Peebles win the Borders Semi Junior League for the first time

Gytes outfit clinch title with win over nearest challengers Morpeth

Peebles Colts defeated Morpeth to claim the Borders Semi Junior League title. Image courtesy: Peebles Colts
Peebles Colts defeated Morpeth to claim the Borders Semi Junior League title. Image courtesy: Peebles Colts

PEEBLES COLTS marked the club’s centenary year in the best way possible by winning the Borders Semi Junior League for the first time in their history with an outstanding victory over a strong Morpeth side at the Gytes last Saturday. 

This was a winner-takes-all match between the two outstanding clubs in the BSJL this season, each having lost only one game going into the deciding final match. Peebles’ only defeat was a 24-20 loss to Morpeth earlier in the season while Morpeth’s one blemish on their near perfect record card was a reverse against Kelso Quins.

In the event, the meeting of the top two teams was a thriller, albeit Peebles always held the scoreline advantage.  At half time, Peebles had a slender lead at 21-17 after scoring tries through skipper and flanker Ewan Hunter, winger Cammy Boak and hooker Ruaridh Smith, all three scores converted by man-of-the match James Thomson, who showed real poise at stand-off.

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Then in the second half, Peebles crossed the line through Hunter, again, and replacement winger Louis Whyte (twice) with one further conversion by Thomson, but Morpeth’s ability to reply in kind meant that it was still only a four point game with the Colts ahead 38-34. Junior Burquele was then brought off the bench for Peebles, and the powerful front-row soon made his presence felt with a try converted by centre James Hodgkiss.

That score seemed to break the determination of Morpeth, who then slipped further behind when Boak raced in for his second try, converted by Hodgkiss to seal a momentous win for Peebles Colts in a historic year for the club.

Afterwards Peebles’ inspiring head coach Njord Maciver praised his team’s effort and its significance for the Borders town. He said: “I’m delighted for the players to have won the world’s oldest rugby youth league in our centenary year. It’s so special for the whole rugby community in Peebles.”

Thiss was the first of two targetted prizes this season. Two weeks on Saturday, Peebles Colts will chase their second title when take on the National Conference winners, Boroughmuir, in the National Youth Cup Final, on the international pitch at Murrayfield – a match the Colts will surely approach with confidence after such a committed and winning performance against their powerful Morpeth opponents.


Peebles Colts: Liam Forsyth; Cammy Boak, Calum Burnett-Godfree, James Hodgkiss, Dylan Greens; James Thomson, Alec Sellar; Aiden McDowell, Ruaridh Smith, Robbie Hardie, Calum McRoberts, Ruaridh Johnson, Ollie Furness, Kell Maciver, Ewan Hunter©. Subs: Junior Burquelle, Jamie Fairbairn, Robbie Smellie, Andy Duncan, Rio Bhatia, Max Maciver, Louis Whyte.

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About David Barnes 3384 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he 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.