One for the Guinness Book of Records? The lone “ballboy” at Inverleith last Saturday, in the difficult (!) weather, was closer to 70 than 60 years of age. Stationed on the Arboretum side of the pitch he cut a solitary figure, and any ideas of trying to operate the scoreboard as well were soon dismissed out of hand. Surreally, after 40 minutes, as the match officials, players and meagre handful of spectators disappeared from view leaving him as the only person inhabiting the stadium one did wonder if the match had been abandoned — only for people to re-materialise for the second half just as he got to the clubhouse door! The usual perk for performing such duties – a can of Coke and a packet of crisps – was replaced by a hot greasy pie and a pint of lager! The joys of supporting the RBG!
The pitches were looking “OK” at 10 a.m. but the residual effects of the “Beast from the East” and a combination of incessant rain and a school sevens tournament turned them into something more akin to a paddy field by kick-off time. The 2nd XV warmed up (very impressively) only for them to eventually agree with GHA that waterpolo might have been a more appropriate option, and the most sensible course of action would be a postponement. This left the 1st XV and Glasgow Hutchesons’ Aloysians to battle it out on the International pitch which by this time resembled Auldhouse (the old home of Hutcheson’s) at its best for those with a long memory!
Great credit is due to both sides for producing good entertainment in appalling conditions although, sadly, the eventual win went to the men from Braidholm by 31-17. Again, a certain lack of experience let the home side down although Adam Greig, Sean Murchie, Will Malcolm, “Big Rhu” and “Momo” led from the front and drew the battle lines. Equally, and perhaps understandably, confidence is not at an all time high and this can be the mitigating factor into turning a tight game into a win. The score indicates the improvement from earlier in the season and, although of little succour, it is important to note that Stew Mel came out on top in the second half by12-07! Youth is on SM’s side and hopefully this group of players will stay together and put to good use the experience gained this season. The RBG are more than good enough for National 1 – it just has to be proved!
One last comment. Thanks and commiserations to Willie, the Head Groundsman. He must have been tearing his hair out by 5 o’clock on Saturday. The club does appreciate the great playing conditions that he produces week after week and apologises for the extra work he and his team are going to have to put in to repairing Pitch 1.
Next Saturday (17th March) sees the Senior 1st XV travelling to Philipshaugh to meet Selkirk while the Senior 2nd XV make a third attempt to beat the weather and fulfil the fixture at Hartreemill against Biggar. Both games are scheduled for a 3 p.m. kick-off with the Scotland game against Italy starting at 12.30.
As previously mentioned Scottish Schools have been trying to run a series of Sevens Tournaments. Not surprisingly, the the first one scheduled for Glasgow fell foul of the weather – snow stopped play! Perhaps equally incredulously, the next round of the series shared between Inverleith and Myreside (Saturday 10th March) went ahead despite the monsoon conditions! The College teams met with varying degrees of success. The S2 and S4 teams both lost in the finals (sadly to Watson’s) while the S3’s and U18’s lost in their semi-finals.
Possibly with a sigh of relief from some participants, the Merchiston round the following day (Sunday 11th March) had to be abandoned because of waterlogged pitches. The final tournament shared between Goldenacre (Heriot’s) and Newfield is due to take place this Saturday (17th March). One awaits the weather forecast!
Congratulations to Connor Boyle, Ross Thompson and Jamie Hodgson who have retained their places in the Scotland Under 20 team to play Italy at the Stadio della Vittoria. It would be great to back up a win against England and a losing bonus point against Ireland with a victory over a very tough home side.