Currie Chieftains 31
ALAN LORIMER @ Riverside Park
CURRIE CHIEFTAINS overcame what has been an injury crisis among their backs to achieve a bonus point victory over a Jed-Forest side that has now gone 11 rounds of the Premiership without landing a knock-out punch.
Currently without such luminaries as Jamie Forbes, DJ Innes, Cammy Gray and Charlie Brett before having to cope with a late call-off by Cameron Lessels, the Chieftains might have been expected to struggle somewhat even against the bottom side in the Premiership.
In the event, Currie’s new-look back division did precisely the opposite, putting together exciting moves, which with more accurate finishing would have produced a few more tries for the visitors.
Currie’s backs coach, Ally Donaldson, believes that necessity has created a new group of contenders for regular first team places, saying: “The guys who were playing today have been round for a while and are gaining experience in the firsts. Most of them played in the last two games. They were really good today.
“We created a lot of opportunities which we didn’t finish. That was disappointing. We felt we did the hard stuff to get into positions to score. We were on their line a lot but just couldn’t quite finish it off. The backs just forced things at times and got a bit excited.
“It’s not a bad score in the circumstances. We’ll get some guys back from injury next week. Whether they go straight back in, we’ll have to see. It’s been a tough few weeks with a lot of injuries. I think we’re going to build and get stronger and stronger. But the guys who have come in have really stepped up and are better for the experience. There’s going to be some interesting selections,” suggested the recently retro-capped Scotland stand-off.
Much of Currie’s back play had Donaldson’s coaching stamped all over it – loop moves, intelligent support work and clever passing that changed the direction of attack. All very viewable stuff and of course helped by the hard work of Currie’s experienced pack in which second-row Courtney West impressed with his mobility around the park.
Of course all this was in the context of a Jed team suffering from dented morale after existing on a diet of defeat in this season’s Premiership. Moreover, with a constantly changing side depending on availability of a playing squad, Jed have no continuity from week to week other than continuous nil results.
All of which makes the task of head coach David Grieve all the more difficult. Grieve, however, clearly expected more of a Jed side that contains a huge seam of experience. “I’m just really disappointed,” he said. “I thought we were really flat today and I don’t know why. There was plenty of experience out there.
“I didn’t think there was a lot between the teams. Currie like to play at pace and it’s hard to defend that. That was the difference. They turned up and were switched on. They scored early tries and were almost in cruise mode after that.”
Currie wasted little time in putting points on the board, after running back a Jed kick and retaining possession though eight phases that ended with Ryan Daley being presented with the opportunity to display his side-stepping skills . The Currie wing duly obliged to put the Malleny Park men ahead with just two minutes played.
Jed then made matters worse for themselves by putting the restart kick directly into touch allowing Currie to launch another attack from the scrum on halfway, and once again quick ball from each phase created an overlap that allowed full back Sam Leto to run in for try number two.
It seemed like Currie were on a try treadmill and confirmation came when Sam Cordosi finished off a line-out drive, admittedly helped by the absence of Jed prop Harry Meadows, who was doing time in the sin-bin.
Leto added the conversion but that was to be the end of the Currie points flow in the first half and it was Jed who produced the only other score before half time, a try by hooker Harvey Keith off the back of a line-out drive, converted by Gary Munro to leave the Riverside men trailing 7-17 at the break.
After the interval, Currie’s quest was the bonus point try, the realisation of which came from an interception by Gregor Christie and a 45 metre race to the line. The try was converted by Leto and for Currie it was essentially job done.
Jed came close to scoring from a break by Munro but ultimately it came to nought, and it was left to Currie to produce the final points of the match, provided by the abrasive back-row Rhys Davies who battled over from close range for his side’s fifth try, converted by Leto to complete a satisfactory performance in a game that perhaps will not linger in the memory.
Jed-Forest: O Cranston; B Irvine, G Young, R Marshall, R Shirra-Gibb; D Buckley, G Munro; J Ferguson, H Keith, H Meadows, C Skeldon, J Hynd, D Wardrop, B Roff, B Fotheringham. Subs: H Stenhouse, N Bates, E Lauder, R Douglas, G Law.
Currie Chieftains: S Leto; J McCaig, E Crombie, G Christie, R Daley; A Harley, P Boyer; T Jeffrey, R Stewart, G Carson, A McCallum, C West, R Davies, A Fletcher, S Cardosi. Subs: S Fisher, C Anderson, R Vucago, A Bain, C Taylor.
Jed-Forest: Try Keith; Con: Munro.
Currie Chieftains: Tries: Daley, Leto, Cardosi, Christie, Davies; Cons: Leto 3.
Scoring Sequence (Jed first): 0-5; 0-10; 0-15; 0-17; 5-17; 7-17 (h-t) 7-22; 7-24; 7-29; 7-31.
Yellow cards –
Jed-Forest: Meadows (19 mins), Young (78 mins), Buckley (79 mins)
Currie Chieftains: Christie (69 mins), Davies (79 mins)
Man-of-the-Match: Currie’s scrum half Paddy Boyer was a late call-up for the game at Riverside after Cammy Lessels had withdrawn from the team. Boyer had to persuade colleagues to cover for him at work but it proved worth it for the former Hawks half-back, whose sharp breaks, speed of pass and awareness of attacking opportunities gave Currie real go-forward.
Talking point: Currie are quietly accumulating league points as, of course, they have in recent seasons. The difference is the Malleny Park men are not dominating the Premiership this season but their club is thriving and able to put out a third XV. Moreover, if they finish in the top four they will not have the pressure on them that caused them to crack in the play-offs over the past two years. As for Jed, the “wall’ is already plastered with words of doom but in the circumstances of what is becoming a generational crisis, perhaps some time out of the Premiership might be no bad thing for the Riverside club.