Match Report vs Marr

Match Report vs Marr

17th December 2017 Match Summary

Gritty was the adjective for Stewart’s Melville’s display on Saturday. We faced the league leaders, a team that, mainly, has been together, building, for a few years. A team full of experienced players, physically conditioned faced our callow youths, boosted by the welcome return of Howie on the bench, and excited after their recent successes on the road. Youth, famously, has no fear so it was disappointing, that we did not manage to score in the last ten minutes in the knowledge that a try would have given us two hugely valuable points. Such a reward would have been a fair return for our skill and spirit.

The sight of the various Academy age groups enjoying their matches against their Ayr counterparts on a fresh seasonal December morning combined with the attendance of the Scottish Schools cup winning team at the pre match lunch is a reminder of the fecund** cornucopia* of rugby talent that is Stewart’s Melville. And it is for this next generation that we must strive to maintain our position in the forefront of Scottish rugby.

Michael Hanning opened the scoring with a straightforward penalty before the diners fully realised play had started – such was the festive atmosphere in the clubhouse. Marr played with continuity, changing angles and attacking near the gain line with strength and pace. It was no real surprise when Johnston found freedom, after 13 minutes, to touch down. The next two Marr tries came as a result of Marr’s dominant rolling maul and were scored by (Nicola’s boy) Sturgeon and Pearce. At this stage there was a grudging admiration for Marr in the home stand as their rugby was impressive, particularly the ball retention. Like Craig R-H on ‘Strictly’ would say – to be picky – if they want to play at the next level their finishing has to improve. Their profligacy returned to haunt them when Ferguson thundered in at the corner beside the club house to narrow the gap to 15-8 at half time.

The score line provided ample encouragement for Colleges and with Warnock introduced at 10 and Hanning the freedom of Inverleith at full back our threequarters honestly looked to have the measure of their opponents, with ball in hand. Morrison and Hannay, in particular took a bit of stopping. From one such break by Hanning, Ferguson galloped home to cut the deficit to two points. Marr were not to be denied – we just couldn’t get enough pill – and it has to be said we were lucky not to receive yellow for repeated penalties. Sami Paulson is a tremendous acquisition and time after time he crashed into the tackle to deny Marr. Unfortunately his countryman, Carolyn’s boy, Alex Rappestad, dislocated a shoulder last weekend and it looks like February at the earliest before he returns.

Daniel Law scored a brace of tries and Sturgeon converted a penalty for Marr before Jonny Grant found the blind side of a ruck to be sparsely populated and narrowed the gap. Marr had their bonus point but try as we might to emulate them we could not engineer a gap. In the closing stages, Seb looked to have found space to ‘Trott’ home only for his feet to give way.      

It is a measure of how far we have come that there was genuine disappointment amongst the players but such is the togetherness now that 2017 is welcomed with confidence starting at Jedburgh on 7th January.

I quick reminder to get your tickets to the Burns Supper on the 28th of January £29 for a three course meal and entertainment. Also we have a International lunch before the Scotland v Ireland 6 Nations fixture on the 4th of Feb 3 course meal, wine and entertainment £50 per person. Contact nickmccashin@gmail.com for tickets.

Finally, there will not be too many sides in Scotland that managed to get three teams fielded on the Saturday before Christmas particularly with one team playing in Glasgow. Well done to Graham and others and also thanks to the players for fulfilling their fixtures.    

Full Time Stewart’s Melville 18 Marr 28

*cornucopia from latin cornu copiae or horn of plenty **fecund highly fertile.    

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