Premiership: table-toppers Currie Chieftains blast past Selkirk

Jamie Forbes hat-trick in the first 14 minutes sets up big win for Malleny Park men

Currie Chieftains were comfortable winners over Aberdeen Grammar. Image: Ian Gidney
Currie Chieftains were comfortable winners over Aberdeen Grammar. Image: Ian Gidney

Currie Chieftains 40

Selkirk 10

IAIN MORRISON @ Malleny Park

THIS felt like it was going to be a long afternoon from the very off when Selkirk’s forwards stood and watched while Currie’s kick-off bounced off Malenny’s surprisingly good surface … and so it proved. 

Chieftains grabbed the first of their six tries after just five minutes, their second came after ten and their third arrived early … 14 minutes in. At 19-0 the match was effectively over almost before it had started.

“We didn’t start playing until we were three tries down,” bemoaned Selkirk coach Scott Wight, who is missing any number of injured players. “It was all down to the choice of tackle. Once we started chopping them low we can compete for ball and everything falls into place.

“They are a difficult team to stop once they get going but I feel that we competed pretty well in the second half.”


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Every one of Currie’s opening three touchdowns went to returning winger Jamie Forbes, who must surely have claimed the fastest hat trick in Premier League history! The first score came from a clever kick ahead by fullback Charlie Brett, the second came from a gap in midfield as Forbes went looking for work, and the third was the best of all with smart interplay between Charlie Brett and scrum-half Ryan Southern, before Forbes delivered the coup de grace under the sticks.

Currie dominated every aspect of play and, but for some slack handling, they were perfectly competent without ever being properly tested. If anything, discipline remains a problem, as they proved in the third quarter when they were reduced to 14 men for ten minutes. It didn’t matter here, it might in the Premiership final.

The visitors will struggle to take much from this showing even allowing for some missing bodies, although some character was shown by the likes of breakaway duo Ewan McDougall and Andrew Grant-Suttie when, after conceding three quick scores, they realised the full extent of the humbling that was on its way unless they tightened up some defensive nuts and bolts.

Ethan McVicar also enjoyed a few good moments with the ball in hand but when he made one typical little scrum-half snipe down the blindside in the first half he immediately had the ball stripped by Currie captain Fergus Scott. It was that sort of day for Selkirk.

If the home side ran straight at the defence, the Selkirk boys would front-up and make the tackle. As soon as Currie began giving them an excuse to fall off, by moving the point of attack and running hard at gaps, the visitors duly obliged.

The second try was a case in point. A turnover in midfield thanks to a tooth-rattling tackle from Joe Reynolds on Grant-Suttie ended up with an attacking line-out and when Currie moved the ball right, Forbes came off his left wing to find the Selkirk midfield parting like the Red Sea.

Following Forbes hat-trick, the rate of scoring was slowed, if only momentarily, as Selkirk’s big men halted several Currie attacks on their own line only to see a clearance kick charged down and the ball fall nicely for lock Hamish Ferguson to pounce, bringing up Currie’s bonus point fourth try after just 25 minutes of play.

Ten minutes later and Selkirk got themselves on the scoreboard with a neatly taken try from fly-half Ben Pickles, who finished off a long, flowing move with a nicely angled run to take him around the last defender. It was the first time Selkirk had entered the Currie 22 and with the half-time score at 26-5, the visitors finally had a precarious toe hold in this contest.

 

Selkirk started the second half in similar lively fashion and Currie needed an excellent tackle back from skipper Scott on Robbie Chalmers to prevent a second probable score.

A driving maul by the visitors followed by a quick tap-penalty saw Currie on the ropes and when home lock Ferguson infringed once too often he was shown a yellow card. The entire Selkirk team appeared to join the next driving maul which they duly bulldozed over the Currie try-line but failed, according to referee McNeil, to ground the ball.

The chance to mount a serious challenge had come and gone with the next score going to Currie replacement winger Cameron Gray, who finished off a simple enough score in the right hand corner with full-back Brett supplying the pass. Worse was to follow for the visitors as lock Thomas Brown, the visitors main line-out target, left the field nursing a serious looking shoulder injury.

Some kudos has to go to Selkirk replacement prop, 43-year-old Gary Holborn, who came out of retirement for Selkirk just to get this game done. He appeared around the 60 minute mark but passed James Bett going in the opposite direction after the hooker was carded for one defensive penalty too many.

Being short-handed seemed to suit Selkirk who pressed hard and, with 10 minutes left on the clock, they scored their second try of the afternoon thanks to replacement Robert Cook.

The score came against the run of play and there was still time for Currie to enjoy the last laugh with a well taken solo score going to centre DJ Innes, who bounced off several tackles from an attacking line-out before winning the race to the Selkirk try-line in the final play of the game.

“It can be difficult to keep your focus when you have such a large lead,” Currie coach Mark Cairns admitted after the final whistle. “You have to do a lot of dogged donkey work in order for someone to run a try into the corner, and when you have a big lead everyone wants to run a try in and no one wants to do the donkey work.

“We said at half time that we wanted to win the second half, which we haven’t managed for a few weeks now, and at least we accomplished that much today.”

 

Teams –

Currie Chieftains: C Brett; A Hall, J Reynolds, DJ Innes, J Forbes; G Hunter, R Southern; G Carson, R Stewart, AP McWilliam, S Edwards, H Ferguson, G Nelson, F Scott©, W Nelson. Subs: E McCallum, C Ramsay, E Stewart, C Gray, C Lessels.

Selkirk: J Hamilton; C McNeill, R Chalmers, R Nixon, F Anderson; B Pickles, E McVicar; L Pettie, J Bett, B Riddell, T Brown, A Renwick, A Grant-Suttie, S McClymont, E McDougall©. Subs: R McFadzen, G Holborn, A McColm, R Cook, A Bulman.

Referee: Sam O’Neil.

 

Scores –

Currie Chieftains: Tries: Forbes 3, Ferguson, Gray, Innes; Cons: Hunter 5.

Selkirk: Tries: Pickles, Cook.

Scoring sequence (Currie Chieftains first): 5-0, 10-0; 12-0; 17-0; 19-0; 24-0; 26-0; 26-5. (h-t) 31-5; 33-5; 33-10; 38-10; 40-10.

 

Yellow cards –

Currie Chieftains: Ferguson (44mins)

Selkirk: James Bett (62mins)

 

Man-of-the-Match: There were any number of Currie performances worthy of the award, including Fergus Scott, Joe Reynolds and Charlie Brett, but three tries in 14 minutes demands recognition so Jamie Forbes gets the nod.

Talking point: Scott Wight reckons his side are missing nine front-row forwards so he was obliged to whistle up 43-year-old veteran Gary Holborn off the subs bench around the hour mark. Holborn hasn’t played any rugby for 20 months and he had to borrow a pair of boots, but still insisted that he “enjoyed the game”. Perhaps less so come Sunday morning!


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About Iain Morrison 151 Articles
Iain was capped 15 times for Scotland at openside flanker between his debut against Ireland during the 1993 Six Nations and his final match against New Zealand at the 1995 World Cup in South Africa. He was twice a Cambridge ‘Blue’ and played his entire club career with London Scottish (being inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame in 2016). Iain is a lifelong member of Linlithgow Rugby Club. After hanging up his boots, he became rugby correspondent for The Sunday Herald, before moving to The Scotland on Sunday for 16 years, and he has also guest written for various other publications.

1 Comment

  1. After reading this report, so many wrongs, there isn’t a Callum Lessels it’s Cameron, he’s not a winger but replacement scrum half and he never scored, not very accurate

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