Match Report v Highland RFC | Saturday 27th April

Saturday eventually witnessed the end of the season, and, due to Inverleith being transformed for ‘Summer sports’, Raeburn Place was the venue for the finale, which, although not what it could have been, was played out in the great spirit of rugby football.

The usual suspects took to the field together with a few notable changes – but, thankfully, all players were in their familiar positions, despite, I understand, Jamie Sword putting in a good shift at number 10 in Belfast, along with Momo at 9, number 14 at number 8 and Fraser Strachan ‘position-less’ and administering refreshments — ‘water boy’ would, perhaps, be a euphemism!

Stew Mel started proceedings and, I would say, probably played some of their best rugby this season for at least 30 minutes. With 5 minutes on the clock, Chris Baikie was over for the first try of the afternoon and Freddie soon afterwards danced his way through the Highland defence to make it Stew Mel 12 Highland 0 with about 20 minutes played, Euan being successful with one of the conversions.

Complete dominance in the early stages by Stew Mel was pleasing to see, as Highland struggled to get hold of the ball, but, once they did, they engineered an unconverted try. The Stew Mel response was immediate, this time courtesy of Momo, making the score Stew Mel 17 Highland 5 with around 25 minutes played. After a period of end to end play, Highland managed to get a second try, this time converted, bringing their tally to 12. Although Stew Mel had only conceded one penalty so far in the game, a yellow card was produced at this stage to give Highland a man advantage. They exploited this well, the half time score being Stew Mel 17 Highland 19.

The second half was soon underway, and, although Highland were gaining more possession, a kick and chase and a favourable bounce of the ball saw Sean Murchie touch down between the posts; Euan added the extras. Stew Mel were in the lead once more with 45 minutes played – Stew Mel 24 Highland 19. That was, unfortunately, the last time we enjoyed being in front, with Highland scoring a couple of tries in quick succession despite losing a man to the bin. This made the score Stew Mel 24 Highland 31 with approximately 60 minutes played.

Stew Mel hit back again, Ruaridh Mitchell scoring this time to make the score Stew Mel 29 Highland 31. Highland weren’t done, though, notching a couple of tries in the last quarter to make the final score Stew Mel 29 Highland 45.

This certainly was an entertaining afternoon of rugby, with the play, for the most part, fast paced and competitive from both sides. Whilst we put in a great team effort, there were, as always, a number of stand outs. The back three defended and attacked well, with Chris Beattie impressing on the left wing. Happy’s moniker should probably have been ‘Hungry’ for the afternoon as he was clearly up for it, breaking the gain line and winning back possession like a back rower. The half backs were slick and varied the tactics well, while the forwards as a unit were effective in both the set piece and in open play. Matt Sanderson, in particular, once again illustrated why he received the Most Improved Player award at the recent Club Dinner, while it was good to see Ruaridh Stewart back in the frame once again. Joe Bailey clearly enjoyed the intensity at number 2!

Well done to Highland on their promotion – l am sure we will meet again soon! On reflection, Stewart’s Melville have also had a successful season, and, although missing out, will now have time to consolidate and work towards season 2019/20. Their performance on Saturday showed a lot of positivity, and, if we can keep (and add to) the squad we have, avoid injuries and maintain a high degree of consistency and commitment, 2019/20 should be even better.

Time to hang up my pen/paper/Dictaphone and short-term memory for the season. Have a good Summer recess.

Kevin Murchie

1st XV v Highland RFC | Saturday 27 April @ Raeburn Place | Kick off 3pm

Saturday 27th April 2019: Kick off 3 pm
Stewart’s Melville RFC Player Sponsored By
15 Freddie Roddick
Glencairn Properties
14 Sean Murchie
Graham + Sibbald
13 Seb Trotter
Calder Family
12 Euan Morrison
The Wee Restaurant
11 Chris Beattie
John MacColl
10 Euan Bowen
Calder Family
9 Fraser Strachan
Jamie Frost
1 Chris Baikie
Dreadnought Leith
2 Joe Bailey
Scott Dickson
3 Ruaridh Mitchell
Craneware
4 Jamie Sword
Gav Maclean
5 Fraser Morrison (C)
Hamilton Waste
6 Willie Malcolm
Parker Pest Control
7 Matt Sanderson
Cello Signal
8 Ruaridh Stewart
Prostate Scotland
Replacements
16 David Calder
Calder Family
17 Ally Scott
IntelliDigest Ltd
18 Craig Lamb
Calder Family

Awards Dinner 2019 | Winners

The stage was set at Inverleith on Friday for our 2019 Annual Awards dinner when players, club members and supporters came together to celebrate a successful season and to honour those who had performed well and shone throughout the year.

Our award winners are as follows:

  • 3rd XV Player of The Year: Alex Beveridge
  • 2nd XV Player of The Year: Stephen Spowart
  • Top Points Scorer: Sean Murchie
  • Top Try Scorer: Sean Murchie
  • Players’ Player of The Year: Freddie Roddick
  • Most Improved Player: Matt Sanderson
  • Clubman of the Year: Graham Inglis

Bill McNie

Match Report v Falkirk RFC | Saturday 30th March

At the risk of getting carried away with meteorological conditions, I have to say that it was a beautiful day at Invers – how good it would be if that was the norm!

There were a few changes in the squad, particularly in the back line, due to injuries and unavailability. Kyle Dixon moved into the number 13 position to accommodate Adam Greig’s return to the left wing, Freddie Roddick took up the number 12 berth to complete the midfield and Matthew Watson started in his familiar position at 15.

In the forwards the only significant change was Cormac McCracken coming in at number 7. The bench was also strong and it wasn’t long before Willie Malcolm was called up after Ruaridh Stewart unfortunately appeared to succumb to an injury during the warm up.

Falkirk kicked off in the Ferry Road direction, the first scrum of the afternoon coming with barely a minute played. There was a good drive from the Stew Mel forwards but, unfortunately, this was deemed rather over eager play for this stage of the game; this resulted in a further scrum that led to Falkirk possession around the half way line. They kicked for touch and gained a lineout 10 metres out. Ruaridh Mitchell was receiving treatment at this stage and was soon replaced by Chris Baikie. Our lineout was good initially, but, having lost possession, Falkirk then took the initiative and benefited from a penalty; they opted for another lineout, which, in hindsight, wasn’t the best decision, as Stew Mel won possession back. Euan Bowen made the break, supported by Willie and Momo, and, after we put further width on the ball, Freddie jinked his way through the Falkirk defence to open the scoring with about 10 minutes played. Stewart’s Melville 5 Falkirk 0.

Stew Mel immediately took advantage of a Falkirk mistake, but the visitors returned the favour moments later. It took some strong defence to keep them at bay as they were admirably determined to use their back division and the width of the pitch. They were the beneficiaries of another penalty, claiming a further lineout 10 metres out from Stew Mel’s try line. It was scrappy but Falkirk still managed to hold on to possession before a knock-on resulted in a scrum 5 metres out. It appeared that Falkirk were then penalised for collapsing the scrum which gave Stew Mel the chance to clear their lines.

Despite Falkirk then regaining possession once again, good defence from Stew Mel (particularly in the midfield, where Freddie was making some big hits) kept them at bay. A penalty soon came Falkirk’s way, however, and, with 15 minutes played, they opted for the 3 points on offer. Stew Mel 5 Falkirk 3.

At the restart Falkirk knocked on, resulting in a scrum around the half way line. A quick clean ball from Fraser Strachan on the blindside found Adam Greig with Willie in support; Willie duly crossed for our second try with Euan Bowen being successful with the conversion this time. 20 minutes played, Stew Mel 12 Falkirk 3.

Another restart saw Matt Sanderson take the ball well, and, with Momo driving forward and Willie again in support, a penalty was awarded. A clean lineout, some good hands and a scintillating break by Adam made another score look likely but a handling error led to another scrum.

Both teams were starting to play with more width, and, with advantages being played, it wasn’t long before another penalty was awarded to Falkirk. Although they were trying to play expansively utilising their backs, the Stew Mel scrum, with 30 minutes played, was beginning to dominate.
Fraser cleared his lines, and, although Falkirk had a successful lineout this time, a forward pass led to another solid scrum from Stew Mel, allowing Adam to break through once more and gain some territory. With both teams making mistakes, scrums were coming for both teams, but, with a significant drive, a Stew Mel penalty was awarded around the half way line. A clean lineout saw the forwards rumble on. A combination of good hands from Connor McKay, Kyle Dixon and Freddie gave Matt the opportunity to get the third try of the afternoon. 35 minutes played, Stew Mel 17 Falkirk 3.

Connor’s afternoon was then unfortunately cut short due to an injury and he was replaced by number 17 Doug Randall. With Falkirk winning a penalty and using a quick ‘tap and go’ to get close to the Stew Mel line, more good defence was the order of the day. Further penalties were, however, being awarded for what I think were infringements; these normally result in someone taking the hit for the team, and, in this case, that someone was Doug, who temporarily had to leave the field that he had only recently joined. The resolute defence, with 14 against 15, still did its job to make the half time score Stew Mel 19 Falkirk 3.

The scoreline at this stage was, I think, a fair reflection of Stew Mel’s performance, and they appeared to be getting the upper hand, particularly in the forwards This prevented what looked to be a fairly spritely Falkirk back line from getting clean or quick ball.

The second half wasn’t long started before Adam broke out of his own 22, further good hands from Matt then playing Freddie in for his second try of the afternoon. This gained us the bonus point with 48 minutes played. Unlike the previous Saturday, we didn’t take our foot off the gas at this stage, probably aware that Falkirk were still hungry to get some points on the board. They then managed to do just that – ironically, the scorer was one of their forwards, who were otherwise having a tough day at the office. 55 minutes played, Stew Mel 24 Falkirk 10.

The chat on the pitch must have been along the lines of ‘that is all they are getting’ as Stew Mel continued to build some good phases, mainly as a result of strong scrummaging. This allowed the backs to find space and Adam was soon over with 60 minutes played, the try again converted by Euan to make it Stew Mel 31 Falkirk 10. Replacements were then made, allowing Jack Somerville (who had been pacing up and down the sideline like a caged animal) into the action at number 13. Jack’s defensive efforts were immediately rewarded and further good hands almost had Freddie in for his hat trick. Falkirk kept him out, but he’d make amends later!

Further stoppages for injury and some reshuffling of the pack didn’t seem to dampen the forwards’ spirit as massive drives led to penalties being awarded, not once but twice. As I’ve said, they certainly had the ascendancy, and it must have been very rewarding if a number between 1 and 8 was on your back. It’s not a great spectator sport, though, and the backs had to perform a series of callisthenics to keep warm! Once ‘normal’ play had resumed, supersub Willie had something to say as he touched down for his second of the afternoon, converted by Euan. This made it Stew Mel 38 Falkirk 10 with about 15 minutes left on the clock.

At this stage we were witnessing what we all like to witness at Inverleith, good clean ball allowing our backs to showing what they can do when we put pace on the game. A good break by Sean Murchie on the right wing led to Momo attacking once more and Freddie claiming his hat trick to make it Stew Mel 45 Falkirk 10 with 70 minutes played. As the number of scrums continued to mount, the referee exchanged words with both captains; I’m not sure what was said but it was pretty clear from where I was sitting that the scrums were only going one way, regardless of who had the put in.

Mistakes were, inevitably, starting to creep in now, and, with Matt always alert to any opportunity, he was in for another try. 75 minutes played, Stew Mel 50 Falkirk 10. Matt was off again at the restart, his solo attack indicative of what the team were now doing, and some good interplay between Doug Randall and Sean gave the latter (number 14) an opportunity to find his way over for the final try of the afternoon (his 23rd of the season). Falkirk still had the fight but, once again, good defending from Stew Mel prevented any change in the full time score line: Stew Mel 57 Falkirk 10.

It was, by and large, a good afternoon. I have to confess that, when assessing the team prior to kick off, I wondered how Freddie might adapt to the tightly filled space that is number 12, as opposed to the open space he enjoys from full back. Although I did have my concerns, my son Scott had a completely different take, suggesting that Freddie – given his eye for gaps, his agility and his defensive capability – would flourish. How right he was! Despite this change and others in the back line, they soon settled and illustrated what they can do.

This could be the last report of the season for two reasons. Firstly, whilst there may be a game Belfast on 20th April, what goes on tour, stays on tour. Secondly, the game against Highland could be one of three things: the biggest game of the season, a game that we are only playing to fulfil our league fixture obligations or a game that may not happen at all. If it’s the latter then this could be the last report (this season) – ‘Phew’, I hear you all say!

Kevin Murchie

Match photo c/o Libby @ OG Blakeman Photos

Team v Falkirk RFC | Saturday 30 March @ Inverleith | Kick off 3pm

Stewart’s Melville RFC
Player Sponsored By

15 Matthew Watson
AW Photography

14 Sean Murchie
Graham + Sibbald

13 Kyle Dixon
Saxen Ltd

12 Freddie Roddick
Glencairn Properties

11 Adam Greig
Prostate Scotland

10 Euan Bowen
Calder Family

9 Fraser Strachan
Jamie Frost

1 Connor McKay
Parkthorn Gates

2 Kyle Marshall
Findlay & Marshall Ltd

3 Ruaridh Mitchell
Craneware

4 Jamie Sword
Gav Maclean

5 Fraser Morrison (C)
Hamilton Waste

6 Matt Sanderson
Cello Signal

7 Cormac McCracken
Calder Family

8 Ruaridh Stewart
Prostate Scotland

Replacements
16 Chris Baikie
Dreadnought Leith

17 Doug Randall
Barbershop Edinburgh

18 Willie Malcolm
Parker Pest Control

19 Jack Somerville
Bright Future Debt Advice

Match Report v Howe Of Fife RFC | Saturday 23rd March

The disappointment of last Saturday’s big game against Highland being postponed was soon eclipsed by what could only be described as an incredible comeback by Scotland. Whilst many felt gutted that we didn’t win, settling for a draw in the circumstances was, once the dust had settled, the more pragmatic option. We know all about ‘could have’ games at Stew Mel!

Great conditions for a display of running rugby at Duffus Park on Saturday. Bright sky, no wind, no rain – what more do you need?! A few changes were noted as Kyle Dixon replaced Adam Greig on the left wing, while, with Happy in the far-flung rainforests of Asia, Geoff Angco took up the inside centre position. Cormac McCracken came onto the bench, Ally Scott came in for our leader Momo and a special mention must be given to Ruaridh Stewart at number 8, making his return after his season was unceremoniously put on hold during the home game against Peebles. It takes a great deal of courage to come back, so well done!

Our last meeting with Howe was very much a one-sided affair as they struggled, initially, to raise a team, and, thereafter, injuries left them with only 12 players on the park, and, eventually, led to a premature final whistle. I was sure on Saturday that they would not want a repeat of their player number issues – and, more importantly, the scoreline! Howe have a proud tradition and throwing in the towel was never going to be on the agenda this time.

Stew Mel kicked off (I guess) northwards, playing ‘downhill’, and, from the start, our dominance was evident in the opening exchanges. That said, kicking appeared to be the preferred tactic of both teams from the outset, with either the bounce of the ball creating uncertainty or clearance kicks not quite finding touch. Stew Mel also conceded several penalties in the early stages, giving Howe some respite. It was a scrappy start, but, eventually, after around 10 minutes. a lucky bounce was well retrieved by Chris Baikie, who touched down by the posts. The successful conversion by Euan Bowen made it Howe of Fife 0 Stew Mel 7.

The ball was well taken at the restart by Matt Sanderson and some territory was gained with the assistance of Doug Randall. A knock-on from Howe gave Stew Mel the scrum and an impressive drive over the half way line resulted in a wrestling match in midfield but little fluency behind the scrum. Quicker ball soon came, giving Kyle Dixon the opportunity to make progress down the left wing; debutant Geoff Angco followed suit in midfield, and, with James Ferguson close at hand five meters out, the try was inevitable. With 25 minutes played it was Howe 0 Stew Mel 14, Euan again being successful with the conversion.

Joe Baillie, this time, took the ball well at the restart and made further inroads, aided by Ally Scott. James was involved again as Stew Mel encroached on Howe’s try line once more and Matt Sanderson was unlucky not to get over, some good defending from Howe preventing another score. There was a brief injury stoppage but momentum was soon regained and Ruaridh Mitchell, positioned fortuitously on the right wing, drove over. 30 minutes played, Howe 0 Stew Mel 19. Another couple of good phases by both forwards and backs followed the restart this time, releasing Kyle Dixon on the left wing to get the bonus point try. 35 minutes played, Howe 0 Stew Mel 24.

The lead appeared comfortable at this stage. James retired early with a calf injury to be replaced by Seb Trotter, though, and Howe suddenly took the initiative, throwing caution to the wind, and, with kick & chase and strong running, gaining good field position for the forwards to drive over. They did this not once but twice in succession, aided and abetted by a poor Stew Mel restart. That made it Howe 10 Stew Mel 24 at half time.

Despite having ‘allowed’ Howe back into the game, Stew Mel started the second half brightly, with some good hands amongst the forwards giving Fraser quicker ball to play with. This pressure resulted in a lineout on Howe’s 22; although they eventually managed to kick to touch in desperation, this only served to bring the lineout back to a similar position. Further pressure ensued, but, unfortunately, a knock on prevented any immediate progress.

Stew Mel were dominant in the scrum by now, driving the Howe pack back, disrupting their ball and making it harder for them to launch any effective attacks. Howe had, however, certainly upped their tempo and were attacking effectively whenever the opportunity arose, putting together some reasonable phases with 60 minutes on the clock. A facial cut to Chris Baikie saw Connor McKay entering the fray, and, as always, his presence was felt by the opposition. A penalty eventually came Stew Mel’s way, and, after some good forward play, Ruaridh Mitchell once again found himself on the right wing with a similar outcome. 65 minutes played, Howe 10 Stew Mel 29.

Our scrum dominance at this stage was key to turning the tables and putting more pressure on our hosts. Kyle Marshall replaced Doug Randall, fresh legs always being welcome at this stage. Perhaps the best and most ‘typical’ Stew Mel move of the match eventually saw Jamie Sword cantering over for another try and a successful conversion. That made it Howe 10 Stew Mel 36 with 70 minutes gone. With the clock counting down, Howe again emerged from the ashes and produced a strong finish, eventually being awarded a penalty try after a string of penalties against Stew Mel. Final score Howe 17 Stew Mel 36.

It was, perhaps, not the performance we were hoping for, but a bonus point win will do even if the term’ winning ugly’ is an apt description of our afternoon at Duffus Park. There were spells where we showed what we are capable of, but, also, some very scrappy play where ball retention was difficult and too many basic errors were made. You can, of course, only perform as well as your opponents allow, and Howe certainly made it hard at times. A ‘Noddy’ guide to not conceding penalties would also have been a useful read prior to this encounter. Bottom line, we conceded too many, whether justified or not. The consolation penalty try was clearly the end result.

That said, there were still some outstanding individual performances from, in particular, Matt Sanderson, who was building an ‘interesting’ relationship with his opposite number. Euan Bowen was creative at 10 and Ruaridh Stewart showed no ill effects from his layoff, whilst Kyle Dixon, Ally Scott, Geoff Angco and Cormac McCracken all played their part. Howe clearly have some good players and are, I think, still very much in the development stage, mixing youth with more experienced personnel. We have been there, too, and it does come good in the end!

Our game against Falkirk on Saturday was supposed to be our last but the season drags on. See you then!

Kevin Murchie

Team v Howe of Fife | Saturday 23 March @ Duffus Park | Kick off 3pm

PLAYER
SPONSOR

15 – Freddie Roddick
Glencairn Properties
14 – Sean Murchie
Graham + Sibbald
13 – James Ferguson
Haldane UK Ltd
12 – Geoff Angco
Calder Family
11 – Kyle Dixon
Saxen Ltd
10 – Euan Bowen
Calder Family
9 – Fraser Strachan
Jamie Frost

1 – Chris Baikie
Dreadnought Leith
2 – Doug Randall
Barbershop Edinburgh
3 – Ruaridh Mitchell
Craneware
4 – Jamie Sword
Gav Maclean
5 – Ally Scott
IntelliDigest Ltd
6 – Matt Sanderson
Cello Signal
8 – Ruaridh Stewart
Prostate Scotland
7 – Joe Bailey
Scott Dickson

REPLACEMENTS
16 – Kyle Marshall
Findlay & Marshall Ltd
17 – Connor McKay
Parkthorn Gates
18 – Cormac McCracken
Calder Family
19 – Seb Trotter
Trotter Family Bakery

2nd XV v Edinburgh Accies | Saturday 23 March @ Raeburn Place | Kick off 3pm

PLAYER
SPONSOR

15 Murray Hanning
Resurge Africa
14. Toby Clutton
Calder family
13 David Devlin
Calder Family
12 Neil Bowie
Ralph Campbell
11 Adam Greig
Prostate Scotland
10 Jack Calder
PMA Contracts Ltd
9 Charles Simmonds
Team Honey Badger 7s

1. Stephen Spowart
Calder Family
2. Oliver Williamson
Calder Family
3 Thomas Petiau
Jamie & Rosie Bruce
4 William Malcolm
Parker Pest Control
5 Gareth Henderson
M Henderson Joinery
6 Nick Winton
P Mooney
8 Daniel Sweeney
Morrison Ground Care
7. Alexander Wainwright
Keith Dobson

Replacements
16 David Calder
Calder Family
17 Lewis Wilde
Calder Family

John Kerr

Everyone at Inverleith was shocked to hear of the sudden death of John Kerr on Sunday 17th March.

John was our legal adviser when we changed the rugby club to a limited company, as well as a great club man. He will be greatly missed.

John’s funeral will take place at noon on Thursday 28th March at Stephen’s Church, 10 Comely Bank Road, Edinburgh, EH4 1DW.

The burial will take place at Dean Cemetery at 1.15 pm and there will then be a reception at Inverleith at 2 pm.

Our thoughts are with John’s wife Adrienne and the family at this time.

Bill McNie
President

 

Next Match | 2nd XV @ HOME on THURSDAY 4 APRIL v BOROUGHMUIR BEARS | Kick off 6pm

2nd XV play HOME v Boroughmuir Bears – Thursday 4 April – Kick off 6pm

1st XV play HOME (Raeburn Place) – v Highland RFC – Saturday 27 April – kick off 3pm

Lindsey Geddes

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