STARTING with the toughest selection, Blair MacPherson gets the nod at No 8 for his hat-trick of tries in a true leader’s performance for Ayrshire Bulls in their emphatic win over Heriot’s on Saturday. Trystan Andrews, who was official man-of-the-match for Boroughmuir Bears in their victory over Stirling County, can count himself extremely unlucky to have missed out, because on any other weekend he would almost certainly have walked into the team, while Dean Menzies-Taylor of County also played well, and Sam Daly was once again excellent at the back of the Watsonians scrum.
MacPherson is joined in the back-row by team-mate Yaree Fantini at open-side, while Harry Borthwick‘s abrasive running for Southern Knights, including two line-breaks and six tackle-breaks, earns him selection at blindside flanker, despite a wayward clearance kick when the pressure was on late in the match against Knights.
The consistently solid Michael Badenhorst was deservedly man-of-the-match for Watsonians in Friday”smatch for his prominent role in a hard-earned victory.
A telling statistic from that landslide victory for the Bulls over Heriot’s was that the total number of rucks hit by home front-five players was 138 compared to 72 for the visitors. While Ed Bloodworth hit 30 of those rucks for the Millbrae side, it his second-row partner Tom Everard who gets in this week having been the top carrier in his team’s front-five with 11, including two tackle-breaks, and the top tackler with eight.
In the front-row, Ross Dunbar is at loose-head as part of a solid set-piece effort and for making 13 tackles for Boroughmuir Bears in their long-awaited victory over Stirling County.
Watsonians hooker Cal Davies was his team’s top carrier with 14, scored a try and his 10 tackles were more than any of his front-five team-mates. He also deserves his share of the credit for the Myreside men’s 100 percent line-out record.
Euan McLaren of Southern Knights and Steven Longwell of Watsonians – who both happen to be former Ayr players – made strong cases for selection at tight-head prop with good stats around the park, but it is the current occupier of the pink and black number three jersey, Calvin Henderson, who gets selected after seven carries, 29 rucks hit and seven tackles, on top of being a key component in a dominant scrummaging performance against Heriot’s.
Murdo McAndew‘s strong first half showing for Southern Knights means he is at scrum-half and his team-mate Jason Baggott was a leading contender for stand-off, before injury forced his departure just after the hour mark. Marc Morrison also impressed for Watsonians, but Tom Pittman‘s 13 points from the boot – which included a crucial drop-goal which gave Bears some valuable breathing space near the end – edges him into the team. He also made 16 tackles, 11 of them dominant, which isn’t bad for a stand-off.
18-year-old Duncan Munn continues to take Super6 in his stride with another assured performance at inside-centre for the Bears, with his delicate toe-poke behind which set up Brown’s crucial try a highlight. His partner in the middle of the park is Nyle Godsmark of Southern Knight.
Tom Roche threatened for Stirling County when he got a chance with seven carries, two line-breaks and a well-taken try so is on the left wing, and Boroughmuir Bears’ Tom Brown – also a try-scorer – makes the side again on the right wing. Jamie Forbes was his usual tidy self at full-back for Watsonians.
15. Jamie Forbes (Watsonians)
14. Tom Brown (Boroughmuir Bears)
13. Nyle Godsmark (Southern Knights)
12. Duncan Munn (Boroughmuir Bears)
11. Tom Roche (Stirling County)
10. Tom Pittman (Boroughmuir Bears)
9. Murdo McAndrew (Southern Knights)
1. Ross Dunbar (Boroughmuir Bears)
2. Cal Davies (Watsonians)
3. Calvin Henderson (Ayrshire Bulls)
4. Michael Badenhorst (Watsonians)
5. Tom Everard (Ayrshire Bulls)
6. Harry Borthwick (Southern Knights)
7. Yaree Fantini (Ayrshire Bulls)
8. Blair MacPherson (Ayrshire Bulls)