Story by Denis Welch
Boroughmuir High School v The Royal High School
Boroughmuir High School and The Royal High School met at Meggetland in a repeat of the 2013, U18 Brewin Dolphin Plate Final.
On winning the toss and with one eye on the forecast we elected to play into the strong breeze. Whilst the expected rain didn’t arrive until close to the final whistle it still proved to be a good decision as it seemed to focus the pack on gaining and retaining possession as well as quickly closing down the Royal halfbacks.
Royal, who made surprisingly little use of the wind, suffered an early set back when Ross McCann had to leave the field with a back injury.
Throughout the first half we dominated possession and territory and it was no surprise when Sean Gilligan gave us an early lead with a cleverly struck penalty hitting it low and hard into the wind. Our set piece was performing extremely well both in the scrum and lineout.
The tight five were well on top and stole a number of strikes against the head, whilst a combination of poor drills from Royal and some great steals continually disrupted their lineout.
Although having a continual stream of ball we failed to make beat use of it. Too often the ball was taken up once or twice too often, sometimes resulting in a turnover or just producing slow ball allowing Royal’s defence to regroup. When we did go wide our passing and alignment was poor meaning that we couldn’t make use of the pace we have.
Despite these problems we never looked like conceding any points and following a turnover and some concerted pressure we deservedly went further ahead with a well taken try by Michael Sinclair.
Half Time Muir 8- Royal 0.
The second half followed a similar pattern although Royal being forced to chase the game ran the ball more freely and whilst not causing major problems did compete more effectively. We made the same mistake as they did - making very little use of the strong wind. When we did make progress into the Royal half we did at least make then pay with two well taken penalties from Sean Gilligan to stretch our lead to 14 points.
Royal became increasingly desperate trying to run everything but our defensive line and some outstanding individual tackles especially from Ben Frazer kept them in check. An excellent kick to the corner by David Mitchell set the platform for our final score. Royal failed to clear their line from the penalty award and after a succession of rucks Paul Macari executed a wonderful “stop and go” breaking three tackles and taking another defender with him as he went over.
Sean added the extras before leaving the field injured.
There was just time for Royal to show us how to move the ball quickly when a break from a retreating scrum was carried forward at speed, the ball won quickly an instantly moved wide to the opposite wing for an easy score.
Final: Boroughmuir High 21 Royal High 5.
Team: Gilligan, (Robertson D 40-45, 65-70) Hamilton, Macari (White 60), Sinclair, Muir S (Farren 65), Mitchell, Orr, Henderson, Robertson J (Reid 60), Maidment (de Luca 67), Frazer, Keane, Beckmann (Lawson 40), McDevitt (Muir E 67), Finlayson