Match Report vs Glasgow Accies | Saturday 15th September 2018

As Ziggy once said regarding some ch-ch-ch-changes, ‘I watch the ripples change their size but never leave the stream’. Whilst this may sound a bit Eric Cantona-ish (i.e. make no sense), the point is that, when changes are made, the fundamentals remain.

I was pleased to see Happy back, making his first appearance for the 1st XV this season and forming a solid combination in the midfield with Struan Allan, who also was making his first start. Jack Somerville was in on the left wing for the injured James Ferguson. I understand James, being the athlete he is, has tweaked his hammy. Ice and rest and hopefully he will be back soon. My previous reference to Dave Hampton’s versatility saw him moving to full back while the Border terrier, Fraser Strachan, started at 9. The forwards were largely unchanged with the exception of Matt Sanderson coming into the second row in the absence of the injured Momo and Willie Malcolm moving to number 6.

Our team on paper, including the bench, looked very strong, an indication of the fact that we do have strength in depth and that there is competition for places. My ‘mole’ in the Glasgow Accies camp informs me that they, too, have had a number of injuries, and, along with availability, this would seem to be the curse of amateur (and, to a degree, professional) rugby. The ‘mole’ referred to is my brother-in-law, Rory Duff, son of the former Scotland international and British & Irish Lion, Laurie Duff.

Rory, like his Dad was, is a Glasgow Academical stalwart who previously packed down with John Beattie way back when. Regrettably he couldn’t make it on Saturday due to the possibility of succumbing to a nose bleed if travelling east on the M8. He does, however, ensure me that he will make the return fixture. He did also have a reasonable excuse, the Davis Cup at the Emirates. To be fair, he did call to wish both teams best of luck and hoped it would be a draw. Ever the family diplomat – that certainly wasn’t what I was hoping for!

Accies currently sat bottom of the league, although not far from us, and had lost their first two games. Along with how good a team looks on paper, this is irrelevant at such an early stage of the season. What is relevant is how the teams perform on the pitch.

Good conditions prevailed, with thankfully no backlash from Hurricane Florence. With a healthy number of away supporters, including a well known BBC Scotland broadcaster, Accies kicked off towards the Ferry Road end. After various attempts by both teams to clear their lines or gain territory, and with Stew Mel conceding a number of penalties, the game was temporarily stopped due to the first casualty, the Accies number 9, with only 5 minutes having been played.

Proceedings soon resumed and the first scrum was good from both packs; whilst the ball was quickly moved wide by Accies, some good defence and an excellent turnover by Ruaridh Mitchell enabled Stew Mel to clear their lines once more. Unfortunately a knock-on at the lineout gifted Accies another scrum and a good break by their number 6, PJ Rankin, ended with his centre Scott Simmons scoring the opening try with only 13 minutes gone. Stew Mel 0 Accies 5.

After a period of kicking with either little or no effect, Accies were again on the attack, but were penalised for crossing as they were almost in for another – which they were shortly thereafter courtesy of the agile Cammy Wray. 20 minutes played, Stew Mel 0 Accies 10. At this point Accies probably had at least 70 percent of possession, with Stew Mel struggling to get their hands on the ball. I am sure they felt they could have been further ahead notwithstanding the two missed conversions.

Stew Mel suddenly seemed to ease their way back into the game, though, with some good forward play, and, most importantly, retained possession for significant periods. Another forceful drive by Thor was followed by a powerful run by Struan Allan, who nearly got over the line but was, regrettably, both penalised and injured in the process. He was replaced by Jamie McGurk. Some suggested, tongue in cheek, that this had been a tactical substitution, as, within minutes, Jamie came flying out of the blocks and danced his way through the Accies defence to score a superb try converted by Happy. Stew Mel 7 Accies 10, 25 minutes played.

This came at a crucial stage of the game as Stew Mel, after another period of aimless kicking, managed to start putting phases together and to attack with effect. Another substitution saw Connor McKay coming off the bench, and what an impact he made, both in the set piece and around the park. Props are not supposed to field high balls or be able to pass off each side – but he did, which ultimately lead to some good hands out wide that allowed Sean Murchie to cross the line and open his account for the afternoon. Again the conversion was successful by Happy. 35 minutes played, Stew Mel 14 Accies 10.

A similar pattern of play ensued and it was becoming clear at this point that Stew Mel were definitely in the ascendancy, with some penetrating runs from Jamie once more and good ball carrying by Thor, Willie Malcolm and Matt Sanderson in particular. Half time Stew Mel 14 Accies 10.

Was this going to be a game of two halves? Right from the start and against the run of play, Accies broke out of their own 22 and scored in the corner, substitute Callum Duke taking the credit. Stew Mel 14 Accies 15, with only 5 minutes gone in the second half.

Another Stew Mel substitution due to injuries saw Dave Hampton moving to blindside flanker with the full back berth being filled by scrum half Charlie Simmonds. The Accies forwards were now competing well in both the set piece and loose play, with their number 8 Ryan Sweeney particularly prominent. After a spell of defending their line, Stew Mel managed to clear and a long kick by Jack Calder saw the ball bobble over at the halfway line which certainly gave us a breather.

Although momentarily losing possession, Fraser Strachan was in there again with a crucial turnover, and, after some good hands through the backs, a pass from Jack Calder gave ‘Moses’ Murchie the opportunity, as the Accies defence parted like the Red Sea, to touch down between the posts. Happy converted once again – he certainly had his kicking boot on today! 60 minutes played, Stew Mel 21 Accies 15.

At this stage Stew Mel were on top. After Happy made more progress, a big drive by Ruaridh Mitchell, allied with the exceptional quick feet and side stepping of Doug Randall, put the versatile Dave in for another try, again converted by Happy. Stew Mel 28 Accies 15 – 65 minutes played.

The dominance was now clear to see, good scrummaging and a combination of quick hands and feet this time seeing Fraser cross for a well deserved try. 70 minutes played, Stew Mel 35 Accies 15. By now it seemed inevitable that there would be more tries to come, and, around the 75 minute mark, Sean was again given the space he needed to touch down once more. Stew Mel 40 Accies 15.

The last 5 minutes were very one sided, like the previous 20, with the full time score Stew Mel 40 Accies 15 and a bonus point win.

What a difference a week makes – but, as I said after the Biggar game, there were positives to be taken from last week’s defeat, and this was clearly on show at Inverleith. It was an exciting game and I think it would be difficult to argue that the better team eventually won. We have been in very similar situations to Accies and the last 20 minutes of the game mirrored some of the defeats we experienced last season. Stew Mel really performed well in the second half, particularly, when it was evident that their game plan was coming together. It was also reassuring to see our fitness levels surpassing those of our opponents.

I am somewhat surprised at Accies’ position in the league, although, as I have said, it is early days and they will definitely improve as the season progresses. They have a very strong pack and they have some exciting – albeit young – players in the back line. They may have had a challenging start but watch this space.

Once again it was great to have that Fingood factor in the clubhouse afterwards – despite the fact there was no free admission or free beer this week!

Kevin Murchie

Gen!us Brewing home Man Of The Match: Fraser Strachan

Match photo c/o Fred Palmer / 39 Design Photography

Weekend Recap from Chairman Fin

Make no mistake – good things are happening down Inverleith way these days!

In the absence of our President, who was on a much deserved holiday on Arran, and Lawrance John Reilly, who felt Easter Road should get at least some of his attention to justify his season ticket, I have stepped in to reflect on what was a quite magnificent weekend for the Rugby Club.

It’s not often we are afforded the luxury of reporting on three wins … yes, three wins!

But perhaps the highlight, though, happened out at Tranent, where, under the watchful eye of brother Jim, we saw the first official outing of the re-branded Ferry Road Wanderers, who notched up a solid victory against Ross High 2nds. The final result is of no importance. What was far more relevant was that twenty-one lads headed down to East Lothian, and, with the home side short of players, three of our older ‘lads’, namely Richie Munro, Callum Hanratty and Paul Sulliven (Sully) all played for the hosts.

Without a referee, too, Luke and Jamie from Heriot’s shared the task evenly and allowed everyone a game. This is what amateur rugby is all about.

What was also so important was that both sides respected each other, allowing a fantastic game to unfold and the concept of the Ferry Road Wanderers to be solidified. Particularly pleasing, too, was that every player, barring son David (AKA Louis Picamoles), was under the age of 30 years old. But the kid who caught the eye, by all accounts, through a mixture of schooling but mostly genetics, was Cameron Lineen, son of Sean Raymond Patrick Lineen, no less!

Cameron’s stay in the Ferry Road team will be short lived for he just oozes class.

Back at Inverleith, looking at its most magnificent, the 1sts and 2nds both recorded solid victories against Glasgow Accies and Musselburgh 2nds, respectively.

Both games were played in great spirit, too, and both matches served some superb handling skills … some sublime rugby! We have a number of players in the 2nds ready to step up, namely Adam Greig, Patrick Ritchie and Ruaridh Stewart, who were particularly abrasive. Chaps – this is not really the Stew Mel way!

With two fit squads we have competition for places at last … it’s brilliant, for, as we all know, momentum is everything and I urge you all to continue to support the Club, whether that be on the field, off the field, at lunches –  whatever!

Lastly, spare a thought for Adam Howie, our Club Captain and former pupil of the Glasgow Academy, who, despite his mixed loyalties, I sensed was a very happy man last night.

Good things are happening down Inverleith way …

Chairman Fin

Match photo c/o Fred Palmer / 39 Design Photography

Next Match | 22 September | v Lasswade RFC @ Lasswade

This Saturday our 1st XV are away to Lasswade – kick off is 3 pm.

The Ferry Road Wanderers play at Inverleith against Caledonian Thebans – kick off 3 pm.

We are hoping to arrange a friendly fixture for the 2nd XV, who have a bye week in the league.

Lindsey Geddes

Team v Glasgow Academicals | Saturday 15 September | Kick off 3pm

Stewart’s Melville RFC
Player Sponsored By

15 Dave Hampton
Connor Malcolm
14 Sean Murchie
Graham + Sibbald
13 Euan Morrison
Tcam Asset Management
12 Struan Allan
Struan Samson
11 Jack Somerville
Bright Future Debt Advice
10 Jack Calder
Glencairn Properties
9 Fraser Strachan
Jamie Frost
1 Chris Baikie
Dreadnought Leith
2 Kyle Marshall
Findlay & Marshall Ltd
3 Ruaridh Mitchell
Craneware
4 Matt Sanderson
Cello Signal
5 Alex Rappestad
Euan Simpson
6 Willie Malcolm
Parker Pest Control
7 Alex Wainwright
Keith Dobson
8 Nick Winton
P. Mooney

Replacements
16 Connor McKay
Parkthorn Gates
17 Doug Randall
Barbershop Edinburgh
18 Jamie McGurk
Tcam Asset Management
19 Charlie Simmonds
Team Honey Badger 7s

Head Coach Nick McCashin
Team Manager Andrew Manson

 

Picture courtesy of 39 Design Photography

2nd XV Team to play Musselburgh RFC | Saturday 15 September @ Inverleith

Stewart’s Melville 2nd XV v Musselburgh RFC 2nd XV
Saturday 15 September : Inverleith : Kick off 3pm

Player
Sponsor

1.Oli Williamson
Calder Family
2. Ed Kelman
Stuart & Stuart
3. Tom Petiau
Jamie & Rosie Bruce
5. Ally Scott
IntelliDigest Ltd
4. Jamie Sword
Gav Maclean
6. Dave Allan
Bill McNie
7. Dylan Russell
Cambridge Bar
8. Ru Stewart
Prostate Scotland
9. Patrick Ritchie
Allan Munro
10. Murray Hanning
ReSurge Africa
11. Stewart Hagart
I. Simpson Agriculture Ltd
12. Will Corbett
Tosh Park
13. Seb Trotter
Trotter Family Bakery
14. Adam Greig
Prostate Scotland
15. Euan Bowen
Calder Family
16. Francis Fraser
Fraser Porter
17. Gareth Henderson
M Henderson Joinery
19. Joe Bailey
Scott Dickson
20. Chaz Champbell
Calder Family

 

Match Report v Biggar RFC Saturday 8 September 2018

KICK-OFF 3PM

A number of changes from last Saturday, with Tom Petiau and Ruaridh Mitchell in the front row, Momo slotting into the boilerhouse with Alex, a familiar looking back row, Freddie Roddick at 10 and the versatile Dave Hampton at 13.

Good conditions prevailed with a bit of a breeze behind us as we kicked off deep into Biggar territory. After a frantic period of play, in and out of both halves, with lineouts won and lost, play was temporarily stopped 5 minutes in as Momo was down following an accidental collision after a tackle. He was soon up on his feet, bloodied but smiling, and managed to jog off the pitch to be replaced by Willie Malcolm. The game resumed.

1st XV v Biggar RFC | Saturday 8 November | Kick off 3pm

Your team to play Biggar RFC is as follows:

1. Tom Petiau
Jamie & Rose Bruce
2. Ruaridh Mitchell
Kenny Greig
3. Chris Baikie
Dreadnought Leith
4. Fraser Morrison ©
Hamilton Waste
5. Alex Rappestad
Euan Simpson
6. Nick Winton
Available to sponsor

7. Alex Wainwright
Keith Dobson
8. Duncan Wood
Breadalbane Finance
9. Cameron Leask
Ian Forsyth
10. Freddie Roddick
Available to sponsor
11. James Ferguson
Haldane UK Ltd
12. Will Corbett
Available to sponsor
13. Dave Hampton
Available to sponsor
14. Sean Murchie
Graham + Sibbald
15. Seb Trotter
Trotter Family Bakery
16. Gavin Macgregor
Available to sponsor

17. Willie Malcolm
Parker Pest Control
18. Fraser Strachan
Jamie Frost

Bus to Biggar (Hartreemill) is 12.15 meet for 12.30 leave.

2nd XV v Biggar RFC | @ Saturday 8 September | Kick off 3pm

15 Chris Beattie
14 Kyle Dixon
13 Jamie McGurk
12 Euan Morrison
11 Jack Somerville
10 Murray Hanning
9 Charlie Simmonds
1 Oliver Williamson
2 Ed Kelman
3 Stephen Spowart
4 Jamie Sword
5 Gareth Henderson
6 Ben Black
7 Dylan Russell
8 Denis Pech

SUBSTITUTES/REPLACEMENTS
16 Jack Calder
17 Patrick Ritchie
18 Stewart Hagart

Match Report vs Whitecraigs RFC | Saturday 1st September 2018

The league campaign has kicked off! The team taking the pitch was more or less similar to last Saturday’s, with the exception of Alex Wainwright coming in at 7 for Nick Winton, Murray Hanning at stand off instead of Jack Calder and positional changes in the back three, James Ferguson reverting to his familiar wing berth and Seb Trotter at full back.

Whitecraigs are a bit of an unknown quantity in this league, although, having been there once, their pitch has a similar feel to our own, being large and conducive to open rugby – although that is where the similarity ends! Inverleith is without question one of the finest pitches in Scotland – if not the finest – so, with that in mind and reasonable weather conditions, there was certainly an anticipation of a competitive game and a positive start to the league campaign.

The match report was, of course, not made any easier by the fact that there were two Murchies on the park, albeit unfortunately/fortunately on opposite sides. I was more concerned about texting in the score and scorers at the end of the game with, hopefully, only an ‘S’ preceding the surname!

A perfect day and perfect pitch, then – although a bit blowy on the east side. Whitecraigs kicked off towards Ferry Road; the kick was well taken by Stew Mel, who drove up the centre of the pitch, however the ensuing pass out wide was adjudged to have been forward. This led to the first scrum of the afternoon; Whitecraigs put in and Stew Mel were penalised, although the resulting line out was lost by the visitors. More Stew Mel pressure unfortunately only resulted in us conceding another penalty within easy kicking distance. 3 points duly came the visitors’ way with only 5 minutes played.

After the restart Whitecraigs moved the ball well down the left side, and, after some frantic passing, still managed to keep possession – although Stew Mel soon turned the tables and cleared their lines. Good defending and a strong run from James up to the halfway line ended with a penalty within the Whitecraigs 22. After a successful lineout the Stew Mel pack drove forward and over the line but were adjudged to have been held up. The resulting scrum 5 ended with Duncan Wood making a classic Number 8 pick up and offloading to Momo for a try converted by Cameron Leask. Stew Mel 7 Whitecraigs 3, 10 minutes played.

Whitecraigs restarted and a good take and drive from Alex Rappestad saw us making further territory through Jamie McGurk. We then, unfortunately, lost the ball in the tackle, with another penalty being awarded to Whitecraigs, 22 metres out. Cue another 3 points courtesy of the boot of Stephen Gillies. Stew Mel 7 Whitecraigs 6 with around 20 minutes on the clock.

At this stage of the game, the pattern of play was ebbing and flowing between the two areas of the field, mainly on both sides of the halfway line, although Stew Mel were managing to keep possession for significant periods, and, again, after some good forward play, Thor managed to drive over to score, the conversion being unsuccessful. After 30 minutes played, Stew Mel 12 Whitecraigs 6.

At the restart, again Stew Mel collected well and a combination of Thor, Momo and Matt Sanderson took the ball deep into Whitecraigs territory. Both teams were, however, conceding penalties at this stage for what appeared to be infringements in the scrum and offside. This continued for the remainder of the first half, with some good phases between the forwards and backs developing on both sides, although Whitecraigs appeared to be running out of ideas and were relying more on their forwards rather than moving the ball wide to their wings. My prediction at this stage was that, if they did, their number 11 Adekhe appeared capable of causing some damage!

Half Time Stew Mel 12 Whitecraigs 6.

Some changes early in the second half saw Fraser Strachan come in at 9 and further positional shifting around, with Seb at 10 and Cameron covering at full back. Whitecraigs started well and retained possession, enabling them to get their back line mobilised. Their full back then scored a well worked try to give Whitecraigs the lead for the second time. Stew Mel 12 Whitecraigs 13 with around 50 minutes played.

Things were getting a bit tense at this stage, although I felt that Stew Mel were beginning to show a bit of dominance, and some good hands from both Jamie and James found S Murchie on the right. Sean still had a bit of work to do before eventually touching down between the posts, the successful conversion by Cameron making the score Stew Mel 19 Whitecraigs 13.

It wasn’t long before Duncan added another try, bringing the score to Stew Mel 24 Whitecraigs 13 with approximately 20 minutes left to play. Was this a comfortable margin? Some may have thought that – until my prediction became a reality as the Whitecraigs number 11 received the ball and powered his way over the line out wide. The conversion bounced back off the posts to make the score Stew Mel 24 Whitecraigs 18 with 65 minutes played.

This was now too close for comfort, with both teams receiving yellow cards, but you have to have confidence on what was becoming Stew Mel’s afternoon, more pressure leading to a kickable penalty which gave us that cushion as time was on our side. Whitecraigs continued to fight back, and, to their credit, managed to put themselves in a position where they opted to take the 3 points rather than risk not getting that losing bonus point.

Final score Stew Mel 27 Whitecraigs 21.

A good result – four tries and a bonus point – although it has to be said we were not at our best. To call it winning ugly would be too harsh, but we were, at times, desperate to perform – which is commendable, but can lead to mistakes.

The forwards are gelling well as a unit; the front three are solid in the set piece and mobile around the park, Connor McKay being the epitome of a modern day Prop. The second row of Thor and Matt are good ball carriers but their athleticism is also evident. The back row speak for themselves: Momo the leader, the 30 years young Duncan popping up everywhere and new recruit Alex Wainwright a chip off the old block!

Behind the scrum we have some excellent players, ‘Work In Progress’ perhaps the best description as they settle into their positions. There is a good combination in midfield with Jamie and Will, an attacking back three who can also defend (the kicking will come) and the options at half back are all positive. That partnership will ultimately settle. There is strength in depth and healthy competition for places which is a great position to be in with some key players still to return.

I felt, on balance, that Stew Mel were probably the stronger side and deserved the win – although it would also be fair to say that Whitecraigs were always in the game and scored two good tries, possibly ‘assisted’ by some uncharacteristically poor Stew Mel defence – but I guess that’s how many tries are scored!

Inverleith was buzzing after the match and supporter numbers were good. Was this due to the free entry, the free beer or just down to what I would refer to as the Fingood Factor? I think the latter.

A short trip beckons on Saturday to the market town of Biggar. Make no mistake, this will be a tough game, and this is going to be a tough league. Biggar also won their first game, away to Dumfries, so will be relishing their first home game with, no doubt, a good home support.

Reflecting on our game as I was driving through the south of Ireland on Sunday, I was conscious of the buzz that surrounded the All Ireland final between Dublin and Tyrone, Dublin picking up the silverware for the fourth consecutive time. Every pundit I listened to was of a similar opinion as to why they have been so successful, trotting out the old clichés of retaining possession and adhering to their game plan. I am no expert on Gaelic Football, but, if it works for them – it will work for us!

See you at Hartreemill on Saturday.

Kevin Murchie (reporting from Munster, home of rugby, ROI)

Match photo care of Fred Palmer / 39 Design Photography

Stewart’s Melville RFC Annual Ball | 9 November @ Prestonfield House Hotel

Book tickets by emailing either Lindsey Geddes or Simon Breeze

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