Boroughmuir Bears 44
Southern Knights 20
COLIN RENTON @ Meggetland
BOROUGHMUIR BEARS turned on the style with an impressive second half showing that saw them chalk up a comfortable win, but they were given a decent test in the first half by a Knights side that led at half-time and showed glimpses of form that suggests they are continuing to make progress. However, they fell away in the second period, allowing Bears to dominate and cap their afternoon with an eight try haul.
That collapse provoked an angry response from Knights coach Alan Tait, who said: “I was really disappointed second half. We’ve been the opposite in the last two games and we’ve come good in the second half. I thought we had teed it up, I thought we had done really well in the first half. Full marks to Boroughmuir. It’s about how much you want it and our guys didn’t front up. I’m disappointed, and I’ve let them know that.”
That dip in the second period came at the hands of a Bears side that benefited from a strong bench, with a step up in intensity and timely replacements ensuring that they were relentless after the break, a fact that was a source of satisfaction to home coach, Graham Shiel.
“At half time, we were probably a bit frustrated. It was a real struggle in the first half to get the game moving and impose ourselves. We didn’t play enough in Southern Knights territory. To be fair to the guys, they did that in the second half – they were composed and accurate,” he said. “I’m not getting carried away, we’ve got some tough games coming up, but it was good to get a solid performance. The guys can move forward from that with a lot of confidence.”
Knights offered an early statement of intent as they took the lead in the first minute. An offence immediately after the kick-off presented an opportunity to open the scoring, and Cal Grieve obliged from 25 metres. The gap grew in eight minutes when a line-out drive was thwarted just short of the line but Ryan Godsmark fired the ball out to Corbin Thunder who crashed over between the sticks to leave Grieve a simple conversion and take the advantage into double figures.
Bears struck back with a penalty banged into touch and a powerful drive that ended with Trystan Andrews dotting down before he suffered a facial injury that ended his involvement. The hosts squared matters in 18 minutes when they plundered opposition line-out ball, and although Knights repelled a string of pick-and-go efforts, Max Loboda eventually blasted his way over for an unconverted score.
It was end-to-end stuff and Knights regained the initiative with another lineout move that saw Theo Nwosu-Hope gather the throw before Thunder looped round to take a pass and dive over for his second try. This time, the gusting wind carried Grieve’s conversion just wide of the target.
The same fate befell George Paul as he attempted to add the extras after supplying a scoring pass for Joe Jenkins, whose touchdown restored parity.
The hosts ended the half a man down after Jenkins was yello- carded for a late tackle on Gregor McNeish and, by the interval, the Borderers were in front once more. Garry Young stole a line-out throw and raced away. When he was stopped inside the home 22, the recycled ball was worked wide to Paddy Anderson who sprinted over.
Bears tied things up and secured the bonus point five minutes after the restart with another powerful surge that ended with Kieran Westlake applying the final touch. And they took the lead for the first time on 59 minutes when recycled ball was swept out to Paul, whose perfectly timed pass allowed Euan Muirhead to race through a gap and touch down between the posts, leaving the try’s creator a simple conversion.
The hosts were now in full flow and they landed a fresh blow when slick handling carved open the Knights defence allowing Scott Robeson to send Muirhead in for a second time.
Bears killed off any hope of a fightback by the visitors when another drive was finished by Jack Fisher. And the win was completed in the final play of the game when Corey Tait muscled his way over from close range and Andy McLean converted.
Boroughmuir Bears: E Muirhead, M Cullen, J Jenkins, S Robeson (co-©), C Ramm; G Paul (A McLean 67), R Swan (K Barreto 47), L Alessandri (B Sweet 40), A Allen (C Tait 57), M McGinley (D Winning 40), M Loboda (A Maitland 58), J Fisher, J King, C Keddie (co-©0 I Carmichael 68), T Andrews (K Westlake 12).
Southern Knights: C Grieve; R Cottrell, C Barrett, A Hall (H Bentley 58), P Anderson; G McNeish (H Rutherford 57), R Godsmark (C Bell 65); J Dobie (A Dodds 65), C Thunder, (R Anderson 57) D Gamble (C Greer 47), T Nwosu-Hope, A Ferrie, G Young (C Farmer 65), M Job (L Thompson 40), H Borthwick.
Referee: Ruairidh Campbell
Boroughmuir Bears: Tries: Andrews; Loboda, Jenkins, Westlake, Muirhead 2, Fisher, Tait; Cons: Paul, McLean.
Southern Knights: Tries: Thunder 2, Anderson; Con: Grieve; Pen: Grieve.
Scoring sequence (Boroughmuir Bears first): 0-3; 0-8; 0-10; 5-10; 10-10; 10-15; 15-15; 15-20 (h-t) 20-20; 25-20; 27-20; 32-20; 37-20; 42-20; 44-20.
Yellow cards –
Boroughmuir Bears: Jenkins
Player-of-the-match: There were contenders throughout both sides, but the award went to Euan Muirhead, who was tidy in defence and threatening in attack, capped by a two-try contribution.
Talking point: The return of Scotland Under-20 players will provide greater depth and allow coaches more selection options over the coming weeks.