Currie Chieftains 46
IAIN MORRISON @ Malleny Park
ANOTHER odd game as Currie banked the bonus point win but they only came to life after the break, scoring one try in the first half and another six in the second the majority coming in a helter-skelter final quarter.
“It was a hard game,” and Currie’s coach Mark Cairns was not joking after the match. “At times I didn’t think we were going to get the bonus point but we cut loose at the end.
“We do have good depth at this club and I don’t think we were ever in danger of losing control of the match,”
Unfortunately, Storm Malik took its inevitable toll on events with a strong wind whistling down Malleny Park that caused havoc with both kicking and handling. Jed had the breeze at their backs in the first half and the first time they put boot to ball it went dead for a scrum back.
The visitors have only won four matches this season but Jed belied their mid-table position by asking plenty of questions in that opening half although they lacked the precision with the ball in hand to make it stick.
The two Young brothers were busy and looked dangerous from time to time without ever turning pressure into points. Meanwhile, left winger Robbie Shirra-Gibb made one excellent break from an inside pass only to lose his footing.
The forwards drove line-outs and one repeated pick-and-drive with the burly figure of Paolo Ferreira leading the charge in the middle of the first 40 almost resulted in a try. Jed claimed as much with great enthusiasm only for referee Ian Kenny to declare the ball had been held up.
Jamie Forbes may be Currie’s third choice 10 but he proved a more than able deputy for the injured Gregor Hunter, controlling play admirably while looking sharp with the ball in hand. In addition to his open play, the little playmaker also added one penalty and two conversions, a good return given the conditions.
His early three-pointer gave Currie a slender lead and after that the pattern for the first half was set. The home side soaked up the Jed pressure and then countered from deep, almost going the length on a couple of occasions. Inside centre DJ Innes danced through several defenders and got to within inches of the line only to then get pinged for holding on.
Even more impressive, Forbes himself almost went the distance when Currie won a set scrum against the head, weaving his way from one 22 to the other before his progress was eventually halted.
One other breakout should have resulted in the first try only for Charlie Brett to pass the ball a split second before committing the last defender which meant that Mason Cullen was able to make a superb try-saving tackle on a flying James McCaig. Something similar happened on the opposite side of the field a little later.
In fact, it wasn’t until the very last play of the half that Brett got himself onto the end of a sweeping movement to score in the right-hand corner and that was only the sideshow to the real drama.
As Brett was extending Currie’s half-time advantage there was a stouchie going on under the Jed posts with half a dozen players from each side having an exchange of views that was serious enough for two players to see yellow – Rhys Davies of Currie and the visiting Gregor Young – for trading punches.
With the wind at their backs and both teams reduced to 14 players for the opening 10 minutes of the second half Currie were quick to take advantage of the extra space. Just six minutes after the restart, centre Joe Reynolds found acres of space in Jed’s midfield but still had plenty to do to work his way to the line for Currie’s second score.
A little later, Forbes kicked a brilliant 50-22 to earn Currie an attacking line-out and the same man, taking a dart himself, was held up over the line.
As the game progressed Currie tightened the screw, suffocating Jed, pinning them inside their own 22 and patiently waiting for gaps to appear in a fast tiring defence.
On 55 minutes, Reynolds took advantage of exactly that, brushing off some poor tackling with an outside break that took him over the line. Three minutes later he struck again, intercepting a Jed pass deep inside the opposition red zone to score his hat-trick try under the posts.
Another three minutes later and Currie had another try. Replacement prop Cairn Ramsey, the biggest man on the field, did well with a 30 metre burst through the heart of the Jed defence. Lewis Elder, the smallest man on the field, did even better to tackle him especially given that the Jed replacement full-back on debut had already played a full match on Friday night for the second string!
Still Currie recycled and scored through flanker Hamish Ferguson, Brett got his second and his team’s sixth try with another interception, and some sharp handling down the right flank saw Cammy Meager elbow his way over the line and onto the score-sheet.
Somewhere in amongst the flurry of Currie tries, Jed got one back, through winger Cullen, scant reward for all their efforts. It was a whirlwind finish on a windy day.
“It’s a difficult place to come,” said Jed’s Neil Cook after the game. “I don’t want to make excuses but three of our squad played for the seconds last night just because we are short of numbers at the moment.
“They have a fantastic defence, we knew that before we arrived, and we are just trying to find something [positive] to take away from these last few league games of the season, but they pinned us back in our half playing into the wind and we couldn’t get out.”
Currie Chieftains: C Brett; J McCaig, J Reynolds, J Innes, C Meager; J Forbes, P Boyer; G Carson, R Stewart, AP McWilliam, E Stewart, C Roman, H Ferguson, W Nelson, R Davies. Subs: S Fisher, C Ramsay, A McCallum, F McKay, S Leto.
Jed-Forest: L Young; M Cullen, G Young, R Marshall, R Shirra-Gibb; G Munro, N Stingl; T Jeffrey, F Campbell, P Ferreira, C Skeldon, A Sweenie, G Law, D Wardrop, F Scott. Subs: G Paxton, S Anderson, J Hynd, L Elder, C Douglas.
Referee: Ian Kenny.
Currie: Tries: Brett 2, Reynolds 3, Ferguson, Meager; Cons: Forbes 2, Leto 2; Pen: Forbes.
Jed-Forest: Try: Cullen.
Scoring sequence (Currie Chieftains first): 3-0; 8-0 (h-t) 13-0; 15-0; 20-0; 22-0; 27-0; 29-0; 34-0; 36-0; 36-5; 41-5; 46-5.
Man-of-the-Match: Any number of Currie players could have grabbed this one with Charlie Brett a constant threat from full-back and Rhys Davies leading the charge up front, but centre Joe Reynolds‘ hat-trick of tries arrived in a 13 minute purple patch between 55th and the 68th minute so he gets the nod.
Talking point: Never mind the quality, feel the depth. Currie were missing several of their starting XV, not that you would know it. Paddy Boyer stepped into Ryan Southern’s scrum-half role seamlessly. Wallace Nelson proved a very capable deputy seven for skipper for Fergus Scott, and Jamie Forbes made you forget Gregor Hunter and his injured arm … well, almost.