Talking points from round 14 of the BT Premiership action

Image courtesy: Bryan Robertson

 

  • It has been a rough couple of weeks for Melrose – bulldozed out of it by Ayr – and hit by a veritable maelstrom at Malleny. But, Rob Chrystie is spot on – they just need to take it on the chin, dust themselves down, and look at the positives – they did not play badly against Chieftains, they have plethora of top class players and they are still well clear at the top of the league. Their problem is that Ayr, Chieftains and probably Watsonians will now strongly fancy their chances in the play-offs – and it is cold comfort that not since 2014-15 has the top dog got the bone.

 

  • Currie Chieftains ‘saw the rain’ big style on Saturday – straight out of the Graham Hogg playbook – and a fitting tribute. ‘ Gritty when they needed to be gritty – smart when they needed to be smart’.  The eventual (and wholly equitable) self-rectification if the pro-release pendulum did help – Richie Vernon showed his class – Adam Hastings is going to be some player – but the bottom line was a huge team effort with man-of-the-match Robbie Nelson leading from the front – and their scrum standing firm.

 

  • After their heroics at the Greenyards last week somnambulism pervaded Ayr’s insipid first half performance against Stirling County at Bridgehaugh – but they shook themselves back to life at half time – and scraped home – flattered somewhat by the 25-16 score-line. They will need to sharpen up, however, for their derby game next week against a now desperate Marr.

 

  • Watsonians looked good at Goldenacre – with Craig Borthwick’s bone up front and Rory Hutton’s guile behind contributing to a second half blitz of Heriots which propelled them into the play-off zone – a slot they should consolidate in their three up-coming fixtures against Hawick, Hawks and Boroughmuir.

 

  • Inconsistency has been Phil Smith’s bugbear all season – and it came back to bite Heriot’s firmly on the backside again this week – though Michael Liness’ second dubious red card of the season hardly helped (the first was subsequently rescinded). With Ayr, Melrose and Currie Chieftains still to play, their play-off prospects do not look good – but there is plenty talent there, if they can get their heads properly into gear.

 

 

  • A difficult season got a whole lot worse for Glasgow Hawks at Mansfield – a string of needless penalties, poor goal kicking, and their scrum cracking catastrophically in ‘Fergie time’ cost them a game that was there for the taking. Finlay Gillies says he is now looking down the table rather than up it – and whilst relegation is maybe not a realistic threat – ‘Super Six’ does look a long way off.

 

  • A great result for Boroughmuirthrough at Marr – pulling a rabbit out of the hat just when it was most needed. Fortuitous it may have been, but the luck they have had this season they deserved a break – and Heriots can expect a very warm welcome up at Meggetland next week.