Match Report Stew Mel 1XV v Cartha Queens Park | 6 January 2018
Following on from the unscheduled winter shutdown in December and further contemplation of launching my new business venture – www.itwillbeon.com, taking on Mother Nature and possibly the Dragons’ Den – we were back at Inverleith once again, much to the supporters’ (and, I am sure, players’) delight, for, in the context of our league position, a huge game against Cartha, our last encounter against them having ended in a narrow loss.
The weather had been kind to us for a change, with dry but cold conditions. With our last game having been on the 2nd December against Kelso and with all the festivities, the question was, had we benefited from the ‘break’ and rejuvenated for 2018, or, on the other hand, were we likely to be ‘ring rusty’? Sadly, it was the latter!
Cartha kicked-off towards the Castle with Stew Mel playing into a biting north wind. The opening stages were scrappy, as expected, with mistakes on both sides. Cartha, however, managed to find themselves in possession within Stew Mel’s 22 and a fine break from the scrum half after 10 minutes put them ahead with the try converted. Stew Mel 0 – Cartha 7.
Cartha gathered again from the restart and continued to apply pressure from a similar position, this time with their stand-off breaking through and scoring with 15 minutes on the clock (Stew Mel 0 Cartha 12).
Further pressure from Cartha resulted in a penalty and an easy 3 points. 20 minutes in and it was Stew Mel 0 – Cartha 15. At this stage, things were not looking good for the hosts.
As the first half was approaching the 30 minute mark it appeared that Stew Mel were eventually coming alive, gaining and retaining more possession. After some good attacking phases from the backs, James powered his way over the line. There were further indications of the start of a comeback, with the forwards providing quick ball and some slick passing resulting in James diving into the corner for a second. Stew Mel 10 – Cartha 15.
Cartha’s lead was extended to 18 shortly afterwards with yet another penalty. The half time score was Stew Mel 10 – Cartha 18.
The second half started well, with the wind behind us and some good forward play and strong running from the backs leading to a penalty and subsequent line out. A solid forward drive resulted in Ruaridh Mitchell crossing the line. He must now be the highest scoring hooker in national 1!
With the score at Stew Mel 15 – Cartha 18, confidence amongst the home support must have been growing,; this was, however, short lived, as a period unfolded of malfunctioning line outs and a dominant Cartha scrum providing plenty of ball for their backs to exploit gaps in our defence.
It wasn’t, therefore, long before they recorded two further tries – undoubtedly aided by two almost consecutive yellow cards to Stew Mel (one, I think, a bit harsh) – to bring the score at around the 55 minute mark to Stew Mel 15 – Cartha 32.