BT National League One
SELKIRK RFC 12
MARR RUGBY 22
MARR avenged a previous defeat at Philiphaugh to stay on course for promotion.
This was a game they were looking to win to stay ahead of title rivals Edinburgh Accies with four games remaining going into Saturday.
With both Selkirk and Marr having to work on a pitch that in racing terms might be described as “heavy” it was always going to be a dirty war of attrition. Credit is due to the Selkirk ground staff for their work in the light of snow and heavy rain for managing the game.
Marr started well and during the first quarter Selkirk were mostly in their own half defending.
Marr’s pressure was rewarded with several penalties of good attacking positions and they opted to go to see if they could cross the try line. Under significant pressure Selkirk’s defence was exceptional as they held Marr at bay. Just before the end of the quarter Marr opted opted to kick for goal from a penalty and Colin Sturgeon converted to open the scoring.
Within five minutes Marr added their first try. As they continued to apply pressure Selkirk was forced to concede repeated tries or lose rare possession at the breakdown. From a penalty Marr kicked to the corner. Winning the attacking lineout a driving maul took play over Selkirk’s try line and in the melee of bodies the referee was well placed to see that Stephen Adair had scored. Colin Sturgeon converted. Within three minutes Ben Johnston added a second as Marr took advantage of pressure and from a short range attacking scrum he was unstoppable.
At the start of the second half Marr finally managed to find some gaps in the home defence. Ben Johnston and Dan Law made good ground using a route one approach. Five minutes from the start of the second half Ben made a great midfield break and as the defence scrambled to stop him the support was in place that led to Scott Bickerstaff racing in to score.
This sparked Selkirk’s resurgence. Over the following 15 minutes they tested and probed Marr’s defence. Two tries were scored as Ross Nixon marshalled his backs well and found his kicking range. A clever kick deep into the 22 metre area allowed their South African starlet Tythan Adams to outstrip Marr’s defence and score.
As the match drew to a close Marr tried to force opportunities to secure the important fourth try. But they were stymied from this by a combination of good defence and/or desperation that forced errors and loss of possession.
The match ended with a four point win for Marr but a sense that opportunities were missed.
Looking forward Marr Rugby’s 1st XV face another tough challenge as for the second week in a row they travel to the Borders. This time third-placed Jed Forest present a real test on Marr’s abilities and capabilities. Jed have international class players and their full side will be eager to counter the loss they suffered at Fullarton earlier in the season.
Marr Rugby 1st XV man of the match - Dan Law.
BT Reserve West One
MARR RUGBY 89
GREENOCK RFC 5
MARR sidestepped a potential banana skin as due to injury and other unviability they fielded a composite 2/3s against near rivals Greenock. In addition the starting line-up saw a number of positional changes including Stuart Howie being moved to cover the outside half berth. As the match turned out the makeshift team was too strong for the visitors as they ran in 16 tries to one.
The result leaves Marr Rugby’s 2s within a single point of securing the league title as champions. Marr Rugby’s 2nd XV has four matches left to secure this goal. First up is a tricky away trip to Hamilton.
Marr Rugby 2nd XV man of the match Stuart Howie.
Marr Rugby next fixtures – Saturday 11 March 2017, 1s – Away v Jed-Forest (league); 2s - away v Hamilton (league)