As everyone in Scotland is petrified of snowballs and the club game looks set to go into cold storage (awful, awful pun…) I suppose it is time to have THE debate. One that rages on, almost as passionately as the debate old bufties still have about pro rugby “being a terrible idea.” Yup, it’s that time; should we have Summer Rugby?!
Things round here are getting almost as combustible as a Fedex parcel on the 5th of November. Not to mention fairly complex. The Scotland squad have no idea how easy they’ve got it! Sure they have had to do days of “minging bosh” (Jim ‘The Bear’ Thompson) on a windswept park in St. Andrew but, then, they have everything neatly set out for them.
Like a startled cow, it’s time to stagger away from the debate over the Scotland 34 (how did they sneak another player into the squad?!) as this weekend sees Edinburgh take on an unbeaten Ulster and the Warriors attempt to overcome the Ospreys.
So in the end last week wasn’t so bad. Glasgow conquered the Dragons. Edinburgh where unlucky to lose (Thanks to the ‘Knee of God’). In Delhi Scotland just missed out on a semi-final place, and finished a respectable 6th. This is almost erring on the side of a positive week! Throw in some liberated miners, some fat-headed American tycoon-types getting chased out of Liverpool, and some posh people getting slagged off on the Apprentice. Yup…good week so far!
It’s a biggie, this weekend. Up and down the country rugby fans will become hermits, forget to wash and most likely forget about (OMG, GAMU!) Saturday night reality TV as the Heineken Cup starts up again.
Thankfully the national papers have already written our sides off, so we, the fans don’t have to think about it. Cheers. Maybe next year, eh? Oh…. We’ve been written off for that one, too?! Ok. Also, our Commonwealth 7s campaign starts on Monday. Tape it? Alright. Let’s just focus on our club rugby, then…
As the sporting World focuses in on Wales, we here at SRB like to keep it as insular as possible. No distractions; no half-measures; no common sense. Scottish Club rugby over International events. We aren’t interested unless it’s Craig Chalmers in the Popemobile, thank you very much!
So maybe we’ll need some divine intervention to separate the top teams in this division. While Watsonians and Selkirk prop up the league, everyone else (keep the faith, West!) has a realistic chance of making that top 8.
Premier 1 rugby is a bit of a family affair for me.
My father has served as President, Coach and Captain for Dundee HSFP. My two Brothers Andrew and Neil play scrum half and prop, respectively, for the same club. Myself, the black sheep of the family, I play prop for Heriot’s. I’m pretty sure my Mum hates rugby.
I’m an open-minded guy. I’ve tried sushi, and I even watched ‘The Proposal’ with my girlfriend, once.
So when I arrived in Canada to play rugby I did so without expectations. A good thing I did, too. Within my first two days I received cultural shocks; shocks that highlighted the differences, both rugby-related and social in nature, between New World rugby nations, and ‘established’ ones.
Sorry for the belated piece, guys; I’m currently playing rugby in Canada and have been enjoying, *ahem*, what North America has to offer. That is a report for another day, though…
So the Premier 1 season is done! Over! Finito! And what a surprising and refreshing season it has been for Scottish Club Rugby. With all the grumblings about the proposed changes to structure and format for the top divisions and whether it is what ‘amateur’ rugby needs, and a rumoured step away from an allegedly ailing cup competition perhaps it is a good time to reflect on the positives of this season.
Due to congestion a special fixture sits nestled in the middle of a busy fixture list. The match that should crown a glorious moment for one club at the end of the season will pit virgin finalists Ayr against cup specialists Melrose.
The semi-finals finished Melrose 31-8 Currie, and Ayr 23-14 Heriot’s. The final will be held on the 24th of this month, and while Ayr may be more confused than Caster Semenya, competing on two fronts, they will definitely be pumped for their first ever final against record-breaking finalists, Melrose.
This saturday sees the men’s semi’s (classic!) of the Scottish Hydro Premier Cup in which league leaders Currie travel south to face Melrose and Champions Ayr host cup holders Heriot’s. Both of these fixtures are interesting, to say the least. While it has been noted that the league’s trailblazers have been kept apart this does not necessarily mean that Currie and Ayr will play each other on the big pitch later this month.
A delayed roundup of last weekend’s premier 1 matches. Things are getting tight at the top as Hawks beat Dundee, Melrose got the win they had needed and every top half team is ravenously hunting for a top four spot rumoured to earn the highest placed teams a station in next years British and Irish Cup. Of course this is all supposition right now. Something that is true, however, is that Watsonians are staring into the relegation abyss after losing to Selkirk. It could come to the wire between them and fellow strugglers Accies but with two of their remaining games against Melrose and Hawks, things aren’t looking good for the men in maroon.
The frost claimed two matches on Saturday as big dogs Currie and Ayr had their respective games against Hawks and West called off. The latter, however, has caused somewhat of a stir. Ayr are claiming their ground was playable. The ref allegedly OKed their seconds pitch. So did John Beattie, by all accounts. The issue comes, though, when a group of ‘senior players’ from the West side apparently didn’t fancy taking to the turf. Cue some angry words from Ayr and no comment from West.
Here are the results from the games that went ahead:
Watsonians 26-13 Stewart’s Melville
Watsonians: J Forbes; A Rowe, D Brown, C Sorbie, M Learmonth; M Ker, J Blackwood; N Hart, G Walsh, K Coertze, H Grant, T Weizman, G Callander, N Dennis, M Fedo.
Replacements Used: S Trotter, G Scott, J Duthie, G Somerville, N Tunnah.
Stewart’s Melville: R Borthwick; M Doneghan, A Cox, C Marshall, J Gordon; R Grant, S Ker; J Charles, S Blackwood, R Merrilees, B Leathes, A Lean, B Tweedie, L Calder, R Sutherland.
Replacements Used: A Edmonstone, C MacIntosh, C Sutherland, A Fraser, C Williams.
Watsonians Tries: Callander, Blackwood, Rowe, Forbes. Cons: M Ker 3.
Stewart’s Melville Tries: Borthwick, Cox. Pen: S Ker.
SRB Man of the Match: G Callander
Heriot’s 44-20 Selkirk
Heriot’s: C Goudie; J Alston, M Nimmo, P Saunders, A Douglas; G Rutherford, G Wilson; A Dymock, F Gillies, W Blacklock, J Hill, C Osazuwa, M Lee, S Dewar, J Syme.
Replacements Used: S Burnett, J-P Ward, D Wallace, M Goldie, R Tran.
Selkirk: F Harkness; D Clapperton, S Hendrie, D Cassidy, L Jones; G Craig, M McVie; G Patterson, D Grieve, M Murray, R Aglen, S Willet, N Darling, C Johnston, A Renwick.
Replacements Used: R Nixon, S Forrest, D Moussa, R Taylor, J Smyth.
Heriot’s Tries: Goudie (2), Dymock (2), Syme, Alston. Cons: Wilson 4. Pens: Wilson 2.
Selkirk Tries: Aglen, Craig. Cons: Cassidy 2. Pens: Cassidy 2.
SRB Man of the Match: C Goudie
Boroughmuir 32-26 Melrose
Boroughmuir: S Ruddick; T Bury, M Clapperton, J Fish, E Mills; G Cottrell, C Cusiter; F Lait, S McMurchy, B Ross, G Scott, N Patrick, E Matheson, P Cronn, J Doubleday.
Replacements Used: N Fraser, J Va’a, M Stalley, R Cairns, G Blackhall.
Melrose: F Thomson; A Dodds, C Jackson, J King, B Allen; S Wight, S McCormick; K Cooney, L Gibson, N Beavon, G Dodds, G Elder, J Dalziel, G Runciman, R Miller.
Replacements Used: R Ferguson, R Higgins, N McTaggart, J Murray, C Anderson.
Boroughmuir Tries: McMurchy, Doubleday (2), Va’a, Fish. Cons: Blackhall (2), Pen: Blackhall.
Melrose Tries: Runciman, Allen, Anderson, Murray. Cons: Wight (3).
SRB Man of the Match: J Fish
Edinburgh Accies 19-40 Dundee HSFP
at Raeburn Place
Edinburgh Accies: S Moffat; D Rattray, G Douglas, R Browne, M Coupar; R Bonner, C Martin; S Patience, D Cherry, C Murray, E Stuart, G Campbell, R Snape, T Drennan, D Teague.
Replacements Used: J Henderson, O Powell, P Jenkinson, D O’Hagen, S Atkins.
Dundee HSFP: J Fleming; M Smith, H Duthie, L Graham, R Lemon; C Ferguson, A Dymock; N Dymock, J Clark, A Brown, C Cumming, R Hawkins, S McKee, G Ryan, D Levison.
Replacements Used: D Russell, D Young, R Cessford, A Horton, S Dryer.
Edinburgh Accies Tries: Coupar, Drennan. Pens: Bonner, Douglas (2).
Dundee HSFP Tries Lemon (2), Ferguson, Fleming, Clark, Levison, Cons Fleming (5).
SRB Man of the Match: R Lemon
This coming Saturday every team is in action apart from Ayr and Heriot’s who once again take part in the British and Irish Cup while clubs could lose a few youngsters to the Gael Force. It is getting tight at the bottom of Prem 1 with Watsonians getting closer to the pack at the foot of the table. With Stew Mel definately down Accies, Selkirk and maybe even ‘Muir will have to redouble their efforts to avoid the dreaded drop.
In the B&I Cup Ayr take on Pontypridd at Millbrae on Saturday. Heriot’s, meanwhile, play Bristol away on the Sunday and the Gael Force play Plymouth Albion in Scotland on the Friday. Further details to come later.