Report by Chris Evans
Boroughmuir 2nds 22 Selkirk A 17
Boroughmuir 2nds were hopeful of completing a full eighty minutes of rugby, after last weeks unfortunate and unusual premature end to the game against Stirling County. Last weeks referee suffered a bad head knock after colliding with Jordan Webster. With the dangerous Webster playing for the firsts this weekend, the match official for the Selkirk game resisted the temptation to sport a head guard and gumshield.
The 2nds hosted second from bottom Selkirk in a Friday night game under the Meggetland floodlights. The starting side had a familiar feel to it, with only a few changes in the backs. Chris Whitelock and Chris Evans were promoted from the Bears, while scrum-half Andy Watt was given a run-out for the 2nds after limited game time for the firsts in recent weeks.
‘Muir started the match the stronger side and soon exerted territorial advantage with some good kicks behind the Selkirk defence. However, with ball in hand ‘Muir were a little frantic and a lack of support at the breakdown led to penalties being conceded or possession being turned over.
In wet conditions, ‘Muir were struggling to play their usual expansive style but as the half wore on they adapted and played a more forward dominated game. Number 8 Liam Mitchell was impressive, making some powerful runs in the midfield, and alongside him his back-row partners Greg Jones and Mike Banks were never far in support.
On fifteen minutes ‘Muir were able to open the score with a good try. A ruck on the S twenty-two, saw full-back Rab Cairns pick and go. Cairns managed to stay on his feet and hooker Stu Clark ripped the ball from his team-mate. With two men to beat Clark side stepped them both and raced in for a tremendous finish. Centre Graeme Blackhall stepped up to convert the try.
For the remainder of the first half ‘Muir struggled to build the phases to build on Clark’s opening try. Selkirk enjoyed greater possession as the half progressed and ‘Muir were guilty of missing too many first up tackles, with only the impressive Banks seemingly able to tackle around the legs. Shortly before the break Selkirk clawed back ‘Muir’s lead with a penalty kick.
Coaches Neil McCallum and Andy Knight were disappointed with the lacklustre showing of their side in the first half, but encouraged the players to improve discipline in defence and be more clinical in attack.
A long-range penalty from Blackhall early in the second half restored the seven point lead for ‘Muir. Ten minutes later, ‘Muir added a second try with arguably the highlight of the game. A series of good phases took ‘Muir to half-way and gave the backs some good go-forward ball. Quick hands in the midfield found the ball to outside centre Rory Scott, who took off on a blistering arching run, beating his opposite number and then drawing the full-back to put a pin-point pass into the hands of Greg Jones who showed great pace to scorch past the Selkirk winger and score under the posts. Evans converted the try.
‘Muir had a number of other chances to add to this score, in particular young winger Jordan Edmunds setting off on a number of exciting runs to cause all sorts of problems for the Selkirk defence. They ultimately came too nothing and ‘Muir soon became their own worst enemies, with missed tackles and penalties creeping back into their game.
Selkirk capitalised on this and with a strong set-piece they piled on the pressure on the home side. Two converted tries in quick succession, meant Selkirk were now level and it looked increasingly likely it would be one of those forgettable games for ‘Muir.
However, the ‘Muir replacements gave the side a renewed energy. In particular back-row replacements Luke Tarry and Lynton Brinck put in some crunching hits, that allowed ‘Muir to turn over the ball and then gain territory deep in the Selkirk half. Brinck then claimed the winning try when he touched down after a good driving maul from the forwards.
Selkirk launched one more attack but this time ‘Muir's defence stood firm and they were able to see out the game and record a 22-17 win.
Although this was far from a perfect performance from the 2nds, there are a lot of positives to be taken from the game. The scrum continues to be a strong asset for ‘Muir with props Paul Richards and captain Ross Young proving a match for anyone at the coal face. Also, there are a number of strong ball carriers in the team with the likes of Liam Mitchell and Jamie Scott in the forwards and Jordan Edmunds and Rab Cairns in the backs. When they show composure and accuracy in attack ‘Muir can score some good tries and this was typified with the outstanding score created by Rory Scott and finished by Greg Jones.
Next week the 2nds host Glasgow Hawks and will hope to repeat their early season demolition of their opponents.