Match report : Mighty 3’s v Forrester Saturday 28 November
Forrester 2nd XV 13-26 SM Mighty 3’s
“A Time of Highs and Lows For the Mighty 3’s”
On Thursday night the Mighty 3’s Management Team confidently confirmed a strong squad of 21 players. By Friday evening, due to injury and late unavailability, it was down to a bare 17 until Pete Crowther made the mistake of declaring that he had almost recovered from injury and was looking forward to a game!
Saturday mid-morning saw the playing strength reduced to 17 once more because of illness and then an hour before kick off to 16 because of another late unavailability. Fortunately, club stalwart, Brian “Tubbs” McDougall, had just flown in from Australia and Tony “Nosebag” Wood, having been on a strict health and fitness regime, had suggested a guest appearance of a reunited school 1st XV front row (Wood, MacColl, and McDougall) from 1994. They turned up full of the joys of life expecting a 10 minute cameo performance at some stage in the game. Little did they know! Some consternation had been expressed about the rather unkind and unnecessary jibes concerning the need for a Doctor and an ambulance to be in attendance. However, just to be on the safe side the management team checked the defibrillator at the South Gyle venue, and took comfort from the fact that an A and E specialist and a Forensic Pathologist were included in the ranks of the Mighty 3’s!
The match started off in dreadful conditions but the RBG dominated with the backs looking particularly dangerous and the forwards managing to supply them with a steady stream of possession. A very liberal interpretation of the off-side law was handled reasonably well and it was not long before Chico Stevenson scored an opportunist try to take the lead. Sadly, this signalled a stream of injuries which saw the scorer having to retire with injured ribs, Pete feeling the effects of a long lay off, Brodie Smithers popping a calf muscle and Dave Allan injuring his thumb in a rather unusual tackle perpetrated by his opposite number. Fortunately, Dylan Mason eventually found his boots and entered the fray as an avenging angel determined to take the game to Forrester. He started in the back row but soon undertook a stint in the centre very ably filling the large hole left by Chico’s departure. There was nothing for it, Tubbs and Nosebag had to enter the fray at half time to join Malcolm albeit the latter had, through necessity, to play in the back row. Undeterred, they joined forces with the other veteran of the team, “BSR” (19 years their senior!), and proceeded to dominate the scrummage for the whole of the second half like spring chickens.
The conditions, the afore mentioned interpretation of off-side, and an unusual approach to the policing of ruck and maul was rather better handled by the men from the Gyle. This allowed them to limit our possession and put severe restrictions on our running and handling game. Having eschewed several scoring chances, a reasonably comfortable lead was given up to go 12-13 behind. However, showing real determination, the team then buckled down and produced a storming last 20 minutes to grab two converted tries and run out winners by 13-26 (securing a bonus point for 4 touch downs).
Now the real problems started! The injuries and Tubbs, Nosebag and to a lesser extent “BSR” (did somebody mention spring chickens!) had to be helped/escorted to the clubhouse. The middle two finally made it and crumpled on to the bench ashen faced with exhaustion. The changing room was like a Glasgow Accident and Emergency Department on a Saturday night, and our two heroes could not summon up the energy to move. Finally, they were assisted into the shower and eventually delivered to their adoring families and fans in the clubhouse before reinvigorating themselves with a healthy portion of pie and beans.
In the circumstances, this was a really gutsy effort by all of the Mighty 3’s. The two youngsters in the back row (Callum Macdonald and Jamie Appleton) fed off Malcolm’s knowledge and experience, the second rows Jamie Robertson and Rory McLeod were well to the fore (indeed excellent) in tight and open play, and scrum-half Graeme Mitchell scored a superb opportunist try to put us back in the lead. Elliot Ruthven (despite severe cramp) was a dangerous runner from full-back. Andy Bryce added fine solidity in the centre and complimented the power running of Dylan and Chico while wings, Dave Allan and Rob Ogley, defended well and ran elusively and with determination. Finally, a word for stand-off, Josh Chapman. Never having played the position before, he kicked well and was a real force in attack making some fine breaks and creating space for his dangerous centres. All in all, a win based on RBG character!
There was also another first for the Mighty 3’s. A dedicated touch judge (thanks to Michael Deignan) and the Chairman of the Stewart’s Melville Rugby Board (Colin Rigby) in attendance.