IT was a toss-up between Joe Jenkins of Southern Knights and Ross Jones of Heriot’s at full-back, and the former just edged it on this occasion. He is joined in the back-three by Callum Young who scored a fine try and was official man-of-the-match on the left wing for Heriot’s on Friday night, and Finlay Callaghan who came off the bench to score a brace which stretched Ayrshire Bulls away from Boroughmuir Bears on Saturday afternoon.
Tom Roche, who scored two tries and had an assist for Stirling County against Watsonians, is desperately unlucky to miss out.
Youngster Duncan Munn once again showed that he is a player of serious potential with a solid all-round performance for Boroughmuir Bears against Ayrshire Bulls, topped off with his break through heavy traffic, dummy and well-timed offload in the lead up to Michael Jones‘ consolation try. Lewis Berg of Watsonians and Rory McMichael of Heriot’s also made strong cases.
Inside-centre was hotly contested. Andrew Mitchell came off the bench and played a crucial role with some strong running in the lead-up to two of the Knights’ tries against Heriot’s, opposite number Rob Kay was as tidy as ever, and Robbie McCallum‘s footwork, pace and compact power meant he was a handful for Boroughmuir Bears. But Grant Hughes‘ man-of-the-match performance, which involved three try-assists and crucial role in the build up top a fourth, for Stirling County in their win over Watsonians edges him into the team.
19-year-0ld Euan Cunningham‘s composed performance, accurate goal-kicking and clever distribution – which included a cool as ice miss-two pass to set up Roche’s decisive try – for Stirling County edges him in at stand-off, ahead of the consistently strong Jason Baggott at stand-off, Alex Ball‘s threat from the base for Heriot’s earns him selection at scrum-half.
A solid 70 minutes which saw him hit 14 rucks and score an important try for Ayrshire Bulls at the start of the second half sees Michael Scott named at loose-head, Ross Graham of Watsonians edges out Michael Liness of Heriot’s at hooker, and iron-man Euan McLaren‘s 80 minutes with 10 rucks and 17 tackles gets the Southern Knights man the No3 jersey once again. County loose-head Adam Wood gets a nod for a solid 79 minute showing against a powerful Watsonians pack.
Angus Runciman‘s 16 rucks and 19 tackles for Southern Knights earns him selection again in the second-row, where he is partnered by Watsonians’ Mr Reliable Michael Badenhorst, who also happened to score a try this week. Honourable mentions to Ronan Seydak of Heriot’s and Ed Bloodworth of the Bulls.
There is not much more the rampaging George Arnott of Stirling County could have done after two tries and eight tackle-breaks against Watsonians, but on this occasion he misses out to unsung hero Ryan Sweeney of the Bulls, who has missed out on selection to this team by the narrowest of margins on too many occasions this season.
Connor Gordon had another huge game for Stirling County with 24 ruck-hits, 19 tackles and some important carries so gets the nod at open-side flanker, while Callum Marshall was a stand-out at No8 as the fulcrum for so much of Heriots’ positive play in a much improved team performance this week.
15. Joe Jenkins (Southern Knights)
14. Finlay Callaghan (Ayrshire Bulls)
13. Duncan Munn (Boroughmuir Bears)
12. Grant Hughes (Stirling County)
11. Callum Young (Heriot’s)
10. Euan Cunningham (Stirling County)
9. Alex Ball (Heriot’s)
1. Michael Scott (Ayrshire Bulls)
2. Ross Graham (Watsonians)
3. Euan McLaren (Southern Knights)
4. Angus Runciman (Southern Knights)
5. Michael Badenhorst (Watsonians)
6. Ryan Sweeney (Ayrshire Bulls)
7. Connor Gordon (Stirling County)
8. Callum Marshall (Heriot’s)