Schools/Youth Rugby round-up: West of Scotland and Boroughmuir march on in National Club Conference

Peebles in action against Jed Thistle.
Peebles in action against Jed Thistle.

WEST OF SCOTLAND and Boroughmuir continue undefeated in the inspiresport National Club Conference, setting up what should be a massive game this weekend when the two clubs lock horns in the fifth and final round of the first stage in the competition. 

At Burnbrae last Saturday, West hit the high points – and not for the first time this season – with a 57-8 win over a GHA side still seeking its first win in the Conference. West led 26-8 at the break with tries by flanker Myles Macaulay, wing Jaheem Thomas, stand-off Matthew Urwin and full-back Ruaridh Cowan. Then in the second half there were second tries for Thomas and Cowan and one each for hooker Angus Cameron, prop Jonathan Taiwo and centre Yousuf Shaheen.

“The coaching team are really happy with the boys. GHA made things very difficult for us in the first half but the boys stuck to the game plan and backed their ability and closed the game off to earn a great win,” said West’s head coach Steven Meenagh just after the match.

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For their part Boroughmuir also reached the half century in their 50-5 victory against Ayr/Wellington at Millbrae. “The boys put in a fantastic performance for the full game, showing real focus and composure to control the game, which is exactly what we asked them to do before kick off,” revealed their coach Richard Lockhart. In all Boroughmuir ran in eight tries by Cameron Gemmell, Lewis Bisset, Aidan Barry, Lewis Veitch, Joe Sobey, Brodie Clark, Douglas Frew and Alex Grohmann, five of them converted by Gavin Lockhart.

Ayr’s coach applauded the performance of the Meggetland side, saying: “ Boroughmuir were very impressive and deserved the win and all the credit. We stuck in and kept going and are not as far off as the score suggests”.  Ayr’s points came from a try by Lyall McGawn

The other match in this conference was at Stonehaven where Stirling County showed strong form to defeat Mackie 33-21 in a very competitive match. “We built on last week with a more all round performance. When we moved the ball we were certainly dangerous against a very determined Mackie team, who had us under a lot of pressure at times.  Our defence, overall, was a real positive for us,” suggested Stirling’s director of youth rugby, Stewart Milne.

Stirling’s tries were scored by full-back Fraser Dempsey (2), wing Scott Shedden, second-row Gregor McKinnon and props Ruaridh Tod and Jay Roberts. Scrum-half Tom Nodes kicked conversions.

For Mackie, Jake De Jager, Thomas Russell and Hugo Freeman scored tries, all three converted by Rory Buchanan.  “Stirling defended with a strong pack and kept us out of a physical and tight game. They took their opportunities really well and defended well in their 22,” was the overall summation from Mackie’s coach Andrew Buchanan.


Meanwhile, in the Borders Semi-Junior League, Peebles and Morpeth are the two unbeaten sides, with Peebles having achieved a 42-17 home win against Jed-Thistle to make it four from four and Morpeth securing a 53-19 victory over Hawick Youth at The Volunteer Park.

Morpeth’s form and that of Tynedale is certainly making for a tougher challenge to the Scottish clubs this season, notably with the physicality that they offer, as Hawick Youth’s manager, Paul McDonald, noted. He said: “Morpeth are a big physical and well drilled outfit who look like serious contenders for the Border league this season for sure”.

Hawick’s ability to stay in the game, however, allowed them to score tries through centre Rory Stanger, stand-off Owain Gray and hooker Fergus Bell.

Elsewhere in this league, Melrose Wasps defeated Kelso Quins 24-12, with Wasps tries coming from Andrew Kirk, Hamish Derrick (2) and Jack Murray, two of them converted by Matthew Gaston, while for Quins Harry Grant and Ben Stewart touched down, Angus Utterson kicking one conversion.

The West Conference produced mixed results, the stand-out scoreline being Currie Chieftains’ 64-14 win over Dunfermline, while in Caledonia the much anticipated clash between Dundee Rugby and Highland resulted in a 35-12 victory for the Inverness club.

In schools rugby Merchiston Castle School had a runaway 57-7 win over Fettes College, the Colinton side scoring eight tries that included a brace by flanker Glen Crawford. Coach Roddy Deans was pleased that a number of fringe and younger players showed up well. He said: “It was rewarding to see many lower 6th and 2nd XV boys put their hand up for future selection with strong performances in the second half. We were delighted with our overall performance. As a group we were happy with our ability to score tries through multi phase attack and build on our defensive shape from our first game”.

At Inverleith, Stewart’s-Melville College followed up a narrow defeat to Merchiston in the opening round of the Conference with a 36-12 win against Dollar Academy, scoring tries by centre Thomas Russell (2), wing Hamish Limb (2), hooker Daniel Smith and flanker Freddy Douglas.  Stewart’s-Melville head coach Hayden Lingard was impressed by the way his side resisted early pressure from Dollar before pulling away. He said: “After a slow start we were able to wrestle back control of the game through keeping the tempo high and varying our attack off the back of some solid set-piece ball.”

Edinburgh Academy, meanwhile, retained their unbeaten record after defeating Strathallan 12-10 at Forgandinny. The other side with a clean card this season is George Watson’s College, who also achieved a two point difference over Strathallan with a 19-17 win at Myreside on Tuesday.

Watson’s tries were all scored by their backs, one apiece by wing Fergus Ferguson, full-back Jack Brown and centre Josh Loukes, two of them converted by Brown, while Strathallan’s tries were scored by flanker Andy Clark, hooker Archie Chisholm and prop Cole Stirling.

“We started positively and played some good rugby, but then we lost our way and lost all structure to our attack, with some poor decisions when in good positions. We were pleased to come away with a win against a well drilled and physically dominant Strathallan side who put us under real pressure at the contact area,” commented Watson’s coach, Mike Ker.

In the West Conference, joint leaders St Aloysius College and Hutchesons’ Grammar School go head to head this Saturday in what should be a tasty top of the table clash while Marr College will face a tough match against a resurgent Kelvinside Academy. The other fixture, with a long history behind it, is between Glasgow High School and Glasgow Academy, both seeking first wins.

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About Alan Lorimer 358 Articles
Scotland rugby correspondent for The Times for six years and subsequently contributed to Sunday Times, Daily and Sunday Telegraph, Scotsman, Herald, Scotland on Sunday, Sunday Herald and Reuters. Worked in Radio for BBC. Alan is Scottish rugby journalism's leading voice when it comes to youth and schools rugby.