Inter-District Championship: Glasgow & The West defeat Edinburgh to secure third place finish

Tight-head prop Andrew Acton scores two tries for winning team

Glasgow finished third in the Inter-District Championship after beating Edinburgh at Braidholm. Image: Colin Robinson
Glasgow finished third in the Inter-District Championship after beating Edinburgh at Braidholm. Image: Colin Robinson

Edinburgh 12

Glasgow & The West 22

DAVID BARNES @ Braidholm

IT was a scrappy contest with both teams flashing hot and cold in almost equal measure, before Glasgow’s edge up front began to take its toll and they were guided home by replacement stand-off Colin Sturgeon, to secure third place in the recently revived Inter-District Championship.

Not a classic, by any stretch of the imagination, but both coaches confirmed afterwards that the overall experience of this two match mini-tournament had been positive, and stressed that they would like to see a format and season schedule developed which can allow the concept of representative rugby for club players to flourish.

“You chuck a bunch of boys together for the first time and you are really just looking for a bit of positivity to start with and we got that, even up in Inverness last week [when they lost heavily to Caledonia Reds],” said victorious head coach Kenny Diffenthal after he watched his team come from behind to claim a fairly comfortable win in the end. “Out there we started to get into our stride and click as a team, so we’re generally pretty positive about the whole thing, so it’s a bit frustrating that it’s all over for this year now.”


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“Hopefully we can expand the format and find a point in the calendar which work for everybody next year,” he added. “Everyone here can 100 percent see the benefit of it. There are guys who play National Two getting their chance to show their quality on a bigger stage and they didn’t look out of place at all.

“At the moment, the clubs that do well in the cup and the league are taking a bit of punishment to get the championship played, so ideally if we can take a bit of  pressure off that then I have no doubt this something we can really build.

“What we’ve said to the boys is to stay in touch with each other, go well with your club, and when you come back don’t let it be brand new again. Let’s be ready to hit the ground running next season.”

Opposite number Bob McKillop added: “We’re disappointed to be zero from two but it’s about the overall experience. We’ve just asked the boys if they want to be involved again next year and every single of them said they are desperate to be asked back. That’s almost what success looks like in our first year back with the district championship.

“All the districts have different views on when we should play, so that’s the big challenge. Certainly, from Edinburgh’s perspective, it is tough when it coincides with Super6. There is definitely a place for both those competitions, with Super6 a great pathway while this is a great reward for club players who maybe don’t want to become professional but still deserve something to aim for. If we can add a club international on top of that then that’s quite a nice build for amateur guys.”

 

Edinburgh took the lead on seven minutes when Ally McCallum broke from halfway, Sinjin Broad provided the support, and Ryan Stewart finished off.

Glasgow struck back when Andrew Acton barged over from close range in the 24th minute following a period of pressure but Gavin Cruickshanks couldn’t add the conversion, leaving the east coast side with a two-point lead.

Edinburgh really should have scored again when Stewart tidied up a loose ball in midfield and sent Charlie Brett galloping downfield, but the link play was laboured and not quite accurate enough to exploit the overlap on the left.

The capital side did, however, draw first blood at the start of the second half when the ball squirted loose in contact and Iain Sim was first to react.

Once again, Glasgow bounced back quickly, with Acton rumbling over for his second, to set up a straight forward conversion  for Sturgeon.

That tied the contest, and then Glasgow raced into the lead when replacement full-back Chris Hyde broke Stuart Allison‘s tackle and scampered home to set up another Sturgeon conversion.

An inch-perfect cross-field kick from Sturgeon to Ryan Flett on the right-wing almost unlocked Edinburgh’s defence again, but they managed to scramble back to snuff out the immediate danger on that occasion, leaving Glasgow to settle for three points from a Sturgeon scrum penalty, which was the last scoring in the match.

 

Teams –

Edinburgh: C Brett (S Broad 79); P Christie (B Heber 66), N Armstrong , G Cannie, I Sim (P Christie 71); J Loomes, S Broad (C Lessels 49); C Anderson (C Imrie 49), R Stewart (D Dineen  62), G Carson (J Lascelles 68), A Bain, A McCallum (M Keough 58) R Davies©, S Allison (A McCallum 66), R Campbell (G Nelson  58).

Glasgow & The West: J Pinkerton (C Hyde 49); S Bickerstaff (R Flett 66), M MacFarlane, C Bickerstaff©, S Graham; G Cruickshanks (C Sturgeon 41), F Johnston (B Frame 41), M Downer, P Cairncross© (M Ashdown 54), A Acton (D Grymkowski 63), A Troop, M Crumlish (L McCutcheon 41), E Stewart (D Andrew  49), D Ewing (M Crumlish 80), F Grant.

Referee: John Smith

 

Scorers –

Edinburgh: Tries: Stewart. Sim; Com: Loomes.

Glasgow & The West: Tries: Acton 2, Hyde; Con: Sturgeon 2; Pen: Sturgeon.

Scoring sequence (Edinburgh first): 5-0; 7-0; 7-5 (h-t) 12-5; 12-10; 12-12; 12-17; 12-19; 12-22.

 

Man-0f-the-Match: Tight-head prop Andrew Acton powered over for Glasgow & The West’s first two tries and was a key man in providing the platform up-front for his team’ win. “He’s put in some shift these last few weeks,” said Kenny Diffenthal, his district and club coach. “He came in for Marr for the quarter-final of the cup against Currie Chieftains, playing out of position because he’s a loose-head really, and he’s really stepped up to every challenge we have posed him.

Talking point: Witnessing Glasgow & West players hunt out head coach Kenny Diffenthal to thank him for the opportunity to be involved in the district programme underlined the value of this championship to players – rugby’s core constituency who we too often are an afterthought as we debate the shape of the modern game. Finding a window in the calendar for the Inter-District Championship isn’t going to be easy. The solution will require some big picture thinking and maybe even compromise. Here is hoping that something workable can be agreed.


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About David Barnes 3991 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

3 Comments

      • Thanks, not bad numbers at all. It would good if the match reports can provide an estimate for rough attendance numbers in future games in District, Super Series and Premiership games if possible? It seems pertinent to a lot of the conversation recently, and could be useful for future discussion on what the communities are swaying towards, i only watched on this game on scottish rugby youtube and around 400 viewers.

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