The turnover in playing resources from the equivalent game in Premier 1 last year was significant. Both sides have lost ambitious young players keen to continue in Premier 1 – Jack Steele and Andy Redmayne from Dundee are now at Hawks; Keith Buchan, Alex Henderson and George Turner from ‘Muir are now at Heriots, Jamie Swanson at Stirling and Damien Hoyland at Melrose.
Boroughmuir appear to have adjusted the quicker of the two teams to this turnover, with a great record in the first half of the season. But on this showing Dundee have got their mojo back and will be challenging for promotion again by the end of the season.
Despite a strong wind, blowing down the pitch into the Dundee faces in the first half, both sides sought to play an adventurous high-paced game with speed on the ball, and quick offloads. Dundee took the lead after 12 minutes with a fine forwards effort that veteran Chris Cumming (who had a great game) finished off. Boroughmuir responded quickly with a similar try from Kiwi hooker Cal Davies.
But then Dundee put clear blue water between the teams with 2 fine tries out wide. Firstly, Callum Bowie coming in off his wing, switched play with Andy Dymock beautifully to wrong foot the defence, and then Bryce Hosie, kicked & chased his own clearance kick 40m down field into the wind, reached the bouncing ball first, before cutting in off his left foot to beat the covering defence and to score the try of the match (and possibly of the month) under the posts. Hosie converted both kicks to give the hosts a 19-5 half time lead.
Boroughmuir brought on Greig Scott and Andy Rose (just back from skippering Zimbabwe) early in the second half, along with debutant 10 Ben Cooper (Scotland U20’s) but any hopes this replacement army might pull the game back for them, were dashed when Nick Alston sliced through glaring holes in the Muir defence twice in 8 minutes to push Dundee’s tally to 31 (with another Hosie conversion). Boroughmuir eventually secured a four-try bonus point themselves, with tries by Ed Farquharson, Ian Moody, and Johnny Adams, but unable to convert any of them, they never really threatened the Dundee win.
For Dundee, New Zealander Hosie looks a fine footballing import at 15, while McKavanagh and Harland are typical of the kind of Irish students Dundee regularly pick up from the university. In the week Dundee High School reached the schools cup final, it was good to see former pupils, Ant Kent and Scott Burnett, back in the city after sojourns elsewhere and putting in a good shift in the front row. Meanwhile Richie McIver, continues to stride around the park with a Sam Warburton-like frame. What is it that the Southern Hemisphere back row imports at Edinburgh this year have, that McIver doesn’t have?
For Boroughmuir, Alex Cox has been a big presence this year in the centre, and the width Ben Cooper managed to put on the ball once he took up the pivot 10 position, suggests there might be even more to come him as the season progresses. Ian Moody got better as the game went on, and after a long injury break he could be an important player for them in the run in. 18 year old Magnus Bradbury, an Edinburgh EDP player, looks to have a fine athletic physique, and with his tackling and clearout work didn’t look out of place at this level, but for me he didn’t get himself on the ball enough to exert any real influence on the game.
Finally, a word for young referee Sam Grove White. He yellow carded home favourite, Alan Brown after just 5 minutes, and had to endure a few calls for yellows to be given to Boroughmuir players to even things up. He resisted, and produced a fast flowing game, with good steady scrum engagement, and effective clearing out at the rucks. Possibly the best refereeing performance I’ve seen this season and he definitely contributed to this entertaining game.