Currie Chieftains v Marr RFC, 11 September 2021

What a difference a week can make! After the disappointing result at Hawick, Currie was a transformed team who played a game of high intensity that contained few of the shortcomings which tarnished their performance at Mansfield Park. For the first five minutes, Marr’s full repertoire of high-octane fifteen-man rugby had the Chieftains pinned down, and but for some solid tackling they could have forced an early lead. Once the home side had weathered this onslaught there was a complete role reversal and for the remainder of the half the Chieftains dominated play.

The dry breezy afternoon had attracted a healthy crowd for this clash with the west coast team who were expected to give the Malleny Club a tough time, especially after they had thumped Hawks in their bonus point opening match at Fullarton. Once inside the visitors’ 22, Currie piled on the pressure and on ten minutes Gregor Hunter open the home account with a penalty goal. Marr tried to run the ball from deep inside their half, but it proved calamitous as mistakes and Currie’s clinical tackling secured a stranglehold on the match. A few minutes later, following a tremendous Fergus Scott turnover, the ball flew through the Chieftains’ backline as holes started to appear in the visitors’ stretched defence; Charlie Brett joined the attack at pace and streaked in for a try which Gregor Hunter converted.

The Chieftains’ dominance continued with some flowing moves which again had the visitors on the backfoot and questioning their tactics. The speed of DJ Innes challenged the opposition defence, and some fine inter-passing down the right caused disarray; Paddy Boyer sent Rhys Davies crashing over for a second converted try. A third try followed soon after when Cammy Meager fielded a high kick on halfway; he proceeded to carve a jinking route around at least five defenders for a spectacular individual score which Gregor Hunter had no difficulty converting. After thirty minutes any game-plan which Marr may have conceived was in tatters, and it was about to get worse. With the break approaching, play was still confined to the visitors’ end. Unlike a week ago, the Malleny team were working like a well-oiled machine. Ryan Southern accelerated around his marker for the Chieftains’ bonus point try which was again converted by the immaculate kicking of Gregor Hunter.

Halftime score – Currie Chieftains 31 pts v Marr 0 pts.

With the wind now in their favour, the visitors were expected to harness the advantage and make a comeback, but their performance continued to be affected by dropped passes, and poor execution from their play-makers. Some astonishing tackling by Cairn Ramsey and Matt Bradshaw, plus turnovers from Wallace Nelson, Fergus Scott and Gregor Nelson did not help the visitors’ cause and kept the Currie goal line intact. After some driving play led by Graeme Carson and Hamish Ferguson, Currie again moved into Marr territory and forced a penalty; Paddy Boyer took a quick tap-kick, made five metres and chipped over the approaching defence for Cammy Meager to race through and score another converted try.

At 38 points to nil there appeared no way back for the beleaguered visitors. However, Currie went slightly off the boil and gave away several penalties. Marr were now playing with more composure and determination as the match developed into an even contest. The reinvigorated visiting forwards provided some solace with an unconverted try after fifteen minutes, and it was clear that Marr could do some damage if their talented backs were allowed an opportunity, but this seldom happened. The visitors’ formidable front row was also matched by a resolute display from Andrew (AP) McWilliam, Gregor Scougall, Graeme Carson and Cairn Ramsey. The horrors of the Chieftains’ lineout at Hawick had been addressed; and generally, the pack out-performed their vaunted counterparts. In a final fifteen-minute flourish, Marr did inflict quite a lot of pressure and were rewarded with a second try, but it came too late to take the shine off the Chieftains’ fine performance.

Full-Time Result:  Currie Chieftains 38 pts (t 5, c 5, pg 1) v Marr 12 pts (t 2, c 1)

I.J.S. – 12.9.21.