Tennent’s Premiership: Boroughmuir hit top form at last to see off Chieftains

Chieftains side looked comfortable at half-time but were powerless against irresistible performance in the second period.

Boroughmuir v Currie Chieftains
Image: David Patterson

Boroughmuir 41

Currie Chieftains 17

COLIN RENTON@ Meggetland

EVERYTHING finally clicked for Boroughmuir as they breathed life into their bid to bag a play-off spot with an impressive showing against a Chieftains side that looked comfortable at half-time but were powerless against the home side’s irresistible performance in the second period.  

Boroughmuir coach Peter Wright has voiced his frustration over recent weeks about the stuttering efforts of his players – an impressive 40 minutes here, and another impressive 40 minutes there, but never a full 80. And he missed this one due to radio commitments in Wales.

However, the message will have come over loud and clear. Wright was correct: Boroughmuir are better than their results suggest.

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“We have been keeping him up to date on our WhatsApp group, so no doubt there would be a wee cheer down in Wales”, said Wright’s assistant Paul Larter. “We didn’t really change anything. We were clear and concise about what we wanted to do. Defensively we were outstanding and when that defence turned into attack we took the chances really well. We’re a team that can play and everyone knows that. When we get it right we are hard to stop. We now have to take that on – we’ve got eight games to do something special.”

And, while acknowledging that securing a top-four spot is now a big ask, Larter insisted it has not been ruled out. “We know there’s a gap. But we sat down as a squad and said. ‘there’s where we need to get to, what are we going to do to get it?’ and the boys have all bought into it. We will take it a game at a time, but ultimately everybody want to get to that top four.”

In the Chieftains camp, Ben Cairns was disappointed that his men had failed to shrug off the loss of prop Fraser Watt in the warm-up and a shaky opening to the match. “I don’t think there was an issue with our attitude going into the game, I just think with the way we started both halves, we gave them all the energy we went into the game with,” he said.  “We made three or four mistakes in the first five or six possessions of the ball.

“When you do that and give them a sniff, they are very good on the front foot. Once they were on the front foot they dominated possession and we couldn’t cope with it. We need to be better than that.”

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Quick off the mark

The first attack of note produced points. And they went the way of the home side after the ball was slung along the line to Jordan Edmunds who raced away then chipped over the advancing Jamie Forbes. It bounced awkwardly, eluding the winger, but fell perfectly for his colleague Craig Gossman who gathered and dotted down.

Chieftains responded with a spell on the offensive, but the home defence was solid, repeatedly knocking back the attackers before they could get into their stride. However, the visitors continued to have the territorial advantage and they eventually made the breakthrough in 28 minutes when Marc Kelly crashed over from close range. Gregor Hunter added the conversion to nudge Chieftains into the lead.

The Boroughmuir response was immediate and came through Greg Cannie who gathered on the edge of the 22 and ran diagonally to evade the defence and touch down. Gavin Parker’s conversion into the wind just scraped over.

Parity was restored four minutes before the break when a training-ground move at a close-range lineout was perfectly executed, allowing Thomas Gordon to gallop over untouched for an unconverted score. Chieftains then offered a glimpse of the searing pace they have behind the scrum when Forbes accelerated into space and sparked a move that ended with Ben Robbins hurtling over in the corner. Parker cut the deficit to two points just before the break when he stroked over a penalty to set up an intriguing second half.

More twists

The lead changed hands again when the home side took a quick penalty four minutes after the restart and Edmunds cut through for the score. And Boroughmuir struck again a couple of minutes later when Rory Drummond made the first dent and two passes later the ball was fed to Will Wardlaw who raced in for a converted score that secured the four-try bonus.

The momentum was now firmly with the home side and twice they were held up over the line. Another try seemed inevitable and when it did come, the source was equally predictable – skipper Johnny Matthews adding to his tally for the season when he found a way through for a converted touchdown that made the game safe.

And the home skipper rounded off an impressive team effort when he applied the final touch after a powerful drive by his pack. Chieftains showed their character as they finished the game strongly and thought they had snatched a bonus-point try. But it summed up their day that when the referee consulted his assistant he ruled out the score because of a knock-on.

Teams –

Boroughmuir: C Gossman; G Parker, W Wardlaw, M Hare, J Edmunds; G Cannie, J Hamilton; D Marfo, J Matthews, D Robertson, S Smith, W Inglis, A Mncube, T Drennan, R Drummond. Subs: M Walker, R Dunbar, C Keddie, M Johnstone, B Renton.

Currie Chieftains: J Forbes; B Robbins, J Reynolds, R Nelson©, S Hamilton; G Hunter, C Shiel; M McWilliam, G Carson, M Agiro, R Davies, M Vernel, M Kelly,, T Gordon, S McGinley. Subs: C Wilson, R Patterson, W Nelson, R Frostwick, M Hooks.

Scorers –

Boroughmuir: Tries: Gossman, Cannie, Edmunds, Wardlaw, Matthews 2. Cons: Parker 4. Pen: Parker.

Currie Chieftains: Tries: Kelly, Gordon, Robbins. Con: Hunter.

Referee: F Brown.

Scoring sequence (Boroughmuir first): 5-0, 5-5, 5-7, 12-7, 12-12, 12-17, 15-17 half-time,  20-17, 22-7, 27-17, 29-17, 34-17, 36-17, 41-17

Yellow card: Nelson (Currie Chieftains).

Man of the match: Loads of contenders in green and blue, but the irrepressible skipper Johnny Matthews was everywhere and added two more to take his try tally for the season into double figures.

Talking point: Boroughmuir showed what they can do when they play for 80 minutes. They may be facing a struggle to feature in the play-offs, but if they reproduce this form they could yet have a say in who does make it.

Tennent’s Premiership: much-improved Hawick pay the penalty as Melrose prevail in the scrum

About Colin Renton 294 Articles
Colin has been a freelance writer on various subjects for more than 20 years. He covers rugby at all levels but is particularly passionate about the game at grass roots. As a fluent French speaker, he has a keen interest in rugby in France and for many years has reported on the careers of Scots who have moved across the Channel. He appreciates high quality, engaging writing that is thought provoking, and hopes that some of his work fits that bill!