Despite the FP 1st XV losing to Selkirk on Saturday, Inverleith was in a state of euphoria – the Pool Man (aka Ally Duncan) scored a try! When questioned he was extremely vague as to the last time he had achieved this momentous feat but safe to say it was before Stuart McLaren (who made his debut for the club on Saturday) was born! Unfortunately Ally’s heroics were not enough to stop the Mighty 3’s slumping to their 3rd defeat in a row at the hands of the Nail’s (21-47). However, an encouraging trend seems to be the injection of youth to support the old stagers such as Danger. It is interesting to note (well for me anyway!), that in the front row was Bonker (aka Lindsay Ross) who I taught in my first year of teaching and Ross Armstrong whom I taught in my last year of teaching! As well as Ross and Stuart, I spotted Rory Warnock, Rory Fenn and Roddy How from last year’s school sides. Equally, although just out of their first flush of youth, it was great to see “Duke”, Tom Brownlee, Andrew Massie, Dean Gowans, George Hipwell, Graeme Mitchell and Daryl Teague all with their boots on. Equally, the Wild Man of Borneo (aka Justin Duncan) appeared on Saturday and assures me that his job as a deer stalker comes to an end on Wednesday! Yosser, he stated quite categorically that he will be at training on Thursday and available for selection on Saturday. Don’t let me down Justin! For the record, as well as Ally’s magnificent achievement, Rory Warnock and Ross Armstrong scored tries with Stuart McLaren slotting all 3 conversions.
Bobby Clark was on holiday once more so, again, I undertook the dubious honour of being ground convenor. As this involves duties on both sides of the stand, I saw some of the F.P. 2nd XV, as well as trying to watch the 1st XV. It is sometimes difficult to get information out of Burge but, after losing their first 4 fixtures, they have won the next 5 on the bounce. As I briefly pointed out last week, they had an excellent win on the road at Ayr. A nearly error free performance in the first half, saw us build a commanding lead, but in the first 20 minutes of the 2nd period we gave away a string of penalties which allowed Ayr to come back within 3 points (18-15). Fortunately, we then regained our composure and discipline and produced some excellent rugby to finally win 30-22. On Saturday, against Selkirk 2nd XV, penalties again appeared to be our achilles heel and time and again we invoked the ire of the referee and allowed the Souters off the hook. Despite making things difficult for ourselves, we eventually ran out winners by 45-20. The 2nd’s deserve great credit for turning their season round (although there is still a long way to go). Their results are important in their own right but it is also vital for the 1st XV squad to have great back up and competition for places. Recent school leavers, Matt Hannay, Adam Greig, Rory Fenn, Gav Black, Ruairidh Stewart, Isaac Miller, Christy O’Donnell, Alan Little, Neil Bowie, Rory Cook, Roddy How, and Nick Whittle; not so recent leavers Nelly Young, Struan Allan and Martin Kemp; and honorary F.P. Scott Cubitt (his Dad sent him to the wrong school by mistake!) have all been part of this effort.
I am sure that Gav will give a comprehensive report on the website of the 1st XV’s (21-33) defeat at the hands of Selkirk. I had high hopes of us making it 5 in a row but disappointingly the Souters deservedly shaved the result. They were a little more physical than us and our defence which had been a rock in the game against Hawks let us down slightly. Our line out suffered one of its less productive days and we too easily turned over possession at ruck and maul. I felt that this was a very untidy aspect of the game and Selkirk took full advantage of the situation. I was going to chat to referee Andy Ireland (a friend of mine – yes one or two refs do speak to me!) about our problems in this area but I suspect that he got wind that I was looking for him. Selkirk also had an excellent kicking game putting the ball in behind our defence time and again. Something we find difficult and, in contrast, we failed to break down their defence and play the game in danger areas. Next week, we start the reverse fixtures with an away game against Hawick at Mansfield Park. The first game resulted in a draw and it could be argued that either side should have won. The boys will have to be on their mettle and raise their game – something they will be determined to do – and they can be assured of a warm and courteous welcome at one of the friendliest grounds in the Borders (so Rod Dean’s tells me!).
Next Saturday’s Fixtures:
1st XV v Hawick Mansfield Park 3 p.m.
2nd XV v Aberdeen Grammar Inverleith 3 p.m.
The Mighty 3’s v Linlithgow 2nd’s Inverleith 3 p.m
As ever, if you are not playing the teams would welcome your support.
With it being half-term there is little school rugby to report on. Bryn and Jimmy have had the boys out training with a view to the cup game against the Rodney’s on Wednesday 31st October at Inverleith. The Academy go back to school this week but Stew Mel do not return until Monday 29th October. The two week holiday is welcomed by both SMC staff and pupils but it does make cup preparations difficult with so many players away. However, a game against a Boroughmuir XV has been organised for this Wednesday at Meggatland under the lights. It will not be a full strength Stew Mel team but it should give those boys still in Edinburgh a welcome work out. It goes without saying that they would really appreciate your support at Inverleith on Wednesday 31st October at 2.30.
On the university front, St. Andrew’s match with Highland was cancelled; Stirling beat Alloa (16-10); Aberdeen beat Aberdeenshire 2nd’s (31-28); and Dundee beat Harris 2nd’s (62 -5). St Andrew’s are 3rd in Caledonia Div. 1, Stirling are 2nd in Caledonia Div. 2 (Midlands), Aberdeen are 2nd in Caledonia Div. 2 (North) and Dundee are top of Caledonia Div, 3 (Midlands East). There were no British University and College games this week with the next league fixtures taking place on 24th October.
However, Andrew Warnock has sent me some news of Glasgow University rugby. Their 1st team had a 41-0 win against Stirling 2’s in a cup game with Ben Docherty scoring two tries and Andrew getting one for himself. Strong performances also came from Jamie Cook, Andrew St. Clair and Rory Macleod. The 2nd XV also features several Stew Mel players with Mitch Logan and Max Batchelor coming out of retirement and, frighteningly, Mike Bunker, producing a man of the match performance against the university of West of Scotland. It would be great to get news from other Stew Mel players at university. Just contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have anything to say or if you want to be added onto the mailing list.
A scan of the papers gave little news of other Stew Mellies playing. No sign of Alex Hagart or George Turner (is he injured, with Edinburgh or wasting his time in Boroughmuir 2nd’s?). James Thomson (yes he is a Stew Mellie!) and Ross Samson were in the London Scottish team beaten by Mosely (but no sign of Dave McCall or Lewis Calder). Thin pickings for Scottish clubs in the British and Irish Cup (with Stirling, Melrose and Dundee all losing) and disappointing times in the Heineken Cup with no result for either Glasgow or Edinburgh. Lets hope things pick up starting with wins against Hawick, Aberdeen and Linlithgow on Saturday!