By Denis Welch
Boroughmuir High School made the long trip to the banks of the Moray Firth to play Gordonstoun on the Brewin Dolphin National Plate Quarter Final.
The match was very much a trip into the unknown for Boroughmuir. Gordonstoun were undefeated and as a result sit tem points clear at the top of the Caledonia North League. With no real knowledge of what to expect the Muir coaches concentrated on setting the team up to play to their strengths and to see how Gordonstoun coped.
An early arrival, followed by a good warm up, enabled Muir to settle quickly taking the ball up at pace and with great intensity. The first few minutes turned out to be a snap shot of the rest of the match.
Ben Frazer snaffled Gordonstoun’s first line out throw and the ball was moved quickly from one side of the field to the other. The ruck was won quickly, a fast ball was called for, Michael Sinclair and Paul Macari spotted a forward in the middle of the defensive line, a mismatch they exploited to good effect and although neither made it to the line, Jack Robertson did as he picked up from the ruck and plunged over from close range (0-5).
The second try came from a scrum which Muir won against the head, something which, together with winning most of Gordonstoun’s lineout ball, became a feature of the game. Making use of the wide pitch a decoy run back inside enabled Sinclair to put Macari clear and he made light work of beating the fullback to touch down. Sean Gilligan added the extra points (0-12).
Further pressure from the pack, who were completely out playing their much bigger opposition, resulted in a penalty award in front of the posts. Gilligan obliged to take the score to 0-15.
Boroughmuir continued to dominate the forward exchanges playing with great intensity. Callum Keane affected turnover after turnover as well as dominating the line out on his own ball. David Mitchell, well served by Frances Webb, steered Muir around the pitch making sure that the game was played almost exclusively in the opposition half.
A sequence of five or six fast rucks provided the quick ball needed to give Jamie Hamilton the chance to show his pace as he outstripped the defence only to be dragged down short of the line Robertson was once again in the right place at the right time to claim his second try of the day. Once again Gilligan added the conversion. Half-Time 0-22.
There was little change in the second half, Boroughmuir’s pack continued to dominate, the backs had far too much pace and physicality for their opposite numbers and what little ball Gordonstoun did secure was slow and usually on the back foot. This was clearly demonstrated when Gordonstoun tried to run a ball from their own half, they were quickly wrapped up and Jacob Beckmann emerged from the Gordonstoun side of the maul and raced off to score between the posts. Gilligan converted (0-29).
Further tries followed from Sean Gilligan and Alex Farren neither of which was converted (0-39).
Late in the game Gordonstoun finally forced their way into the Boroughmuir twenty two, and took advantage of some slack defence as Muir turned their backs on a penalty which, taken quickly exposed the defence and their winger squeezed into the corner.
This was by far the best performance of Boroughmuir season. The key to the game was the intensity with which the game was played, the control from half back, plus the right combination of when to take the ball up and when to go wide.
Final score: 5-39 to Boroughmuir High School
Tries; Robertson (2), Macari, Beckmann, Gilligan, Farren. Cons; Gilligan 3. Pen; Gilligan
Team: Gilligan, (Robertson) Hamilton, Macari, Sinclair, Steele (Farren 65), Mitchell, Webb, Henderson (Muir), Robertson J, Maidment (Patterson), Frazer (Price), Le Riche (Lawson), Keane (Alexander), Beckmann, Finlayson