10 talking points from round 9 of the Tennent’s Premiership

Ayr's winning start to the season comes to an abrupt end at the hands of Watsonians, Stirling edge tight encounter against Glasgow Hawks

Craig Borthwick
Watsonians captain Craig Borthwick led his team to victory over league leaders Ayr ***Image: Graham Gaw***

 

  • With their compellingly effective driving maul in front, and the constant threat of Fraser Thomson behind, Melrose‘s re-invented (sine Craig Jackson) back division found the rhythm to conjure up a seven try win over Boroughmuir at The Greenyards. If the intensity dropped off in the second half and their defence went flaky, it was still an excellent result from stretched resources – particularly within the context of Watsonians’ win at Millbrae.

 

  • After their cataclysmic clash with Melrose last week, it was back to the day job for Currie Chieftains against Edinburgh Accies at Raeburn Place – and they showed no lasting effects from last week’s disappointment. They may have struggled initially to pin Accies down – but once they did, they were brutal – and will already be planning for Ayr’s visit to Malleny on 17th November.

 

  • Stronger up front and sharper behind, Heriot’s did what they needed to do to land a comfortable bonus point win against Hawick, without ever hitting top gear. A rash of unforced errors limited their intensity in the first half when they tended to be lateral at times, did not kick particularly well and were suspect defensively in midfield –  but they were always dangerous with ‘jack-in-the-box’ scrum-half Alex Ball a scintillating revelation – and they eventually ground Hawick down in the second half. Callum Marshall dominated the line-out and put in a very solid shift around the park –  but it was pretty pedantic stuff up-front. Job done -– but nothing to write home about –  and whilst the Goldenacre pitch was immaculate, the crowd was disappointing.

 

 

  • Three tries in the three minutes immediately before half-time helped Stirling County to maintain their impressive (four out of five) home record –  but they still needed two tries in the last ten minutes when Hawks were down to fourteen men to seal the deal. Not a classic – but a very important win – with a man-of-the-match performance from stand-off Andrew Goudie, who pulled the strings authoritatively, kicked his goals efficiently and scored a brilliantly taken breakaway try. 

 

  • Boroughmuir were 33-14 down against Melrose at the interval, but won the second half 15-12 – another game of two halves but the mirror image of last weeks collapse against Heriots. Injuries are a problem for them – but mental toughness does appear to have been a telling factor in their current poor run of results.

 

  • A perhaps harsh yellow card for number eight Fraser Hastie ten minutes from time was the kiss of death for Glasgow Hawks against Stirling at Bridgehaugh, in a game that they thought they could (and maybe should) have won – but in truth a losing bonus point was maybe as much as they deserved from a somewhat tepid display where their anticipated physical edge failed to materialise.

 

  • Hawick were never winning against Heriot’s but they hung in there until scrumaging fatigue set-in. They scored a couple of good opportunist tries but never really looked cohesive behind – though young Andrew Mitchell stepped up to the mark yet again and Lee Armstrong worked his socks off. It was hard going for the front-row with nothing coming off the bench, but all three of them (and particularly Matt Carryer) gave it their best shot. Dalton Redpath, Daniel Suddon and Drew Davison continue to show promise – and Bruce McNeil kept rowing long after the tide had turned against him – but a disappointing scoreline – which in many ways flattered Heriots.

 

  • Derek O’Riordan summed Edinburgh Accies general situation accurately and succinctly when he said: “We are just not there yet” – and he is perfectly right in calling for immediate clarity on the question of relegation.

Match reports from this weekend’s Tennent’s Premiership action 

Tennent’s Premiership: Heriot’s clock-up 50 after Hawick run out of steam

Tennnent’s Premiership: Stirling County punish Glasgow Hawks lapses

Tennent’s Premiership: Melrose race to comfortable win but Boroughmuir salvage a bonus point

Tennent’s Premiership: Watsonians bring Ayr’s unbeaten record to a halt

Tennent’s Premiership: Chieftains come good as Accies add voice to calls for relegation clarity