Match Report v Jed-Forest RFC Friday 26 February 2016
Five Things we learned at Riverside on Friday Night
- Size isn’t everything – Ross McCann isn’t the biggest but he is so strong on his feet and is such an elusive runner that he was probably the best player on either side on Friday, although Gregor Young of Jed-forest, with a hat-trick might have something to say about that. Ross combines elusiveness with invention and bravery and it is to be hoped that his rugby career is nurtured to utilise his talents. He is the nicest runner with the ball in hand we have had since Liam Steele but Liam, being such an athlete, always had injury niggles to contend with. The sight of Shane Williams as a television summariser reminds the watching rugby fraternity that size isn’t everything. The most effective back row forward on Friday night was Hugh Lindsay – once again very strong on his feet but not the tallest.
- Stewart’s Melville has developed into a pretty good side. Jedforest, famously recently downed Watsonians at Myreside and had ran Heriots to within a missed penalty the previous Saturday – but – for large portions of the match we looked the better side. We took the lead with twenty minutes to go but lacked the control to seal the deal. We whistled the ball from side to side impressively seeking to exploit areas that were thinly populated.
- Jed-forest had done their homework. Jamie McFarlane has been around for a number of years and knows how to prepare a side. Each time Thor got the ball he had three defenders for company (no doubt he reads the match reports). They were worried for a while but had the back division to play in the right areas and used their experience to close the deal.
- The set piece was good, even without Rhys and for a large part of the game, Willie, Mike McDonald and Angus Wallace and Ruairidh got the better of their opponents. The line out is nothing to be frightened of. Adam and Jamie Berrisford won a lot of good ball and some of their opponents too. There was only one really disappointing line out and that was at the end when we kicked for the corner to engineer a losing bonus point. Least said about that one the better! A dry ball obviously helps but it is practice, practice that makes perfect.
- Rugby is a much better spectacle in better weather. Friday night benefitted from a dry week with a touch of frost firming up the surface and there was not a breath of wind. Coincidentally, there is ‘noise’ on our facebook site regarding the structure of the season. One suggestion is to play the games right through from 13th August – this could mean the leagues are over by Christmas – 22 games. With the increased physicality nowadays 22 games is probably plenty. There would be three games in August with the better weather. The shorter season might keep older players with family commitments playing longer. We are now in the usual March/April situation where games are postponed for a Cup that has the support of a minority of clubs or players. Unlike football the combined size difference means it is impossible for lower league teams to frustrate their premier league counterparts, so there is only ever going to be six or so teams that can possibly win the cup. Clubs are allowed to apply for a postponement if they lose players to age group international rugby. As an example of fixture congestion, Accies learned they had to play Watsonians last weekend in spite of having players in Italy. We now play Marr when the outcome of the top two places could be decided – rather than next week – when everything is to play for. This could have massive implications on final league positions. It is not ideal, if the integrity of the league competition is to be maintained. Something needs to be done.
The final result was Jed-forest 36, Stewart’s Melville 25 (McCann,2 tries, Greig and Lindsay 1 try each Mike Hanning 1 penalty and 1 conversion) . A mention for James Ferguson who played his first full game for Stewart’s Melville – he handled impressively under the lights.