MAGIC 2s v Melrose 2s
A great day for rugby at Meggetland, not too cold and not too breezy and it was fairly firm underfoot. After having received a fairly good kicking down at the Greenyards and being beaten 53-10 The Magic 2s were under no illusions that this was going to be a tough one.
The coaches and senior players felt the training went well through the week and we worked on a couple of perceived weak areas in the Melrose set up.
From the start Muir showed that they meant business and after some great Defence in the midfield the energetic Rob Ure got his first turnover of the day and made sure not only the Melrose team knew about it but also his coach! We kicked to the corner won the lineout but then turned over ball and Melrose cleared their lines. Four mins later, an unfortunate knock-on at nine off a lineout gave Melrose easy ball and then 3-minutes later Melrose broke up the right wing and young Jack Hamilton gave away a silly penalty for tackling the man without the ball. We have asked to cut out silly pens but still, we insist on giving opposition 'free territory'.
Young McDevitts turn to get the turnover ball and Melrose were looking bemused and wondering why Muir were not lying down. It was all Boroughmuir possession and only silly errors and penalties giving the ball away. Mike Brown down from the 1st Team was showing he was wanting his position back and some great hits in Defence and hard straight lines in attack could see him bounce back up again depending on how the competition played in the centres.
Hamilton put in some lovely clearances as Melrose got into our half. After 20 minutes, Troxler was replaced by the young German Felix Krause who likes to get stuck in and carry the ball hard, which is exactly what he did. It took 31minutes for a score to come but it was a cracker. Hamilton on the 10m line saw a gap, sidestepped one player, cut inside another and made it over the line in the third tackle 7-0 with Scott adding the conv.
A well-deserved score but from the kick off we dropped the ball. Melrose won the ball, set up a driving maul for 15metres and broke off the back to score an unconverted try. McDevitt was yellow carded for a team offence on the 37th minute and fair play to Melrose who capitalised on the advantage in numbers. Scrum ball, three ‘pick-and-goes’ and then driven over to make the half time score 7-12
The second half saw Melrose the more dominant starters. Another silly penalty saw the lineout being taken instead of the points and players drawn into rucks. Pressure on our line then saw a massive gap open up in the 10 channel and they sauntered over for a converted try.
Melrose had the bit between the teeth and it was all being played in the Muir half. When Muir did attack they made silly errors or kicked ball away only for some good clearing kicks by the borders men seeing territory as their friend. On the 25th minute the Melrose 6, who was their MOM in our opinion saw a huge gap open up and he trundled through for a deserved score. Muir did not look depleted, just a little bemused at how they had become 7-24 down. Then the fightback began and some true grit and determination was shown.
Man-of-the-Match for B’muir and brother of (soon to return to play for the Magic 2s) Jamie, Rob Ure was finding gaps and picking some great support lines,
Dan Coulter, another genuine open side back rower, was winning ball and being a real nuisance. McDevitt and Robinson were making space for the backs to run through and Rory Scott duly obliged when space opened up inside his opposite number ten. He darted 30 metres to the line, only to be tackled, but the ever-present Ure took the ball over for the score. 12-24 and game on.
Muir very much in the ascendancy now and doing what the coaches asked and picking and going around the edges. They soon found another gap in the Melrose defence as they worked hard to gain yards. On top of the ball over the try line was Ollie James who came on in his ow familiar position of second row.
The speed and depth that Muir have is paying dividends - and with Arran Wilson also on - Muir were far more agile and elusive than Melrose. 19-24 and Muir got ball from the kick off and attacked again. Brown in the centre, Kororua on at 15 but playing like a back rower picking and going, Wilson through a gap. BIG Ross Young clearing a path for Rob Ure to get his second of the day on the 39th minute. Melrose were certainly giving it all and ground out a penalty under our posts and took the three points on offer. Probably the right thing to do to win a game, but the way this game was being played and the standard and skills that both teams were showing meant it would have been apt if they ran it or kicked to the corner.
However, 24-27 and 1 minute to go and the game seemingly lost. Kick off and Muir chased, jumped and got the ball back. They controlled it, ran it and hit it up to the Melrose try line. Somehow Melrose held out after 8 phases of tight pick and go's and got a turnover to ensure the victory was theirs.
What a game and what a spirit it was played in. As noted MIM was Rob Ure who scurried around the field all day long but let’s pay respect to all the other players in that squad. Some highlights for the coaches would be;- Ross Young coming on in the 2nd half after a 5 hour drive from the North of Scotland and driving the scrum backwards 10 metres (only for a poor refereeing decision to penalise him).
Mike Brown, with the hit of the day, followed by getting up and making the second tackle from the offload. Ben Renton with some great feet and powerful runs. Dan Coulter with a tampon up his nose for a bleed that would not stop! Prop Ali Ironside and Hooker Keir Henderson stepping up and showing they can more than hold their own at this level. Rory Scott with some amazing breaks and control of the game.
But for me, it was a strength in depth of a squad that showed it has ability and determination and is learning week in week out. Competition is strong and players are pushing from below, and also to go above. More of that please boys... More of that!!