Premiership play-off: revenge is a dish best served cold for Currie Chieftains against Marr

Mark Cairns' side will head back to Mansfield Park for the league finale after sacking Fortress Fullarton

Marr's Curran McMillan stopped in his tracks by Currie Chieftains. Image: Jonathan Pearce
Marr's Curran McMillan stopped in his tracks by Currie Chieftains. Image: Jonathan Pearce

Marr 12

Currie Chieftains 27

IAIN HAY @ Fullarton Park

IF Currie Chieftains are the vengeful sort they might consider this part one; complete, after overcoming Marr with a sterling defensive effort to blast their way into the Premiership final for the third consecutive season, where they will face the team who defeated them in last year’s final, Hawick.

“Magic,” was how chief of the Chieftains, Mark Cairns, described how he felt after seeing his charges blunt the formidable Fullarton side. “What a difference from a couple of weeks ago [a 17-27 reverse at Malleny Park] at our own place in that last league game, which meant we were coming here [instead of having home advantage in the play-off semis].

“We knew it would be a hard task, and I know we scored points, but our defence was amazing today, it was a massive foundation for the win. Marr struggled to get past it which caused them problems and from that our attack was able to function.”


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Currie started the tightly contested game far better, an early Rhys Davies try beginning the scoring with a finish similar to Duhan’s first against England last week, carrying the last tacklers over the line with him following Ryan Daley’s inside pass. And if the right option had been chosen following another break down the Currie left, the gap between the sides could have been greater in the opening ten minutes.

The home-side, and their vociferous support, were subdued, with the visitors playing all the rugby and easily halting anything thrown their way, until a Grant Baird box-kick trickled in to touch which gave Marr decent territorial gain. They then managed to rip the ball back in Currie’s 22, but Jake Jacobson was thwarted by a very good piece of defending by Daley.

On the opposite wing, Scott Bickerstaff made a break and fed the ball to a galloping David Andrew, but opposite number Courtney West got himself back and vitally over the ball to win the turnover penalty.

The momentum had swung to Marr now, a series of penalties and advantages – one of which needed another Daley intervention to prevent a certain score – culminating in captain Conor Bickerstaff taking a quick tap and diving over, with Colin Sturgeon converting to edge the home side in front.

Marr continued enjoying their fruitful spell, another bash through the midfield by Conor Bickerstaff advanced them up the field, but Blair Jardine will regret knocking-on just short of the line at the vital moment, allowing Currie to wrestle momentum back and take the lead going into the half-time break.

With Paddy Boyer was pulling most of the strings from behind his pack to take pressure off raw stand-off Callum Beckett, he and captain Jamie Forbes ran a loop, fed James McCaig who made more metres, and eventually the overlap appeared, where DJ Innes was able to dummy and go through.

 

 

As Currie had bookended the opening period looking the better side, so it continued into the second half.

Some indecision by Conor Bickerstaff saw him nearly hauled into touch by a combination of McCaig and West, and although he was back up and involved quickly, his hurried clearance didn’t go far. Currie completed the line-out and soon Sam Cardosi was over in the right corner.

As expected, Marr threw the kitchen sink, the Bickerstaffs and everyone else they could at Currie in retaliation, but the visitors’ outstanding defence held firm. Cardosi initially halted momentum with a tackle on Grant Baird as he retrieved the ball from a ruck only 10 metres out, and then they won a turnover penalty.

Charlie Brett had been his usual Charlie Brett-self, producing some weaving magic and leaving defenders in his wake, only to then produce a ‘What was that?’  moment, and he suffered the same fate as Jardine in the first-half at the same try-line, dropping the ball as he went to ground, which would have taken Currie out of sight. Fortunately for Brett, he had been playing with penalty advantage so the full-back knocked over the three points to make the score 7-20 with around 15 minutes left.

Although the game produced a relatively low penalty count, there were a few shots round the neck, and Thomas Jeffery became the first man in the bin, giving Marr a man advantage for 10 minutes.

Despite this, it was Currie who scored next to essentially kill the game off, mainly thanks again to the experienced head of Boyer. His break from inside his own half had Marr scampering back, Cardosi took it on further, and then, with penalty advantage, Boyer whipped a long, miss-pass out to McCaig who stepped inside and over the line to spark wild celebrations on, and off, the Currie bench.

Marr started to lose their discipline a little around their tackling, a couple more high shots made it a total of four in the game, then Conor Bickerstaff spent the last minutes in the bin for a no-arms tackle with Currie looking to pour salt into home wounds.

Marr dug deep and Colin Sturgeon grabbed a consolation try before just missing the conversion which signalled full-time.

“We didn’t come out the traps like we wanted to and, to be fair to Currie, they probably did want to come out and shut us down, and we couldn’t overcome that” said a bitterly disappointed Kenny Diffenthal.

“They say there’s two sides to every story, for us this was side two. We’d gone down [on the scoreboard] when we went up to Currie and came back really strongly, today we went down and the heads just seemed to drop.

“There was no complacency at all, we all knew what the challenge ahead was, we just have to commend Currie for executing their plan.”

 

Teams –

Marr: G Montgomery; J Jacobson, N Calder, C Bickerstaff©, S Bickerstaff; C Sturgeon, G Baird; A Rogers, B Sweet, W Farquhar, D Andrew, F Grant, A Apthorpe, B Johnston, B Jardine. Subs: C McMillan, E Bulger, C Young, K Vallance, R Baird, J Scott, C Inglis.

Currie Chieftains: C Brett; J McCaig, J Forbes©, DJ Innes, R Daley; C Beckett, P Boyer; T Jeffrey, R Stewart, G Carson, A Bain, C West, R Davies, A Fletcher, S Cardosi. Subs: R Vucago, O Blyth-Lafferty, A Hoggarth, K Steel, C Lessels, C Gray, C Taylor.

Referee: Sam O’Neill

 

Scorers –

Marr: Tries: C Bickerstaff, Sturgeon; Cons: Sturgeon.

Currie Chieftains: Tries: Davies, Innes, Cardosi, McCaig; Cons: Brett 2;  Pens: Brett.

Scoring sequence (Marr first): 0-5; 5-5; 7-5; 7-10; 7-12 (h-t) 7-17; 7-20; 7-25; 7-27; 12-27.

 

Yellow Cards –

Marr: C Bickerstaff

Currie: Jeffrey

 

Player-of-the-Match: Currie’s pack grafted away tirelessly, Ryan Daley prevented two tries almost single-handedly, but due to his involvement in the tries – particularly the game-clincher – Paddy Boyer is today’s winner.

Talking point: He is absolutely electric in open field, has a lovely step and balance, but Charlie Brett had another ‘curious’ game off the tee. Some efforts were miles away!


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About Iain Hay 73 Articles
New to the freelancing journalistic world as of August 2019, Iain has previously written for The Scottish Rugby Blog since 2017, covering matches for Glasgow Warriors, Scotland and opinion pieces. Can also often be heard on their podcast flapping his gums about the oval-ball (technically, it’s ellipsoidal) game and being pedantic. Is rumoured to believe that Finn Russell is The Messiah. Does the Twitter thing, but doesn’t like it.

33 Comments

  1. This is the worst AI conversation I’ve seen.
    “Write innuendo and corruption”….. “With bad grammar”

  2. Marr All, and horseplayers. In summary, having been a Marr Mini, Midi, senior player and most recently former sponsor. Initially, I was angry at the commentary on this forum describing Marr Rugby club and focus on particular members negatively.

    In conclusion, Marr committee focused on immediate success, understandably and consequently with success ambition overrules common sense from well meaning volunteers. One member of the committee requires investigation for sanctioning sums of £100k for three players not including additional costs for others. This does not include his conduct towards me and others who do not wish to be taken for granted year on year.

    Mr Redpath, having spoken to him for many many years was brilliant and although some disagree dragged the club to success. A sticking plaster, but not the long term answer moving forward. The current coaching group need development on how to manage difficult people and strategy execution.

    Final remark, I encourage the committee to listen to alarming discontent, don’t do what you normally do and Basterdiesd feedback. Take an opportunity to understand through open discussion without retribution, establishing a consensual values for Marr Rugby Club. Suggestion run an anonymous poll and have a meeting on what members want to see change. During discovery conversations, suggest the following

    1) Identify a

    modern way of working with refreshing committee members in a 2 year cycles, includes ice of member feedback, total transparency!

    2) introduce a coaching structure that is inclusive and sustains long term success. ( I don’t believe this includes the current coaches or Redpath)

    3) develop an inclusive culture

    PS…………… the late great Matt Busby no one player is greater than the club!

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    • 100k in payments to the “3 stooges” is outrageous and whoever sanctioned should quite rightly be investigated. If my memory serves me correctly Mr Redpath questioned some of these payments and the club was told it would be taken to an Employment Tribunal, after that the seeds of discontent were being sown by the infamous 3. As a member I will seriously have to think about renewing my membership,the 3 players in question have been good servants to the club but are past their best,there are younger players coming through who are good enough to play for the 1’s and will do so quite happily for the Jersey and no more.
      Ps totally agree with Marcus’s 3 points.
      Pps seeing as we are ending on quotes I paraphrase George Orwells Animal Farm in saying it is the case at Marr that “All players are equal but some are more equal than others”.

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    • Marr I agree is a fabulous club but we need to seriously consider appointing various club members to take over pivotal roles. To assume one person is responsible for 5 + jobs within the club is ludicrous.
      My suggestion would be to /
      Put a call out to all members to fill the following positions
      1. Club shop, opening off ,running and promoting.
      2. Sponsorship party , responsible for looking after sponsors on match days and promotion of their companies.
      3. Player ,club relationship role to air any grievances between players and the club.
      4. Events planner for club related nights. Years ago we had Burns Nights , whisky tasting nights , pop up restaurant nights,to name but a few.
      In general we need more people to take over pivotal roles within the club and utilise the experience they have in their fields of work. We are also missing out on a lot of lost revenue by not attracting members to club for the six nations and nightly events. We need to move with the times and not become complacent. If we do we will be left behind in the seasons to come.

      Another area of which I am confused is why we built a new extension with a catering kitchen and sub contracted it to outside catering contractors. Should we not be making and selling our own produce ? Pies ,sausage rolls , chilli , curries etc and keeping the lions share to ourselves.
      May I also say that the comments in relation to the “3 stooges “. Remember these lads have played and contributed massively to the club, training and playing hard with their commitment being admirable to say the least !
      Marr is truly great Club with great talent and great members let’s rally together before it’s too late !

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  3. Was surprised and a bit saddened to hear about the revolt and to see it still simmering last year. The players have been immense and vital to Marr’s success but its a team effort on and off the field. Transition is never easy and it can be harder to stay at the top than get there. Glad to hear some young guys are ready to step in. Interesting times but its been fantastic so far so here’s hoping the club can pull together and keep it going.

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  4. The three stooges, ignore the haters, take it from me you have plenty of years left.

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    • I am lost you have made reference to the 3 stooges ?.I had only pointed out that Marr old guard had served the club well.There is no disgrace in coming to the end of your career.But there needs to be a selection process where your young talent at the club get a chance.Its not great when these players /old guard are blocking the route for the young players.What I can tell you there is alot of home grown players stagnating in the 2 and the bench of the first team.My point was next season there are going to be 6 x super 6 teams dropped into some form of new Premier.And if Marr want to compete they will have to recruit and try and integrate some of there young talent.I think under the stewardship of Redpath and his players they have achieved so much.I don’t know enough about Marr to comment on individual players but I think I know who your making reference about 🤐

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  5. Silence of the lambs is correct in most things at Marr seem to be about the same 3 players, the same 3 players that canvassed other team members with the aim to remove Mr Redpath after Marr won the Premiership. With Redpath still in charge I have no doubt Saturdays result would have been different. Currie had definitely done their homework, Marrs was eaten by the dog.

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    • Seaman, on the money pal. The 3 musketeers canvassed the troops looking for support, did they mention how much money they take out the club. some brass neck pal. Yer right widnae have happened if redoath was still here. Don’t get me wrang they were gid players but open the trap door play the weans.

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  6. Oracle, ringthebell and cats on a roof, never heard so much bile in my life, wind yer necks in! And by the way, I’m sure the rest of the teams couldn’t give a f@k about what’s going on at Marr, try having a private conversation.

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    • Its a rugby forum where you have your opion and I have mine.Your answer is more deep rooted than your letting out.So let’s just have a difference of opion.

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      • Oracle, Ring the bell, Silence of the lambs, cats on the roof. On yersells, don’t be put aff, aw fair points. No doubt the team needs an overhaul play the good 2s save lots of money and pump it into the Minis. Get redoath back a lot off the problems on and off the pitch wouldn’t have happened on his watch. Too much money spent on the few this isnay Racing92

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  7. 12points clear of Currie yet still have to play a playoff game. SRU Should be ashamed.

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  8. Oracle , 100% but recruitment should start at home. Marr have many capable players in there 2s and wouldn’t cost the earth.

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    • Ring the bell I agree there are alot of young lads in the 2 at marr.There are also alot of good young lads on the bench of the 1 not getting game time.1 in particular that played the year the won the Cup just about every game.And he was in the pathway system of scottish rugby.I think he got the last 10 min on Saturday out of postion I may add.

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      • Oracle, 100% the lad would start for most premiership clubs and perhaps a few S6 teams. There are potentially many others abandoned in Marr 2s. In comparison other clubs have blended youth with experience supporting player development whilst maintaining respectable league positions. Oracle you called out the old guard but the coaches equally should be looking to the future opposed to being lead by incumbents. Recruitment is a fickle mistress as Marr’s success has thrived mainly because the majority of homegrown players under the stewardship of Mr Redpath. He should never have lost his seat at the top table.

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      • Oracle, Ring the bell, the new regime has not been successful and demonstrates in many ways why Redpath should not have lost his job. This team is lead by the few for the few, and unsurprisingly rolled up into district selection.

        The trap door is creaking open and major surgery is required! Di Marr buy players to maintain status quo? or do they break glass and hit the emergency button . In hope potential underdeveloped 2s players can plug the gap? As the immortal Ozzy Osbourne says “ We wait with baited breath”

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      • Oracle, that’s it, the club isnay 3 players, a wonder how it’s always about them in the match reports in social media. The last time I dusted aff my abacus a side was made up of 15 players. Nah the washing has been on the line fir to long time fir some fresh stuff, get yer apron Mr Redoath the batsignal has been hit.

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  9. Couldn’t agree more with Iain Milne . There is no logic in a two month wait till the final . This typifies all that is wrong with the approach to Scottish club rugby. Get the final played in the next two weeks and let the players involved enjoy and reflect on a good season.

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  10. I believe the final is the 4th of May, 9 weeks after the semi finals, absolute nonsense. Not great for the players who ultimately are the most important persons in all this. We wonder why we struggle to get players to play our game, 9 month playing season and that doesn’t include pre season.
    As much as the districts are a laudable idea they are at the wrong time of the season. This part of the season should be for the climax of the club season, leagues and cup.
    In this occasion maybe the final should be held the same week end as the South v Edinburgh district game, both districts would suffer the same. Not ideal but I believe better than waiting 9 weeks for the final.

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  11. I find the whole mystery surrounding the date for our club showpiece baffling. If it is indeed 4th May, I’m baffled beyond baffled . Hawick and Currie should be given every opportunity to conclude the season at the earliest opportunity. A couple of solutions would be to compress the IDC into one week, so playing Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday, something the players i have spoken with would favour, of course the committee men might disagree, remember this is about the players. Or, play the 1st round of the IDC without players from Hawick and Currie, which would give the opportunity to others. Or, move their Cup fixtures this weekend to 13th April. Whatever the solution might be or is let’s not have an 8 week window between semi final and final for the best 2 club sides in the country.

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    • If you are taking the players into account then it’s absolute madness to compress 3 games into 7 days especially of that level. Would be shocked if any player actually involved in the IDC favoured that approach. Apart from it being completely unrealistic as it’s amateur the travel involved would not be fair on guys who have standard hour jobs.

  12. Congratulations Currie. A deserved win on the day. It looked to me like there was a significant change of tactics from the Balerno side in this game. Callum Beckett made only his 2nd start at 10, with Jamie Forbes the normal 10, one out. I don’t remember Beckett kicking at all the whole game, but instead passed swiftly short and long to move the point of attack further out than normal for Currie. Forbes, Innes and Beckett are all by instinct ‘ball players’ and that certainly brought a different challenge defensively for Marr from 2 weeks ago. At the same time Currie fronted up physically to contain the big Marr ball carriers, who seemed slightly more isolated and disconnected from each other than normal. Two well match sides, but on the day definitely the better team won.

  13. Well there will be enough bloody players available around 150 all looking to see who will pay the most for their services. Ah whatever happened to loyalty. We shall go back to the clubs with the biggest pockets getting the best players so we are right back were we where 5 years ago. And Nat 1 and 2 clubs will have the cheque books out as well not that they really went away. Lots of new window cleaners and bar staff at certain clubs.

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    • And?? What is it about professionalism that you are so scared of?? It’s 2024 not 1974….maybe grow up a wee bit and accept that people who are paid to train and compete in a sport will a huge higher standards than folk who only do it once or twice a week….or are you concerned that some working class oiks might accidentally wander into a rugby club and disturb the drinking games??!!

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  14. ‘There’ should be ‘their’. Hard to believe anyone aspiring to be a journalist would use the wrong ‘there’ in the context to which it’s applied.

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  15. Currie got everything right today. If they play like that every week – they win the league. It’s how down to one game, again, against Hawick, away from home. Better team on the day last year but Hawick came through to win an extremely tough fixture. To see the level of competition and the level of quality from a sides in a Premiership final, how can you argue to disband the play-offs altogether? They provide a higher level of rugby, with so much at state than you do from fixtures during the regular season. It’s a fantastic advert for Scottish rugby, with their top club sides battling it out in a winner takes all game.

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  16. Well played currie today.Tough one for Marr to swallow.Marr have some recuiting work to do in the close season.There old guard which have served the club well are sadly past there sell buy date.They will have to recruit wisely if they want to compete in this so called new look prem.

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