Second XV match report
Stan Buchan reports on the second XV win over Currie Chieftains:
A trip to take on the newly re-branded Currie team (No! They are not called Balerno RFC in the re-branding but The Chieftains) is never a task to be undertaken lightly especially when their teams contain a fair sprinkling of players who are well-known to us. So well-known that they actually qualify to play for us!
It’s a good thing we are no longer a ‘closed’ club as we might have difficulty raising the four teams we put out yesterday, given the number of Watsonian qualified players who choose to play elsewhere. I must ask them sometime and establish where we are going wrong or what we need to do to entice them back, maybe we need to re-brand or something although I doubt our many supporters would wish to splash out for ‘new’ club apparel as many at Currie appear to have done.
It was comforting to see Currie legend Ross Weston still wearing Currie clothing although I was glad he wasn’t on the pitch. Re-branding appears to have worked for Currie though as they now have access to a modern all-weather training surface at Malleny, use of the Heriot-Watt indoor facility (Oriam) at Riccarton, a new full-size pitch at Malleny, which I fully expected to use in this game, and of course a plethora of Scotland age-grade players.
I’m sure I read somewhere recently that Currie were the poor relations in terms of rugby players, facilities and sponsorship in Edinburgh. If this is ‘poor’ then I may need to re-assess some of the clubs I’ve been to?
Perhaps we should apply to become Edinburgh Maroons and have a partnership with Heart of Midlothian although instead of a drain of rugby players from the school to other clubs we might find they are all converted to soccer! David Johnston was not a bad player back in the day at Tynecastle and with their new found tie-in at Murrayfield we might actually get use of some of those training pitches etc. We can but dream I suppose?
Anyway, on with the rugby, which was not played on the new ‘top’ pitch as Malleny as my Currie friends in the Polis predicted, but on the ‘old’ pitch next to the river.
The pitch was in great nick however and with the sun shining and an Antipodean ref we anticipated a feast of rugby. Fox opened the scoring with a penalty after Currie failed to release in the tackle. Ferguson then went over for his first of the afternoon and Fox added the extras and at 10 -0 we looked comfortable.
However, on Currie’s first real excursion into our half, they gained a penalty (probably for offside which plagued us all day) and brought it back to 10-3. ‘Sonians were playing well though both in attack and defence with a urgency in the team which augurs well for the future. Miller at 8 was aggressive with ball in hand, always looking to get the team on the front foot, Fraser on debut and Miller at hooker were not far behind.
Off this platform, the backs were able to perform despite the size of the pitch and Ferguson and Steele went over for further tries, both converted by Fox who also added another two penalties. Towards the end of the half, Currie put pressure on our line with a series of lineout drives but the defence held firm and then drove them back. Great work by this team.
HT: Currie Chieftains 3 Second XV 30
I was critical of the team for not pressing home their advantage when 25-7 up at Melrose, but no mistakes this week as almost immediately from the re-start, Ferguson went over for his third and our fourth try of the day that secured the bonus point for us.
Changes were made to the team as well but did little to change the game as Woodward then went over for a try to bring the score to 42-3 for the visitors.
All credit to Currie Chieftains who never gave up and came back with a couple of tries themselves, one of which was scored from a lineout drive when we were down to 14 men.
Miller had been yellow-carded probably for offside and he took one for the team but it is something we will need to work on before next week’s game v Stirling County.
As Currie thought about an improbable come-back, Fisher, a Merchiston schoolboy (still) ploughed over for another score and we were in sight of the half-century when Fox Converted to take it to 49-15.
Currie then scored a third try through ex-GWC player Wilson and had ambition for a bonus fourth but Calum Harris put paid to this by finishing off a powerful forward drive with the touchdown. Fox could not convert but finished with a personal haul of 19 points. The team scored seven tries and perhaps on a wider pitch would have had a few more.
A satisfying result for the team and I suspect they will be happy with denying Currie a bonus point, but disappointed that they allowed them to score three tries. The pack could possibly do some more damage to the opposition in the tight and the backs might kick less on a full-size pitch where they could use their pace effectively; the whole team need to pay attention to the penalty count.
Plenty to work on but lots of positives, good half-back combination in Scott and Fox, solid centres in the two Jacks and the unexpected (as always) from Steele and Davidson.
Watt, Malloch, Pearce, Harris and Fisher are all teenagers in the pack, but are lively competitors. I shall be away next week but Craig Barrie will pick up the reins as Manager. Not sure if he’ll do a match report so please come down to Myreside and support one of the teams and feel free to wear club apparel if it floats your boat. Ronnie Speirs: 2 games and 2 victories! You could be the talisman for the side even if you are the ‘Duke of Balerno’!!
My thanks as always to our supporters who I think enjoyed the sunshine again and to Touch Judge Gregor Nelson. Special mention to Dougie Meikle and Ian Sinclair for their appearance.
Man of the Match went to Hat Trick Skipper – Jack Ferguson.
For Mr Kidd the team was:
Forwards – Malloch, Miller, Fraser, Morrison, Watt, Woodward, Pearce & Miller (J)
Backs – Scott, Fox, Young, Ferguson, Harrison, Steele & Davidson.
Reps (all played) – Gibson, Harris, Middleton, Fisher, Nicol & Tait. Unused but valuable – AJ
FT: Currie Chieftains 20 Second XV 52