror.

Bill McNie

Rugby Camps at Inverleith this October

Stewart’s Melville RFC is pleased to announce another fantastic Rugby camp this October

Kicking & Catching Master Class – Specialist skills – Games – Guest Coaches – Speed & Agility – Key National Themes – Unit Work – Analysis

Dates: – 23 – 26 October 2017

Details: – Registration from 9am
Camp times:
(P1 & P2). 9.30am –  3pm
(P3 – S2)  9.30am –  3pm

Venue: – Stewarts Melville Rugby ground, Inverleith

Please download the form here Stewart’s Melville October Community Camp Application


Cheques payable to ESMGC or direct transfer referencing your name and Camp date.

A/c details: Ravelston Sports Club, 83-06-08, 10337588

For further information about the camp, please contact Bruce Ruthven

07780 467 309 or e-mail:

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