Talking points from round eight of the Tennent’s Premiership

Marr scrape through by the skin of their teeth against resurgent Glasgow Hawks, and it is beginning to get pretty intriguing at both ends of the league

Jed's inside centre Rory Marshall under pressure from Currie's Graeme Carson. Image : Bill McBurnie
Jed's inside centre Rory Marshall under pressure from Currie's Graeme Carson. Image : Bill McBurnie
  • Hard going for Marr against Glasgow Hawks in front of a healthy crowd at Balgray – but, that goes with the territory when you are sitting top of the league. They were caught cold early doors and were 14 points down within 20 minutes – but they dug in – and took control in the second half – though it took an injury-time penalty from Colin Sturgeon to keep their unbeaten record intact. Winning leagues is a mental as well as a physical thing. They need to keep it together for the next month – and come out ‘booted, spurred and ready to ride‘ at Malleny on 14th December.
  • Currie Chieftains had to work hard to overcome an enthusiastic and energetic Jed outfit at Riverside. They defended smart and aggressive in the first half when Jed were threatening to run wild – and then, with Gregor Hunter pulling the strings imperiously, they gradually screwed the game down up front to starve Jed out of it. A big plus was the powerful play of recently recruited Fijian hooker/back-row Roy Vuago – who scored one try – and made the other with a typically Fijian deft flick.
  • A hugely disappointing performance by Aberdeen Grammar following hard upon their bruising defeat by the Chieftains last week. They were never really in it against Hawick at Rubislaw. Their first-up tackles did not hold – and they were punished proportionately – shipping 24 points in as many minutes. Hawick maybe took their foot off the gas after the break – allowing the home team to rally marginally in the gathering gloom and take the second half 14-7 – but, with a tough trip to Troon next up, there needs to be some serious soul searching and straight talking at training this week.

  • GHA are good value. They play with a bit of ‘old school’ style. A sloppy start but they headed home along the M8 last night after their hugely entertaining game against Musselburgh well worth their two bonus points – having come close to snatching another three in the last play of the game. They must be beginning to see themselves as play-off contenders – a proposition they will need to stick firmly on the line down at Philiphaugh next week.
  • Hawick got the show back on the road big-style with their emphatic bonus-point win up in Aberdeen – much to the gratification of their travelling support. They took the game by the scruff of the neck straight from the off. They dominated the set piece – with Matt Carryer and Daniel Suddon in fine form. They were aggressive and direct about the park – and they took their chances. They played like Hawick teams are supposed to play. Jed at Mansfield next week!
  • Edinburgh Accies captain Jamie Sole was yellow-carded by the Spanish referee on the first play of their game against Selkirk at Philiphaugh – but came back to inspire his side to a closely fought bonus-point win. Because of their ground redevelopment, Accies have now played seven games on the bounce away from home – and must be relatively comfortable to be sitting on 50% – and looking forward to the compensating run of home fixtures in the second half of the season.

This weekend’s Premiership reports:

Aberdeen Grammar v Hawick: Borderers bounce back with morale-boosting win

Jed-Forest v Currie Chieftains: defence is key to away team’s victory

Musselburgh v GHA: gritty home win opens up battle at the bottom

Glasgow Hawks v Marr: leaders leave it late to snatch the win

Edinburgh Accies pick up a bonus-point win in Border raid


  • Jed-Forest were on fire in the opening exchanges against Currie Chieftains but lacked the heavy artillery to sustain their challenge – and were not helped in their efforts by another two needless yellow cards picked up by Gary Munro and Gary Law. It was, however, a pretty reasonable effort in a game that, given their injury problems, they could not reasonably have expected to win – and they can, perhaps, take small, but critical comfort that there were no obvious additions to their already inflated list of walking wounded.
  • One that got away so far as Glasgow Hawks were concerned against Marr – with the difference between the two teams going down to a Liam Brims penalty which bounced back off the cross bar early in the second half. It has taken a while, but Hawks could maybe finally be getting their act together. Their front five looks much more workmanlike – Paddy Boyer and Liam Brims know the score – and Erlend Oag and Callum Harrison are strong in the middle of the park. Next week’s home game against Edinburgh Accies will be interesting.
  • It has been hard going forMusselburgh this season  but they have now cut their cloth sensibly to the challenges ahead – simple, solid, direct rugby. The hard edge Michael Maltman and Craig Owenson brought to the pack against GHA made a massive difference – and encouraged by their gutsy bonus-point win, Graeme Paterson will be keen to take them up through the gears – and clear of the relegation threat. It is, however, maybe just a tad unfortunate that it is next stop Malleny – hardly one of the league’s more forgiving venues.

Ayrshire Bulls v Heriot’s: visiting pack power to victory

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