Match Report : v Gordonian RFC : Saturday 26 August
Trying to write a Stewart’s Melville match report invokes a little fear and trepidation. How can one emulate Gav’s turn of phrase, references to Greek mythology & philosophy and insight into RBG rugby? The simple answer is that it is not possible. There was a true sense of loss at Inverleith on Saturday when his voice did not boom out over the PA and he was not in the committee room to greet our visitors and mull over the highlights of the game just finished. We will miss you Gavin, but always hold fond memories.
As to the game itself, the RBG started off as if possessed, and Gordonians must have wondered what had hit them after a long trip from Aberdeen. Possession was won quickly, with the backs looking sharp and direct. Attacks developed from all quarters of the pitch, and, in quick succession, tries were scored by Tom Croy, Sean Murchie and Adam Greig (2), with Scott Docherty successfully adding all four conversions. It was sublime rugby, and the home support almost dared to anticipate a possible try fest.
It was encouraging to see real attacking flair behind the scrum and a willingness to create quick ball at the breakdown, all supported by admirable ambition. Good things sometimes come to an end, though, and, in true Stew Mel fashion, the wheels temporarily came off the wagon. A combination of white line fever and poor concentration allowed the Aberdonians to gain a foothold in the game. Inextricably they started to gain some ascendancy up front, leading to them scoring a deserved converted try from driving play close to the breakdown.
Gordonians continued to hold sway in the forward exchanges, aided and abetted by some suspect first time tackling and poor home discipline. This eventually resulted in a yellow card for Lewis Scott as the referee, Alex Obreja, grew tired of continual infringement close to the line. With a man short, the increased pressure duly told, with two more tries (one converted) being scored by the visiting pack, again from short range. With the lead narrowed to 9 points and a temporary inability to gain or keep possession, an increasingly nervous home crowd was glad to hear the half time whistle.
Half – Time: Stewart’s Melville 28 19 Gordonians
After a few well-chosen words during the interval, the RBG started with renewed vigour, and a good run by Scott Docherty – well supported on the inside by the Greig brothers – saw the elder sibling cross the line for his hat-trick, with Docherty again adding the extra points. Gordonians still continued to trouble us defensively with their tight driving play, but Stewart’s Melville were now generally in control and an interception try by new boy William Inglis (which Docherty converted from in front of the posts) provided some welcome breathing space on the scoreboard.
Further good handling and excellent support play then put winger Nathan Ross into space and he crossed the line wide out towards the touchline. For once Docherty could not add the extras and so ended the home scoring. Gordonians were not finished, however, and scored a short range converted try. Then, in the dying seconds of the game (and with Stew Mel applying pressure), a missed tackle well inside the Gordonians 22 saw the ball being passed through several pairs of hands to send their speedy winger, David Bae Ta, away for an exhilarating try.
Bae Ta is a rather unusual surname and, perhaps a little surprisingly, it does not belong to a South Sea Islander. It is, in fact, an alias for David Ilyine, an ex Stew Mel product, now turning out on the wing for the Aberdeen outfit. Obviously he did not want to be recognised at Invers!
Full – Time: Stewart’s Melville 47 31 Gordonians
Gordonians were more than worthy opponents and, having just gained promotion to National League Division 3, one can see them having a real impact in their new environment. From a Stewart’s Melville perspective many encouraging positives emerged from the game, not least the performance of the backs, but also much for Sesh and the coaching team to work on during the coming week before Edinburgh Academicals visit Inverleith next Saturday.