Author: Alan Dymock

Dundonian Alan has played rugby all over the world for various teams including Dundee High School, Heriot's and the Scottish Club International. Now writing from London he covers all issues international and unreported.

Premier 1 round-up

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Good old Scotland! Once again the fixture list was all but wiped out at the weekend as only one match in Prem 1 survived.

Stewart’s Melville 22-53 Heriot’s
at Inverleith

In the end this was a bit of a drubbing, and had Stew Mel coach Moffat conceeding, “There isn’t a lot of pressure on us now. I think it’s fairly inevitable that we are going down so in that respect it’s just about us performing and trying to bring through some young players.”

 Stew Mel were the better team, though, in the first 15 minutes or so. They put pace onto the ball and generated momentum from the first kick-off. Ker supplied Marshall well and between them they picked their holes in the first 5 of the game, creating two tries and instilling a sense of bewilderment in the Away side. Luckily for the men in blue and white they didn’t panic. The rest of the first half saw them look after the ball and their forwards made sure the Nails backline had a platform for the rest of the game. Marshall, Ker and Henry all had accomplished games but in the end the disparity in fitness and creativity seemed to shine through. There were  too many tries from Heriot’s to analyse each one (although the pick of the bunch was ‘CJ’ Osazuwa’s rangy slide across the pitch to pop to Douglas for an easy finish).    

 Without a bonus point for Stew Mel are certain to go down but, as Moffat says, they can still enjoy themselves and with the quality they possess will most likely bounce straight back up after a season in Prem 2 (if the leagues retain their current format!)   

Stewart’s Melville: R Borthwick; A Cox, H Lingard, C Marshall, L Steele; S Ker, R Patterson; A Edmonstone, C Mackintosh, R Grant, B Leathes, S Brewster, B Tweedie, L Calder, P Hendry.
Replacements Used: A Statham, S Blackwood, C Sutherland, A Lean, J Gordon.
Heriot’s: C Goudie; B Roberts, M Nimmo, R Mill, A Douglas; R Hutton, G Wilson; A Dymock, S Burnett, W Blacklock, C Osazuwa, P O’Connor, P Eccles, C Fusaro, J Syme.
Replacements Used: F Gillies, M Welch, J Hill, J Alston, G Rutherford.

Scoring Summary
Stewart’s Melville Ker (2), Steele; Cons: Ker (2); Pen: Ker.
Heriot’s Douglas, Roberts, O’Connor (2), Goudie, Syme (2), Gillies; Cons: Wilson (5); Pen: Wilson.
SRB Man of the Match: B Roberts

That’s your lot, I’m afraid!

Premier 1 games this weekend

Games on;

Stewart’s Melville – Heriot’s
at Inverleith (ko 3pm)

Glasgow Hawks – Edinburgh Accies 
at Old Anniesland (ko 3pm)

Dundee High – Boroughmuir
at Mayfield (ko 3pm)

West of Scotland – Currie
at Burnbrae (ko 3pm)

Selkirk – Ayr
at Philiphaugh (ko 3pm)

SRB Game of the Weekend: Melrose – Watsonians
at The Greenyards (ko 2.30pm)

Having lost convincinglyagainst Heriot’s last week the ‘Rose will be hoping to bounce back against a Watsonians side refreshed by their first home victory of the season. Both of these sides thrive when running into a broken field so the tactical awareness of Wight and Ker could prove pivotal. Melrose will be wanting to explode into the game from the start, while Watsons will most likely look to build a game. ‘Sonians have had difficulty killing off opponents this season and if Melrose edge in front they could hold on til the end of the game, regardless of ‘Sonians renewed belief. The loss of influencial line-out specialist Mark Rennie cannot help the Edinburgh side, either. Let’s hope this one builds to an exciting finish.

Players to watch: Melrose’s James King and Watsonians Jonny Pelter

Club International squad announced

The Scotland Club International 22-man squad has been announced for their game against France on the 5th of Feb. at Netherdale, Gala. Having lost narrowly 13-12 in the reverse fixture last season the team are hoping to do one better. Being only the second time these teams have met anything can happen and the Scottish Club team have never lost on home soil. With a 7.30 KO, entry will be FREE on the night.

Scotland Club International squad to play France: Fraser Harkness (Selkirk), Fraser Thomson (Melrose), Malcolm Clapperton (Boroughmuir), Jamie Hunter (Ayr), James King (Melrose), Callum Anderson (Melrose), Andrew MacMahon (Currie), Scott Wight (Melrose), Richard Snedden (Currie), Alan Dymock (Heriots), Gregor Wood (Watsonians), Gordon Reid (Ayr), Scott Burnett (Heriots), Alastair Hamilton (Currie), Alan Brown (Dundee), Damien Kelly (Ayr), Scott Sutherland (Ayr), Rory McKay (Hawks), John Dalziel CAPTAIN (Melrose), Mark Cairns (Currie), Paul Burke (Ayr), Ross Weston (Currie)

The starting XV will be named next week…

 Future fixtures;
 Friday 19 March – Ireland v Scotland club international (Donnybrook, kick-off 7pm)

Up for a Cup?

With six games left in the season and it looking increasingly like the title race is one being run by two horses one could be excused for looking beyond league proceedings. Stew Mel, I’m sure, would love to forget about league duties! Even the Cup looks to have become less of factor in premier clubs thinking. My brother and I could argue for hours about this. Sure it is still a huge event and obviously it is a massive honour to end your season on the big pitch at Murrayfield, but with fewer teams (Premier 1,2 and 3 only) competing for the Cup it can take less effort over a season to get there. If you win one game you’re into the quarter finals. So what is the result of this?

Suddenly more eyes are turning towards the British and Irish Cup. This season has been given more significance for certain amateurs because they have had an opportunity to measure themselves against professional players. Having played in a couple of games in the B&I Cup with Heriot’s I have enjoyed it but in some facets of the game, not all, it is difficult to compete with full time professionals. Playing against Coventry, a team that at the time of our game was complaining of over training with two sessions a day, four days a week, we competed in terms of skill, creativity and endeavour. Where we fell down was that we simply weren’t as big as our opposition, or as ‘collision-drilled’. This is to say that we weren’t able to stop the constant pounding of a massive English rucking game. This, it seems, will continue to afflict any amateur team facing a mature pro counterpart.

While both club teams have been competitive, Ayr winning against Rotherham and Heriot’s running Nottingham close, it is evident that Scottish club players are capable of out playing full time opposition. However, it is no great shock that Scotland’s player base has the depth of a teaspoon. If rumours are to be believed then the SRU fully intends to increase Scottish participation in the B&I Cup to four teams. How could teams, by definition, of less quality than the top two teams in Prem 1 be as competitive? There just aren’t enough players in our country. In order to compete with Welsh, Irish and, in particular, English teams we definitely don’t have enough monsters. So what should we do to contend on four fronts in the B&I Cup?

If you are a fan of club rugby most of you will be effing and blinding at your screen (much as if you were watching yet  another rolling maul from Munster in the HC). The majority, it appears, want a return of the district teams. And why not?! If you want better players in certain positions for one team, pick from the best nearby. If the current league finishes the way it is now then the top four will comprise of a representative from the North (Dundee), the South (Melrose), the East (Currie) and the West (Ayr), anyway, showing how combative each region already is.

If the Scotland Club International has shown us anything it’s that amateur players relish the opportunity to play as near as they can get to their dream level:  with a thistle on their chest. A lucky few have also propelled themselves into the professional ranks via the Club International. The same could happen through the districts. Surely the ultimate aim of teams like the Club International is to provide Scotland with more potential internationalists. If there is, say, a quality young player at West of Scotland who is never seen by Sean Lineen but could make the step up to pro rugby then they may never get the chance to prove themselves, more than once, at a higher level while Ayr and Ayr alone represent the West in the B&I Cup. Let players prove themselves. Sure there will be inter club politics but there always is anyway. There may be grumblings from the National Academy but just let Academy guys and unused  pros play for the region of the club they are drafted to.

 What harm can bringing back the districts do? If I was certain to finish mid-table with my club and no prospects of a Club International cap I would be crying out for a chance to play district rugby. Hell, if I was getting relegated I’d still want a district call!

Prem 1 round-up

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Edinburgh Accies 5-29 Currie
at Raeburn Place

Edinburgh Accies: S Moffat, M Coupar, G Douglas, R Browne, C Dickie, R Bonner, J Letham, D McLeod, M Strachan, L Niven, E Stuart, M Stevens, D Teague, T Drennan, G Campbell.
Replacements Used: S Patience, D Wright, R Snape, P Arnold, G Peoples.
Currie: G White, W Moala, C Kinloch, A MacMahon, S Forrest, J Smith, R Snedden, J Cox, N Scobie, A Hamilton, A Adam, R Wilson, S Burton, J Thomson, R Weston.
Replacements Used: A Reekie, G Scott, M Cairns, S Walker, I Downie.

Scoring Summary
Edinburgh Accies Try: Letham.
Currie Tries: Hamilton, Penalty, Weston, Moala, Wilson. Cons: Smith (2).
SRB Man of the Match: R Weston

Heriot’s 28-16 Melrose
at Goldenacre

Heriot’s: J Alston; C Goudie, M Nimmo, R Mill, A Douglas; R Hutton, G Wilson; W Blacklock, S Burnett, M Welch P Eccles, P OConnor, J Syme, C Fusaro, M Lee.
Replacements Used: F Gillies, JP Ward, C Osazuwa, S Dewar, G Rutherford
Melrose: F Thomson; C Anderson, J Murray, J King, B Allen; S Wight, S McCormick; A Gillie, R Ferguson, K Cooney, G Dodds, G Elder, J Dalzell, N McTaggart, R Miller.
Replacements Used: W Mitchell, P Southern, B Runciman, C Jackson, A Dodds.

Scoring Summary
Heriot’s Tries: Goudie, Douglas 2. Cons: Wilson 2.
Melrose Try: Mitchell. Con: Wight. Pens: Wight 3.
SRB Man of the Match: M Lee

Watsonians 16-13 Dundee
at Myreside

Watsonians: M Ker; G Somerville, D Brown, C Sorbie, A Rowe; J Forbes, J Blackwood; D O’Connell, G Wood, K Coertze, M Rennie, T Weizman, J Pelter, H Grant, G Callander.
Replacements Used: C Masson, G Scott, N Tunnah, M Henderson, N Montgomery.
Dundee: A Horton; M Smith, H Duthie, L Graham, R Lemon; B Jones, A Dymock; N Dymock, J Clark, A Brown, C Cumming, R Hawkins, R Gray, S McKee, G Ryan.
Replacements Used: S Dreyer, M Brown.

Scoring Summary
Watsonians Tries: Grant, Ker. Pens: Forbes 2.
Dundee Try: Duthie. Pens: Jones 2. Con: Horton.
SRB Man of the Match: H Grant

West of Scotland 34-25 Selkirk
at Burnbrae

West of Scotland: C David; A Park, P Murchie, J Kerr, R Dalgleish; C Thwaites, M McConnell; E McLaren, G Bulloch, C Johnston, M Jenkinson, R McAlpine, J Walker, D Young, G Fisken.
Replacements Used: D McKenna, R Kelso, A Kennedy, G Dempsey.
Selkirk: F Harkness; D Clapperton, S Hendrie, R Nixon, L Jones; G Craig, M McVie; G Paterson, D Grieve, M Murray, R Aglen, S Willett, N Darling, C Johnston, A Renwick.
Replacements Used: D Moussa, J Smyth, S Forrest, R Taylor.

Scoring Summary
West of Scotland Tries: McLaren 2, Young 2, Fisken. Cons: Davis 3. Pen: Davis.
Selkirk Tries: Murray, Hendrie, Harkness, Moussa. Con: Hendrie. Pen: Hendrie.
SRB Man of the Match: D Young

Boroughmuir 8-19 Glasgow Hawks
at Meggetland

Boroughmuir: S Ruddick; R Cairns, M Clapperton, G Blackhall, E Mills; G Cottrell, C Cusiter; F Lait, S McMurchy, B Ross, G Scott, N Patrick, M Stalley, J Doubleday, E Mathieson.
Replacements Used: J Va’a, L Brinck, P Cronin, S McGee, M Hare.
Glasgow Hawks: C Shaw; R Hair, I Noble, G Harkness, K Gossman; D Weir, C Gossman; G Strain, E Milligan, N Cox, C Kerr, A Kirkland, R Hamilton, R McKay, G Strang.
Replacements Used: J Stafford, R Niven, J MacLay, P Jericevich, M Adamson.

Scoring Summary
Boroughmuir Try: Lait. Pen: Blackhall.
Glasgow Hawks Try: Kerr. Con: Weir. Pens: Weir (3) Adamson.
SRB Man of the Match: D Weir

SRB Game of the Weekend:
Ayr 66-15 Stewart’s-Melville

at Millbrae

Well I was right about one thing: this was a hell of a game! It’s not every weekend you see 13 tries. However, my call of a close game seemed not to reach those in Ayr as the forwards ran riot with ball in hand. Stew Mel played rugby (they always do) but seemed to struggle with Ayr’s physicality. Stew Mel don’t have long to accrue more points and it’s getting close to squeeky bum time for both these teams.

Ayr: D Steele; S Manning, M Stewart, R Curle, J McClung; F Climo, J Hunter; G Reid, P MacArthur, G Sykes, D Kelly, S Sutherland, P Burke, A Dunlop, G Tippett.
Replacements Used: S Fenwick, S Adair, S Nimmo, C Taylor, A J MacFarlane.
Stewart’s-Melville: R Borthwick; A Cox, H Lingard, C Marshall, L Steele; S Ker, R Paterson; A Edmonstone, S Blackwood, R Merrilees, B Leathes, S Brewster, B Tweedie, L Calder, P Hendry.
Replacements Used: A Statham, C Mackintosh, J Kynoch, R Sutherland, H Boisseau.

Scoring Summary
Ayr Tries: P Burke (3), R Curle(2) D Steele, S Fenwick, A Wilson, D Kelly, F Climo. Conversions: Climo (8).
Stewart’s-Melville Tries: B Tweedie, P Hendry, B Leathes.
SRB Man of the Match: P Burke

Premier 1 games this weekend

Games on:

Edinburgh Accies – Currie
at Raeburn Place (ko 2pm)

Boroughmuir – Glasgow Hawks
at Meggetland (ko 3pm)

Watsonians – Dundee High
at Myreside (ko 3pm)

Heriot’s – Melrose
at Goldenacre (ko 2pm)

West of Scotland – Selkirk
at Burnbrae (ko 2pm pitch inspection at 9am- check www.westofscotlandfc.co.uk for details)

SRB Game of the Weekend: Ayr – Stewart’s Melville
at Millbrae (ko 3pm)

Ayr are back in action after a week off and are looking to maintain their title challenge. Meanwhile, Stew Mel are hoping to avenge last weeks touch-and-go 11 point defeat to West. Having run Ayr close last time out at Inverleith this should be a lot more competitve than some would think. Expect a confrontation from the first whistle.

Players to watch: Stew Mel’s Hayden Lingard and Ayr’s Mark Stewart

Prem 1 Round-up and Club International News

There were only 3 games on in premier 1 this weekend (16th) as the weather continues to ravage the club rugby calendar. Only Raeburn Place and Inverleith were playable and Dundee had to move from their home at Mayfield to Dalnacraig across the road.

Stewart’s Melville 33 – 44 West of Scotland
at Inverleith

Stewart’s Melville: R Borthwick; M Doneghan, H Lingard, C Marshall, A Cox; S Ker, R Patterson; R Merrilees, S Blackwood, C Phillips, B Leathes, S Brewster, B Tweedie, L Calder, P Hendry. Subs used: J Charles, C Mackintosh, J Kynoch, L Steele, E Clark.
West of Scotland: B Wright; A Park, R Dalgleish, J Kerr, G Dempsey; C Davis, M McConnell; E McLaren, G Bulloch, C Johnston, M Jenkinson, R McAlpine, J Walker, D Young, G Fisken. Subs used: I Keith, S Malone.

Scorers: Stewart’s Melville: Tries – Marshall, Borthwick, Steele. Cons – Ker (3). Pens – Ker (4). West of Scotland: Tries – Walker, McConnell (3), Jenkinson, Fisken, Dalgleish, McLaren. Cons – Davis (2).
SRB Man of the Match
: M McConnell

Edinburgh Accies 12 – 29 Boroughmuir
at Raeburn Place

Edinburgh Accies: G Douglas; M Coupar, I Berthinussen, S Wilson, C Dickie; R Bonner, D Duffus; S Patience, M Strachan, L Niven, E Stuart, G Campbell, R Snape, D Teague, T Drennan. Subs used: D McLeod, M Stevens, J Pecqueur.
Boroughmuir: S Ruddick; E Mills, M Clapperton, G Blackhall, R Cairns; G Cottrell, C Cusiter; N Fraser, S McMurchy, B Ross, N Patrick, G Scott, M Stalley, L Brinck, J Doubleday. Subs used: F Lait, P Cronin, E Matheson, S McGhee, D Murray.

Scorers: Edinburgh Accies: Tries: Teague, Strachan. Con: Douglas. Boroughmuir: Tries: Clapperton 2, Mills, Lait. Pen: Blackhall. Cons: Blackhall 3
SRB Man of the Match: M Clapperton

Dundee HSFP 13 – 8 Heriot’s
at Dalnacraig

Dundee HSFP: A Horton, M Smith, H Duthie, L Graham, A Hay, B Jones, A Dymock, N Dymock, J Clark, A Brown, C Cumming, R Hawkins, R Gray, G Ryan, S McKee
Heriot’s: J Alston, A Douglas, M Nimmo, R Mill, C Goudie, G Rutherford, G Wilson, M Welch, K Bryce, W Blacklock, M Reid, P O’Connor, P Eccles, C Fusaro, J Syme

Scorers: Dundee: Tries: McKee Con: Jones. Pen: Jones (2). Heriot’s: Tries: Douglas. Pen: Wilson
SRB Man of the Match: S McKee

Scotland Clubs 19-0 Scotland U-20s

Meanwhile, the remainder of club players deemed good enough were made available to the Club International coaches for a match against Scotland U-20s at Dunbar. By all accounts it was a game that the U-20s were bullied in but with many players due to come back for their home nations games they are likely prove more competitive.

Scotland Clubs XV: F Harkness (Selkirk); C Anderson (Melrose), J Murray (Melrose), J King (Melrose), F Thomson (Melrose); S Wight (Melrose), R Snedden (Currie); G Reid (Ayr), S Burnett (Heriot’s), A Hamilton (Currie), D Kelly (Ayr), R McKay (Glasgow Hawks), J Dalziel (Melrose), P Burke (Ayr), R Weston (Currie). Subs used: J Cox (Currie), S Sutherland (Ayr), A Dunlop (Ayr), G Wood (Watsonians), J Hunter (Glasgow Hawks), S Hendrie (Selkirk), A McMahon (Currie), A Reekie (Currie).
Scotland U20: T Brown (Edinburgh Acads); R Drummond (Edinburgh Acads), O Grove (Worcester), M Scott (Currie), D Fyfe (Currie); R Aitken (Howe of Fife), A Black (Leeds Carnegie); C Owensen (Heriot’s), A Walker (Currie), J Low (GHA), R Harley (West of Scotland), A Hall (Newcastle Falcons), C Thomson (Loughborough University), C Stidston-Nott (London Scottish), S McInally (Watsonians). Subs used: L Pettie (Melrose), G Hunter (Glasgow Hawks), L Gibson (Melrose), C Taylor (Glasgow Hawks), M Fedo (Watsonians), A Kirkland (Glasgow Hawks), R Sutherland (Stewart’s-Melville), K Grossman (Glasgow Hawks), D Gilmour (Stirling County).

Scorers: Scotland Clubs: Tries: Burke, Anderson, Harkness. Cons: Wight (2).
SRB Man of the Match: R McKay (Glasgow Hawks)

Bring in the reinforcements!

Panic seems to have hit Martin Johnson. Shontayne Hape?! Well we’re used to this in Scotland.   Every time Scotland sees a decline in talent in certain positions there seems to be a desperate snatch for anyone Scots qualified, by the SRU. While some might question Andy Robinson’s desire to put in a long term plan for Scottish youth there is almost something admirable in his declaration of interest in the long-term progress of Ayr’s Frazier Climo: a man not eligible for Scotland until 2012. Then there is Dan Parks.

The much derided stand-off has been written off more times than his motor (allegedly), but he keeps coming back for more. As Phil Godman struggled to kick himself out of his shadow and was constantly caught with the ball in his hands during the 1872 cup matches against Glasgow, his opposite man, Parks, had put the ball wherever he wanted and ran the game with metronomic rhythm.

While this may have delighted Glasgow fans you could hear the rest of Scotland groaning. Perhaps not because Parks was back in the frame for a Scotland call up but because the transitional period is set to continue at 10, for us. Parks has, at pro level, the ability to control a game but with rumours he is only interested in reaching a 50th cap and his attentions soon turning to Cardiff’s fortunes the future seems unsure.

This creates an interesting situation. Many believe that Kiwi Climo will slide into Parks’ vacated position at Glasgow while calls to sign up Hutton are increasing in Edinburgh. Every outcome suggests a few more unsure years for the fans regarding the Scottish fly-half berth. While it is obvious that the SRU have no problems bringing in a ‘foreign’ player for the two pro teams it creates a fascinating precedent. Do we really want another situation where a Matt Mustchin is called up for a Scotland tour because no young Scottish players are deemed good enough? Do we want another like Boroughmuir’s Fergus Pringle playing on tour for Scotland ‘A’, maybe the most developmental stage of Scottish international rugby, while talented, if not a little inexperienced, kids stay at home like a few seasons ago?

This situation possibly says more about the state of the pro set-up in Scotland, but it is also true that the infiltration of ‘foreign’ players is evident in all aspects of the Scottish game. Almost every premier club in Scotland has at least one player who is not Scottish qualified. Some teams have more than three every game. What this means is that a disparity occurs. If we are being honest, players like Hutton, Jackson, David Blair and even Climo are too good to play amateur rugby every week but what is coming up behind them is not encouraging. What’s more, most clubs are more interested in league positions, cups and getting one over their rivals. Some cynics can say there is not as much concern about strengthening Scotland as a nation as much as there is an internalized drive to make ‘my club’ stronger. There could be some substance to this. Of course there is the by-product of younger players learning from experienced foreigners. This helps, but it becomes much harder when the best Scottish talents are whisked away by the SRU, or worse, head down south to earn their stripes because there are no places north of Hadrian’s dyke.

The age old shocker of a question arises: what the hell do we do?!

Finally, I’ve known a few overseas players who have landed on their feet in this country. What would I do in their situation if I was asked to play for Scotland? Alex Tait is thinking about it. Even if I had a silver fern tattooed on my arse would I take the cap/pay rise/accolades? Maybe. On Tuesday Paul Tito said “If Wales were in massive dire, dire need I’d probably have a think about it [playing for them].” Doesn’t sound like a definite NO, does it?

What would you do?