COLIN RENTON @ Meggetland
CURRIE went into their final game of the regular season with their task clearly defined – a bonus point win would secure fourth place in the table at the expense of defending champions Heriot’s. And the visitors delivered in style with some ambitious rugby that at times shredded the home defence and ultimately delivered a play-off semi final away to Melrose.
The timing of the game was far from ideal, with both teams having several key men unavailable for a variety of reasons, not least having representatives in the Scotland Under-20 set-up. The strength in depth of the Currie squad proved to be a significant factor and was one of the many satisfying aspects of the afternoon for coach Ben Cairns.
“All week we focused on our performance. There were obviously a lot of external factors and if we allowed the fact that we needed four tries to put pressure on us then we would probably force things and make more mistakes. We tried to focus on just getting the performance right and said if we get the performance right everything else will take care of itself. That’s what we did,” said Cairns. “It’s also testament to the squad we have grown at the club that we have a lot of boys involved with the Under-20s and a few others injured.”
The visitors made their intention clear from the outset, running the ball at every opportunity. They made the breakthrough in seven minutes when Sam Johnson was penalised for blocking a runner – an offence that earned a soft yellow card. The ball was despatched into touch and a drive at the ensuing lineout ended with Ross Weston touching down. Jamie Forbes banged over the touchline conversion.
Boroughmuir responded with a spell in the ascendancy but the pressure on Currie’s defence was eased by a squint lineout throw and the visitors were able to resume their chase for points. The second try came with 19 minutes gone. Another penalty booted into touch created the platform for a surge that came up just short, although Graeme Carson was on hand to pick up and dive over.
Currie edged closer to a four try bonus point in 25 minutes with a breakout try – Robbie Nelson making the initial surge and offloading to Forbes before taking the return and sprinting in for a converted score.
Greg Cannie clawed back five points when he carved through the Currie defence, and Dougie Steele added the extras, but that was only a blip for the visitors who secured the fourth touchdown five minutes before the break when Forbes was again the link man, flipping the ball out of the back of his hand before a pass from Nelson found John Cox in space 15 metres from the line. And the former Boroughmuir player needed no second bidding as he pinned back his ears and powered over. Forbes again converted.
Currie’s pace on the counter attack was in evidence again a couple of minutes before the break when Forbes made the break and the ball was passed through the hands of Weston and Nelson to Ben Robbins who touched down out wide. Forbes missed with the kick but was back on target with an injury time penalty for a 34-7 half time score line.
The job was effectively done at that point and it was going to take an almighty meltdown to prevent Currie from taking their place in the play-offs.
Weston went over for a second time after a close range lineout to keep the scoreboard ticking over and he was followed by Matt Hooks, Harvey Elms, Weston (for his hat-trick) and Nelson as Currie celebrated their progression to the knockout phase.
However, despite having taken a pummelling, the hosts raised the pace for a final flourish and bagged two late tries. Veteran full-back Rab Cairns was clearly desperate to make a mark on his final appearance for the club and he was rightly pleased with himself after sprinting over for an unconverted try.
And the late effort by the hosts yielded further points when Jordan Edmunds forced his way over and Steele added the extras.
“It was only in the last five or ten minutes we played the we wanted to play most weeks- that was a bit frustrating,”said Boroughmuir assistant coach Johnny Else, who conceded that lessons had been learned, adding, “There was a lot at stake for us – last league game of the season, we were at home, it was an opportunity to blood some players. We found out a lot about ourselves, about the size and depth of our squad. To be fair Currie, first phase was pretty impressive.”
“Fair dues to Currie – I think we were pretty much second best in every department and hopefully we will come back stronger next season.”
Currie: H Elms; R Smith, M Hooks, R Nelson, B Robbins; J Forbes, M O’Neil; J Cox, G Carson, A McWilliam, S Ainslie, M Vernel, S McGinley, R Davies, R Weston©. Subs: C McEvoy, R Patterson, D Marek, C Smith, R Young.
Boroughmuir: R Cairns, A Purnewal, A Cox, G Cannie, J Edmunds, D Steele, S Johnson, P Richards, S Clark, T Gracie, J Hare, M Tweddle, A McLeod, D Coulter, C Keddie Subs: T King, M Henry, O Davidson, B Mills, R Kerr
Currie: Tries: Weston 3, Carson, Nelson 2, Cox, Robbins, Hooks, Elms; Cons: Forbes 7; Penalty: Forbes.
Boroughmuir: Tries: Cannie, Cairns, Edmunds; Cons: Steele
Scoring Sequence: (Boroughmuir first): 0-5,0-7,0-12, 0-17, 0-19, 5-19, 7-19, 7-24, 7-26, 7-31, 7-34 (h-t) 7-39, 7-41, 7-46, 7-48, 7-53, 7-55, 7-60, 7-62, 7-67, 12-67, 17-67, 19-67.
Yellow card – Johnson (6)
Man-of-the Match: After many years of great service, Rab Cairns clearly enjoyed his final appearance for Boroughmuir, producing a determined performance that he capped with a well-taken try.
Talking Point: A game that was vital for the aspirations of Currie was devalued to some extent through no fault of the clubs by the absence of Under 20 internationals and other first choice regulars who had travelled south to follow Scotland.
Photo: Courtesy Dave Paterson