Currie Chieftains 36
Edinburgh Accies 10
IAIN HAY @ Malleny Park
AFTER a keenly contested and scoreless opening quarter, clinical Currie eventually wrestled control, and claimed full points, to keep the pressure up on second placed Marr, who also happen to be their next, and final, regular season opponents.
It was announced mid-game that the fixture will be played on Friday 16th under the Malleny floodlights, with the winner gaining home advantage in the play-off semi-finals, which will be between these two same sides, with Hawick confirmed in first place and Kelso, at the time of writing, looking likely to claim the final berth.
“I’m really happy with the first-half performance, we were into a very strong wind, so to get in at half-time ahead and in control of the game was really pleasing; second half, tried to keep it going, got a bit loose at times and our penalty count was really high, but overall I’m really happy,” was Chieftains’ head coach Mark Cairns summary.
“[We ran from deep a lot], partly down to the wind but, also, we’ve been speaking and we think we need to be a bit more ambitious with ball in hand. We’ve got some real good talent in this team, and we need to show that off more often. We’d been putting boot to ball too often in previous matches.”
It was an impressive rearguard action from Accies, with stand-off Connor Allan perhaps surprisingly putting in some vital tackles, while referee David Young took umbrage with Thomas Jeffrey’s scrummaging also allowed Accies to keep Currie at bay for a while, but once Charlie Brett had leapt over the try-line from close range, the home side took charge.
Captain Jamie Forbes added a second try from a one-out from nine pass, swerving past the last challenge, and although Brett had left his kicking boots at home, a yellow card for Fraser McAslan added to Accies woes, and DJ Innes was the main beneficiary as he went over for Chieftains on the left.
A half-time change of looshead prop for Currie paid instant dividends when they won a penalty at the next scrum deep in the Accies 22. Scrum-half Gregor Christie tapped and went, and Innes was soon over for his second and the bonus point score.
Accies then managed to break their duck when a tremendous run by Robbie Kent, followed by nice hands from Richard Thompson, led to a high tackle by Brett on Kieran Slingsby. The Raeburn men went deep to the corner and although they couldn’t score from the maul, a looping miss-pass found Jake Mills in acres of room on the right flank.
Any chance of a comeback was quickly extinguished, however, when a wonderful kick from Callum Beckett nearly resulted in a 50-22, and Chieftains won a breakdown penalty soon after. They went to the corner, the maul was hauled down illegally, but playing with the advantage, Jacob Ramsay dove over the line, while Accies lock Thompson went to the bin for the infringement.
Belligerent Accies kept plugging away and Currie finished both teams finished the match with 14 men on the pitch when Brett was yellow carded with Accies camped on the Currie line, and another nice miss-pass from Brent Jackson saw him get the assist for Patrick Ritchie, but Currie rubbed some salt into the wound with a last-play try from Iain Sim.
Having seen his side miss out on the play-offs, Iain Berthinussen has his sights set on the cup competition after a campaign where he felt they underachieved.
“When you’ve got a game of 15 penalties to 10 there’s been some ferocity out there, and I’m not sure we were on the right end of it sometimes, but that’s the lay of the land,” he surmised.
“I think we were pretty naïve in the first 20 minutes of the game, we had that big wind and we probably didn’t use it well enough, whereas Currie were really clinical in most of the things that they were doing.
“I’m delighted we got some boys back on the field who had been injured long-term, delighted to build the squad back up, but we’ve got a few lessons to learn as we’ve got three weeks until the cup.”
Currie Chieftains: C Brett; J McCaig, DJ Innes, I Sim, R Daley; J Forbes©, G Christie; T Jeffrey, R Stewart, G Carson, C West, A Bain, R Davies, A Fletcher, S Cardosi. Subs: A Hoggarth, J Ramsay, R Vucago, C Lessels, C Beckett.
Edinburgh Accies: R Chalmers; G Welsh, R Kent, G Woods, M Wallace; C Allan, P Ritchie; R Dunbar, F McAslan, C Imrie©, R Thompson, S Whittaker, G Napier, K Slingsby, T Drennan. Subs: G Hall, A Hain, J Mills, B Jackson, B Grainger.
Referee: David Young
Currie Chieftains: Tries: Brett, Forbes, Sim, Ramsay, Innes 2; Cons: Brett 2, Beckett.
Edinburgh Accies: Tries: Mills, Ritchie.
Scoring sequence (Currie Chieftains first): 5-0; 10-0; 15-0 (h-t) 20-0; 22-0; 22-5; 27-5; 29-5; 29-10; 34-10; 36-10
Yellow Cards –
Currie Chieftains: Brett
Edinburgh Accies: McAslan, Thompson
Player-of-the-Match: A solid all-round display from Currie Chieftains means a few contenders but lock Courtney West showed good workrate and kept line-out ball secure in a dominant victory for the home side.
Talking Point: It was windy, but Charlie Brett did shank a couple of efforts badly, so he or Jamie Forbes better look out their shooting boots with the most vital of games ahead.