Inter-District Championship: South march on with home win over Glasgow & The West

Borderers will head to Inverness to take on Caledonia Reds next weekend chasing a 'grand slam'

Dalton Redpath on his way to the try line for the The South versus Glasgow & The West. Image: Rob Gray
Dalton Redpath on his way to the try line for the The South versus Glasgow & The West. Image: Rob Gray

The South 27

Glasgow & The West 25

ALAN LORIMER @ Poynder Park

THE SOUTH will travel to Inverness next weekend bidding for an Inter-District ‘grand slam’ when they face Caledonia Reds at Canal Park but the Borderers, with two wins from two rounds, know that they will have to produce a better and more consistent performance than they did here and importantly one that cuts out the plethora of expensive penalties. 

At Poynder Park, the hosts all but gifted Glasgow & The West victory through indiscipline, giving the Marr stand-off Colin Sturgeon a stage on which to demonstrate his deadly goal-kicking skills. In all, the visiting number ten put over six penalty goals and together with the conversion of his side’s only try, he finished with a tally of twenty points.

But, ultimately, it was tries that counted, and South’s three touchdowns – all converted by Kirk Ford, who held his nerve to kick the winning penalty goal at the death – was the package that gave the Borderers victory.


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South’s ability to hit back late in the game, just when Glasgow seemed to be on their way to a win, was very much down to judicious use of the bench in the final quarter as the Borderers head coach, Matty Douglas, acknowledged.

“We brought the subs on at the right time and look we’ve ground out a win,” he said. “At the end of the day, at this level it’s about winning, and it’s put us into a strong position to win a championship in Inverness”.

He added: “I thought we played well in the first half and took our opportunities but if I’m honest we probably didn’t kick on in the second half.

“Had we scored early in the second half I think we would have cracked them. But credit to Glasgow, they came out in the second half and threw a lot at us.”

South have a week to iron out a few deficiencies in their game, much of which centred round a stuttering backline. By contrast, Glasgow at times looked super fluent behind the scrum albeit their dynamism failed to produce a direct try.

“Coming into the game, I knew they [the backs] could be dangerous. We executed at times but too often just broke down. I thought we played well in stages but just couldn’t see the game out. It was tough to take” admitted the Glasgow head coach, Kenny Diffenthal.

Those who were tardy about emerging from the bar before taking their seat might have missed the first score, occurring as it did after just 43 seconds from a trenchant break by Jae Linton and then intelligent support from try scorer Calum Renwick, the extras supplied by Kirk Ford.

Three minutes later, it was Glasgow opening their account with a penalty goal by Sturgeon. A second penalty by Sturgeon,  following a dominant scrum, put Glasgow & The West within a point of South. Then, when Glasgow were awarded another penalty following a heavy tackle on Stephen Leckey that forced the second row to retire, Sturgeon made it three from three off the tee to put his side into the lead for the first time in the match.

 

 

South’s reply was decisive. From a penalty created line-out in the corner, Dalton Redpath peeled round the back before taking a direct route to the line for his side’s second try, converted again by Ford, who, minutes later, added to his tally with a penalty goal, giving his side a two scores cushion.

With half-time approaching, Glasgow put in a huge effort in pursuit of a first try only for repeated surges at the South line to be repulsed by an unyielding Borders defence, albeit at the cost of a yellow-card shown to Nicky Little, taking one for an offside-prone team.

Glasgow soon ate into South’s lead at the beginning of the second half with a bizarre score that came about as the result of optimistic kicking. a hoof downfield and an awkward bounce, compounded by inaccurate defence that allowed Grant Baird to profit with a follow-up touchdown. Sturgeon’s conversion from wide out reduced South’s advantage to just one point and it seemed the game was reaching boiling point.

Then, when Sturgeon capitalised on a spell of Glasgow pressure with his fourth penalty goal, Glasgow took the lead once again, the advantage extended with the stand-off’s fifth success at goal

The game then took another significant turn and this time in South’s favour as their forward pack, invigorated by reinforcements off the bench, pushed Glasgow backwards at a five-metre scrum, for Linton to claim the try, Ford’s conversion nudging the Borderers into a two points lead.

Almost immediately, Glasgow answered with a sixth penalty by Sturgeon but the drama of this match still had a final act, which unfolded after South had camped on the Glasgow line before winning an inevitable penalty from their incessant pressure. It was left to Ford to deliver the winning points and the Hawick full-back was up to the task to clinch victory for the Borderers.

 

Teams –

South: K Ford; A Barbour (J Welsh 67), D Patterson, F Robson, C Anderson (B Gill 70); S Hutchison, A Tait (D Crawford 54); S Muir (G Shiells 67), F Renwick, N Little (T Logan 67), D Redpath, K Melbourne, C Sutherland (B McNeil 58), C Renwick (A Dun 68), J Linton

Glasgow & The West: T MacLeod (J Jacobson 65); S Bickerstaff, C Lonegran (M McFarlane 56), C Bickerstaff, T Lanni; C Sturgeon, G Baird (R Baird 56); B Sweet (A Rogers 47), T Martin (D Ewing 47), M Fox ( A Apthorpe 40), D Andrew, S Leckey (R Airlie 21), L McCutcheon, M McCornick, B Jardine

Referee: Ciaran Stark

 

Scorers –

South: Tries: C Renwick, Redpath, Linton; Cons: Ford 3; Pens: Ford 2.

Glasgow & The West: Tries: G Baird; Con: Sturgeon; Pens: Sturgeon 6.

Scoring Sequence (South first): 5-0; 7-0; 7-3; 7-6; 7-9; 12-9; 14-9; 17-9 (h-t) 17-14; 17-16; 17-19; 17-22; 22-22; 24-22; 24-25; 27-25.

 

Yellow cards –

South: Little (40)

Man-of-the-Match: To kick six penalties at this level of rugby is a prodigious feat but that is what Colin Sturgeon achieved against South, his skill off the tee keeping his side in touch of victory throughout the match.

Talking point: The appeal of district rugby is still apparent. A good crowd at Poynder Park certainly helped to create the right kind of atmosphere for this level of rugby and, of course, in an area of Scotland where regional identity with rugby is strong,  a Borders crowd is always happy with a South win … however slender.


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About Alan Lorimer 352 Articles
Scotland rugby correspondent for The Times for six years and subsequently contributed to Sunday Times, Daily and Sunday Telegraph, Scotsman, Herald, Scotland on Sunday, Sunday Herald and Reuters. Worked in Radio for BBC. Alan is Scottish rugby journalism's leading voice when it comes to youth and schools rugby.

17 Comments

  1. Big thank you from Perthshire RFC U13’s to Kelso for allowing our squad to watch the game on Saturday. One of our young lads was fortunate enough to win the 50/50 prize and this added to the excitement of the occasion.
    All the lads, coaches and parents enjoyed the occasion and match and I’m sure this inspired the squad to go onto winning there own match against Dumfries on Sunday ( PRFC 57-12 DUMFRIES ).
    Great atmosphere, attendance and hospitality.

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  2. What a great game yesterday between two good teams, Glasgow’s 7 was immense and the backs looked dangerous when they had a go, for the south I thought muir Renwick and redpath had good games up front with the back row excellent then the subs made a big impact which is what is needed now in the modern game.

    Well done kelso for hosting a great game and day

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  3. South were very lucky. The Kelso props were the difference. Brought on at the right time. Hawick back row were outstanding too. Having 3 full backs in the back 3 meant the wings offered nothing for South. Glasgow backs destroyed South backs comfortably. Fancy Caley to beat the South next week unless South bring in some experience in the back line somewhere.

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    • I don’t feel the south we’re lucky I think this was a very good game between two even matched teams first half south were the better side and had Glasgow creaking but Glasgow came back and played great rugby

      The bench was used at the right time, the Hawick forwards were really good and the hawick props were especially Muir in making a lot of the hard yards in the time he was on and set the platform for the bench to come on and finish the job the Bench has an important part in rugby now look at South Africa, all set up for a cracker next week at Inverness

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  4. Any update from AngryGala2 on the attendance? Or has the troll decided his Easter resurrection as an angry nailsman is now permanent?

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    • Touched a nerve wee Scot?

      I thought the crowds for each game this weekend were rather poor to be honest. Considering this is supposed to be the pinnacle of amateur rugby in Scotland. A few hundred here and there is not keeping up with what the SS was outputting and this was during a holiday weekend.

      Seems to me only the South is buying into it.

      But hey, if this is what you need to do to generate some comments on these articles, then keep calling me a troll 👍

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      • You haven’t touched a nerve, simply mocking your pathetic and constant jibes directed at the efforts of hardworking volunteers and players in the borders in particular. If you’re no deliberately trolling then I feel sorry for you. SS was given huge coverage by sru, millions invested, broadcast on TV, no one was interested. They tried it, it failed. Move on.

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      • And yet it was still several times more than the 30-40 odd folk who watched the S6 nkn events.

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      • A few hundred more than were prepared to put their hand in their pocket to watch the much vaunted S6.
        Hoping you can come up to Inverness next Saturday to cheer on the South and anyone from your fine club. Would be happy to buy you a pint and toast the vibrancy of the community game. May the better team win.

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  5. South backline lacked significant cohesion , Hutchison has decent rugby skills but is more a sevens player than a 15’s , plays too much as an individual and struggles to set off a backline , also too much meaningless , poor quality kicking punctuates his game …
    Better 10’s in the South….

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  6. Looking forward to seeing how the South manage next Saturday in Inverness with the pressure on. Will they go with a Hawick- heavy team again?

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  7. With only 3 games it must be difficult for coaches to find the right blend, and South clearly aren’t quite there yet. But with all 4 sides fairly even, and all trying to play dynamic rugby, this is a cracking competition and the final weekend should be a belter.

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    • Club rugby players uniting to produce a top-class competition.

      I can see why the SRU are keeping their heads down!

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