Boroughmuir Bears 8
Southern Knights 29
COLIN RENTON @ Meggetland
SOUTHERN Knights reclaimed top spot in the FOSROC Super6 with a bonus-point win that was built on an impressive second-half performance. The Knights benefited from their more structured approach, gradually wearing down a solid Bears defence to bag four tries, two of them coming late in the game.
Their coach Rob Chrystie was delighted at the way his men had controlled the second period, but admitted that chances had been wasted earlier in the game. “We played some quite good stuff in the first 25-30 minutes and created a lot of opportunities,” he said. “We maybe just didn’t quite nail it. We felt that there was a couple of tries in that first half that we didn’t put away. If we keep missing them, it just makes the game a whole lot harder.
“If you’re not playing with the same squad all the time, it can be tricky. That’s not making excuses, it’s just the reality. A lot of boys came on and what I think we are seeing is that when boys are coming on they are adding to it, which is really important. I think we can still get a lot better, just taking chances, seeing things earlier”, he added.
Bears were unable to match the intensity of the Borderers who stepped up a gear after the restart. That was acknowledged by Graham Shiel, who said: “We were hanging in there at half-time and we thought that we could potentially get a foothold in the game. We didn’t do that. We didn’t start particularly well and they scored. When we got our try, we were in the game but there were too many errors and penalties.”
Nevertheless, the Bears coach is happy with the style his men are trying to produce. “We like to try and be ambitious in the way we play. We’re not playing in the right parts of the pitch consistently enough. When we get things right and we do play with some fluidity, that’s how I would like us to play. In my opinion, that’s when we play at our best”, he added.
That was evident in patches, although it was the Bears defence that stood out in the early part of the game. Harry Borthwick caught the eye in the opening minutes with a couple of powerful runs for Knights, although they failed to convert pressure into points.
As the minutes ticked by, Knights were banging relentlessly at the home side’s line and it was only their own errors that meant the score line remained blank as the pitch-side clock ticked past 15 minutes.
The first sortie by Bears into opposition territory was a more patient affair and they gradually bult momentum before the ball was knocked forward a couple of metres shy of the line. Knights returned to the home half and a penalty inside the 22 was a gift for Jason Baggott, who stroked over the kick to open the scoring.
The lead lasted five minutes and Tom Pittman responded in kind with a 30-metre kick from in front of the posts after a shoulder charge that earned Iain Moody a yellow card. However, Bears were unable to capitalise on their numerical advantage and the half petered out with the sides locked at 3-3.
Knights restarted with greater intent. Their first attack, executed at pace, stretched the home defence and a series of pick-and-go efforts ended with Moody blasting his way over. Baggott’s conversion took the tally into double figures.
The Bears response was immediate. A thumping run by Jordan Edmunds carried play deep into Knights territory where a series of phases created the space for the winger to dot down in the corner. Pittman’s conversion attempt rattled back off the left-hand post, leaving the visitors with a slender advantage.
The gap grew after an hour when a penalty, booted into touch, was followed by a powerful surge that ended with Russell Anderson applying the final touch and Baggott adding the extras. The same combination produced try number three with a similar effort and that sparked the race for the bonus-point try. It came with a couple of minutes to spare when Sam Pecqueur darted down the wing and fed Cameron Jones, who chipped ahead then won the race for the line.
Boroughmuir Bears: T Brown; G Faulds, R Kerr, R McCallum, J Edmunds; T Pittman (M Cimprich 78), K Barreto (K McGhie 64); R Dunbar (G Cave 40), C McKenzie (F Scott 52), D Winning (co-captain) (M McGinley 69), J Fisher (R Drummond 52), W Inglis, C Keddie (co-captain), R Tait (M Mncube 63), T Andrews.
Southern Knights: K Clark (J Jenkins 50); I Sim (C Jones 77), N Godsmark, A Mitchell (C Scott 46), S Pecqueur; J Baggott, M McAndrew; G Shiells (captain) (S Gunn 40), F Renwick (R Anderson 46), E McLaren, A Runciman (J Head 40), D Redpath, H Borthwick, R Knott (A Ferrie 64), I Moody.
Referee: Sam Grove-White.
Boroughmuir Bears: Try: Edmunds. Pen: Pittman.
Southern Knights: Tries: Moody, Anderson 2, Jones. Cons: Baggott 3. Pen: Baggott.
Scoring sequence (Boroughmuir Bears first): 0-3; 3-3 (h-t) 3-8; 3-10; 8-10; 8-15; 8-17; 8-22; 8-24; 8-29.
Yellow cards –
Southern Knights: Moody.
Man-of-the-Match: Not for the first time, Harry Borthwick stood out for his aggressive running that makes him a hard man to halt when in full flow.
Talking point: Several unheralded players have shown their aptitude for the intensity of Super6 rugby. All of the teams are now suffering from the attritional nature of the competition and other players are likely to be handed opportunities to make an impression over the coming weeks.