COLIN RENTON @ Malleny Park
CURRIE bounced back from an agonising single-point defeat seven days earlier with a second successive bonus point win in matches at home to local opposition. For their part, Boroughmuir battled throughout the 80 minutes but never managed to produce the scintillating rugby that has been a feature of their game so far this season.
It was a slow-burn affair but when the protagonists eventually hit top gear, there were flashes of the open style that has become a feature of the BT Premiership, and particularly of these two sides.
However, while the home side claimed five tries, including one apiece for the exciting back three, it was a solid defensive effort in the opening minutes of the second half that created the platform for the victory that was every bit as comprehensive as the score line suggests.
It was a frustrating afternoon for the visitors, who offered only rare glimpses of the form that has made them a joy to watch so far this season.
“It took us a long time to get going. There just wasn’t that flow in our attack,” admitted Boroughmuir assistant coach Jonny Else. “Fair dues to Currie – the better team won. They were maybe a bit more streetwise than us.”
However, he remains satisfied with the progress this young Boroughmuir squad is making, adding: “It’s a bit of a bump in the road for us but we are not too downbeat. We just need to look ahead to Gala next week.”
Despite the quality of some of their play, the visitors have yet to perform for a full match, and that was the case again as they started with intent but allowed the hosts to take control.
A scrum offence inside the Boroughmuir 22 handed the hosts an early chance of points but Jamie Forbes saw his kick rattle off a post. The visitors had their first visit to home territory after seven minutes. And it proved to be a fruitful incursion. Chris Laidlaw’s chip through forced Harvey Elms to carry the ball out of play. The driven lineout yielded a penalty advantage and Laidlaw made the most of it, delivering a beautifully weighted cross kick for Grant McConnell to gather and dot down for an unconverted try.
Currie responded with a series of attacks and their pressure paid off in 19 minutes when an offside offence in front of the posts presented Forbes with an opportunity to atone for his earlier miss. And the stand off obliged to cut the deficit to two points.
The hosts tried to crank up the pace with a powerful burst by Ross Weston, continued by Elms that ended with a penalty ten metres out. They spurned the kick, and the decision to go for the scrum proved to the correct one after the ball was swept out to Forbes, who freed Cammy Gray to touch down then added the extra two points.
Within four minutes the gap had grown after prime ball at a close range lineout was popped up for the encroaching Ben Robbins whose powerful run took him through the Boroughmuir defence for the second Currie try. Forbes again landed the conversion to complete the first half scoring.
Having struggled to impose themselves on the game in the first period, the visitors set about remedying that after the restart. However, the home defence held firm in the face of a sustained ten-minute assault.
Currie’s first attack of the half earned a scrum which was upgraded to a penalty, with a yellow card for Craig Keddie after the back rower suggested too vociferously that the referee was mistaken.
The man advantage allowed the hosts to re-establish a foot hold and they extended their advantage in 56 minutes when, following a close-range scrum, Forbes was held up just short of the whitewash and Luke Crosbie suffered the same fate before the ball was moved wide to Elms who dived in at the corner.
The bonus point score came ten minutes later when Fergus Scott touched down following another powerful drive by a dominant home pack – Forbes again adding the extras.
The momentum was broken briefly when Thomas Gracie forced his way over for an unconverted score, but the hosts had the final word when Reece Patterson burrowed over and Forbes booted the conversion to cap a comfortable home win.
“I’m happy with large elements of that”, said Currie coach Ben Cairns. “I thought the determination in the contact area and the set piece gave us a really good platform. Defensively we were outstanding again.”
The five point haul was an important outcome for the hosts, who are striving to make up ground after a mixed start to the campaign. “We want to be looking up at that fourth spot rather than looking below”, added Cairns. “if we get performances like that we will be able to look up.”
Currie: H Elms; B Robbins, R Nelson, C Hutchison, C Gray; J Forbes, R Snedden; J Cox, F Scott, G Carson, H Bain, S Ainslie, R Davies, T Gordon, R Weston. Subs: A McWilliam, R Paterson, L Crosbie, M McPhillips, C Shiel.
Boroughmuir: D Steele; G McConnell, R Kerr, G Cannie, J Edmunds; C Laidlaw, S Johnson; D Robertson, S Clark, D Winning, M Tweddle, J Scott, A Rose, M Walker, C Keddie. Subs; A MacLaurin, T Gracie, R Woodland, A Cox, M Hare.
Referee: L Linton
Currie: Tries; Gray, Robbins, Elms, Scott, Patterson, Cons: Forbes (4), Pen: Forbes
Boroughmuir: Tries; McConnell, Gracie.
Scoring sequence (Currie first): 0-5, 3-5, 8-5, 10-5, 15-5, 17-5 (half-time) 22-5, 27-5, 29-5, 29-10, 34-10 36-10
Yellow Cards –
Boroughmuir: Craig Keddie
Man-of-the-Match: Currie lock Hamish Bain stood out with a polished performance in the lineout, a big contribution in open play and a solid effort in defence, epitomised by one bone-juddering tackle.
Taking point: Clubs throughout the BT Premiership are serving up great rugby week after week, but crowds remain disappointingly small – where else can they get such entertainment for a £12 admission charge?
Image courtesy: Ian Gidney