Currie Chieftains 41
COLIN RENTON @ Malleny Park
CURRIE CHIEFTAINS took another step towards securing a play-off berth with a five-point haul from an impressive performance against BT Premiership struggler Boroughmuir. For the visitors, it was another tough afternoon that featured some good rugby but once again they paid the price for playing their best stuff in patches.
Chieftains were dominant at the set-piece and produced a solid all-round display that suggests they are hitting form at the right time. Head coach Ben Cairns was a happy man afterwards.
“Obviously I’m pleased with the result. At times, we played some really good stuff. I thought we controlled the set-piece pretty well. We didn’t take all the opportunities we created but I would be more worried if we weren’t creating those opportunities,” he said. “If you beat anyone in the Premiership by 40 points you have done pretty well, so pretty happy with that – after a break, as well, because you are never sure how you will come back.”
It was another frustrating afternoon for his Boroughmuir counterpart Peter Wright.
“We were in that game at half-time. We gave soft scores away in the first half but in the second half they just blew us away. They were better than us physically,” said Wright, who retains faith in the ability of his men to convert their talent into wins. “It’s just little things,” he concluded.
It took the hosts only two minutes to move into the lead. A well-judged kick by Jamie Forbes gave Boroughmuir the lineout throw-in inside their own 22. However, Chieftains stole possession and Charlie Shiel fed Mike Vernel, who powered his way over. Forbes added the extras.
Chieftains almost extended their advantage following a scything run by Max McFarland, but tackles by Ciaran Whyte and Chris Laidlaw kept them at bay until the 16th minute when Forbes landed a straightforward penalty to take the tally into double figures.
At that point, the visitors had rarely been seen in opposition territory but when they did escape their own half, they showed the threat they can carry in attack. Two penalties despatched into touch yielded nothing but they eventually capped a spell of sustained pressure with a try after 25 minutes.
Laidlaw was alert to Grant McConnell lurking in space out wide and delivered a perfectly weighted cross-kick that picked out the winger, who dotted down in the corner. Laidlaw thumped over the conversion.
A break from deep by Ben Robbins created the platform for another spell of Chieftains pressure. McFarland was held up over the line before repeated offences at close-range scrums led to a penalty try.
Forbes had a chance to add three more points with a penalty in the final action of the half, but his attempt rattled back off a post.
The home side added a further try ten minutes into the second period. Forbes booted a penalty into touch and Chieftains edged towards the whitewash with a multi-phase move before a looping pass by Forbes allowed Richie Vernon to claim the score.
That sparked the chase for the bonus point try. Chieftains battered away at a desperate Boroughmuir defence whose heroic efforts gradually took their toll, allowing Chieftains to find a way through after an hour.
From a close-range scrum, the ball was moved wide to Robbie Nelson, who blasted his way through the final tackle and left Forbes a simple conversion.
Boroughmuir responded with an attack that ended with Aubrey MnCube being held up over the line. However, that was as close as the visitors would come to scoring further points and they conceded another try when Forbes latched onto a loose pass as the visitors tried to run the ball out of defence and darted in for a self-converted score.
And Chieftains added gloss to the score0line when Luke Crosbie, making his first appearance for the club since signing a pro contract with Edinburgh, thundered over in injury time for try number six.
Currie Chieftains: B Robbins; M McFarland, R Vernon, R Nelson, C Gray; J Forbes, C Shiel; G Carson, C Mackintosh, A McWilliam, H Bain, M Vernel, V Wright, T Gordon, L Crosbie. Subs: K Burney, D Ferguson, R Davies, M O’Neil. M Hooks.
Boroughmuir: C Whyte; G McConnell, R Kerr, G Cannie, J Edmunds; C Laidlaw©, E McKirdy; P Richards, J Matthews, T Gracie, T Drennan, A Erskine, A Mcnube, D Marek, T Drennan, C Keddie. Subs: S Corrigall, M Henry, J Ure, J Adams, M Hare
Currie Chieftains: Tries: Vernel, Penalty, Vernon, Nelson, Forbes, Crosbie; Cons: Forbes 3; Pen: Forbes.
Boroughmuir: Try: McConnell; Con: Laidlaw.
Scoring sequence (Chieftains first): 5-0; 7-0; 10-0; 10-5; 10-7; 15-7; 17-7 (h-t) 22-7; 27-7; 29-7; 34-7; 36-7; 41-7
Yellow Cards –
Referee: G Ormiston
Man-of-the-match: Chris Laidlaw and Grant McConnell showed up well for the visitors. In a solid home side, there were impressive contributions from Ben Robbins, Robbie Nelson and Max McFarland, but the stand out contributor was Mike Vernel, who was dynamic throughout the first period, then was substituted but returned to the fray for the closing stages.
Talking point: Boroughmuir have plenty of spirit and no little skill and this was another gutsy performance. However, the league table doesn’t lie and they desperately need to start winning.