STEVEN LONGWELL started Ayr’s match against Currie Chieftains at tight-head prop but swapped to loose-head midway through the first half and was a key member of his team’s absolutely dominant scrum in both positions. He also put in another mighty shift in the loose. So, he lines up on the left-hand side of the front-row, which allows Adam Nicol of Stirling County to anchor the scrum.
Robbie Smith was impressive in the loose for Ayr, but their line-out struggled; meanwhile, Ross Graham recorded huge stats in a losing effort by Watsonians; but a hat-trick of tries for Johnny Matthews of Boroughmuir means he gets the number two jersey.
Adam Sinclair and Craig Borthwick, who were both in rumbunctious from when they came up against each other in the Edinburgh derby between Heriot’s and Watsonians, populate the engine-room.
Teenager Rory Darge was outstanding in Melrose’s victory over Glasgow Hawks, and he needed to be in order to be selected at open-side in the ‘dream team’ ahead of, among others, Matt Walker (25-tackles) of Boroughmuir, Iain Wilson (17 carries) of Heriot’s and Shaun MacDonald of Stirling County.
Darge’s club-mate, Iain Moody, was man-of-the-match for Melrose at blindside flanker, while Blair Macpherson put in a huge performance for Ayr at number eight.
Andrew Simmers showed his class and intelligence at scrum-half for Heriot’s, and Andrew Goudie – a summer recruit from GHA – made a compelling case for regular game time in the Stirling County number ten jersey.
Jordan Edmunds is on the left wing after scoring a hat-trick for Boroughmuir against hapless Hawick, and Jack Blain – another teenager with a big future – is on the opposite touchline, with Kyle Rowe of Ayr, Craig Robertson of Heriot’s and Michael Mvelase-Julyan of Melrose unlucky to miss out.
Craig Jackson was, as we have come to expect, the fulcrum of so much of what was good about Melrose at inside centre. You can only play the opposition you are up against, but the fact that Hawick all bit capitulated at Meggetland perhaps counted against Will Wardlaw, when up against Paddy Kelly – who excelled against far sterner opposition when playing for Ayr against Currie Chieftains – for selection at outside centre.
Craig Robertson was man-of-the-match for Stirling County at full-back.
Last weekend’s Tennent’s Premiership match reports –
Tennent’s Premiership: pack pressure tells for Heriot’s as Watsonians pay penalty
Tennent’s Premiership: ruthless Ayr scalp careless Chieftains
Tennent’s Premiership: Boroughmuir humble Hawick in 11-try stroll
Tennent’s Premiership: Melrose rack up half century against fledgling Hawks
Tennent’s Premiership: clinical County too strong up front for Accies
15. Craig Robertson (Stirling County)
14. Jack Blain (Heriot’s)
13. Paddy Kelly (Ayr)
12. Craig Jackson (Melrose)
11. Jordan Edmunds (Boroughmuir)
10. Andrew Goudie (Stirling County)
9. Andrew Simmers (Heriot’s)
1. Steven Longwell (Ayr)
2. Johnny Matthews (Boroughmuir)
3. Adam Nicol (Stirling County)
4. Craig Borthwick (Watsonians)
5. Adam Sinclair (Heriot’s)
6. Iain Moody (Melrose)
7. Rory Darge (Melrose)
8. Blair Macpherson (Ayr)