Currie Chieftains 38
COLIN RENTON @ Malleny Park
CURRIE Chieftains delivered an outstanding performance to destroy a Marr side that had arrived at Malleny Park with the label of ‘title contenders’ sitting comfortably on their shoulders. While it was a rare bad day at the office for the visitors, the result shows that we have the makings of highly competitive Tennent’s Premiership on our hands.
For Chieftains, this was a form of redemption after an opening day loss at Hawick. They had the game won after a blistering first half and, although Marr mounted a strong finish, the Malleny Park were never under any threat.
Despite the result, Marr coach Craig Redpath was not too downhearted. In magnanimous style, he preferred to focus on the Chieftains’ performance rather than make excuses.
“Well done to Currie, they defended brilliantly, we didn’t have any answers to that and we fell off so many tackles. We’re disappointed,” he said before insisting that it is only a minor setback. “Don’t worry about us. I can guarantee we’ll be back next week. Just as Currie dd after a loss last week, we’ll be in the same scenario, we’ll get a few boys back and we’ll be fine.”
For his Chieftains counterpart Mark Cairns, a quick start to the match was crucial, and that informed the decision to play with the elements in the opening 40 minutes.
“We knew the wind was important and we chose to have the wind in the first half. Other times we might choose not to have it. That seems like a negative way to do it, so we just said ‘let’s take ownership’, and the boys did that”, he explained, before pointing out that the defeat his side had suffered seven days earlier should be kept in perspective. “I think we underestimate how good Hawick are at home, so losing there isn’t a disaster”, he added.
The early exchanges offered an insight into the intensity these sides bring, with bone crushing tackles the order of the day. The first attack of note by the hosts produced a penalty that was comfortably in the range of Gregor Hunter, who slotted the kick with typical aplomb.
Chieftains used that score to build momentum and they extended their lead after 12 minutes. Fergus Scott was halted just short of the line, but the recycled ball was moved quickly to Hunter, who drew his man and offloaded to Charlie Brett for the full back to score. Hunter’s conversion took the gap into double figures.
Marr’s cause suffered another blow when leading marksman Colin Sturgeon limped off. By the end of the first quarter, the relentless hosts had piled on more points. A powerful break by DJ Innes created the platform for Paddy Boyer to send Rhys Davies thundering over – Hunter again adding the extras.
Marr introduced a couple of experienced heads in the form of Gordon Reid and Stephen Adair, as they sought to stem a relentless Chieftains tide. Sinjin Broad and Scott Bickerstaff asked questions of the home defence, but failed to threaten the line.
And it was Chieftains who were next on the score sheet when Cammy Meager slalomed past three defenders for a fine solo score, which Hunter again converted.
And the afternoon got worse for the visitors, as, by the break, Chieftains had secured the four try bonus with a solo effort from Ryan Southern, who scythed through the opposition defence to score. Hunter’s conversion concluding the first half scoring.
Marr may have hoped to harness the wind and launch a fightback, but that aspiration was quickly extinguished when Meager raced after a kick ahead and outpaced the defenders to touch down. Hunter continued his immaculate kicking record with the touchline conversion.
The visitors finally made an impression on the scoreboard after 55 minutes when Scott Bickerstaff showed his finishing power to force his way over on a rare visit to the home 22. And the visitors nibbled further into the deficit when Greg Montgomery sent pacey winger Jack Scott scampering over for a try, converted by Broad. That roused Marr to produce a strong finish but they failed to add their tally.
Currie Chieftains: C Brett; C Meager, R Southern, DJ Innes, M Bradshaw; G Hunter, P Boyer; A McWilliam, G Carson, G Scougall, R Davies, H Ferguson, G Nelson, F Scott©, W Nelson. Subs: R Stewart, C Ramsay, A Robertson, A Hall, C Gray.
Marr: G Montgomery; S Bickerstaff, S McDonald, C Bickerstaff, J Scott; C Sturgeon, S Broad; B Sweet, B Jardine, W Farquhar, D Andrew, H Murray, M Pearce, R Brown, F Grant. Subs: C McMillan, G Reid, K Vallance, C Inglis, J Shedden.
Referee: Ross Mabon
Currie Chieftains: Tries: Brett, Davies, Meager 2, Southern; ConsL Hunter 5; Penalty: Hunter.
Marr: Tries: S Bickerstaff, Scott; Conversion: Broad
Scoring sequence (Currie Chieftains first): 3-0, 8-0, 10-0, 15-0, 17-0, 22-0, 24-0, 29-0, 31-0 (h-t) 36-0, 38-0, 38-5, 38-10, 38-12.
Man-of-the-Match: Multiple contenders in the home ranks, but the man who topped the list was DJ Innes, whose powerful running every time he was in possession ensured Chieftains were always on the front foot.
Talking point: This result suggests that there are several sides that can consider themselves to be title contenders – an interesting race for the silverware lies ahead.