Tennent’s National League One



MARR Rugby’s 1st XV’s took top spot in National League One after their bonus point win at Mayfield allowed them to leapfrog Jed-Forest who could only draw against Aberdeen Grammar

The performance and result at Mayfield was achieved with a much-changed side. Injuries from the last outing against Cartha meant that influential players Ben Johnston and Ross Miller were absent from the pack and Jack Scott from the back line. The return of Colin Sturgeon proved a real bonus as it allowed coach Craig Redpath to reshape his back line with Conor Bickerstaff returning to inside centre and Richard Dalgleish switching to the wing expanded Marr’s attacking options. In the pack Josh Evan’s was called up from the 2s and Fraser Grant started at number 8. Callum Steele, Curran McMillan and Liam Wallace were called up from the 2s to join the bench.

Marr started off at a fast and furious pace. In five minutes Richard Dalgleish’s clever chip let him drop the ball into space behind the first line of defence and as he chased his kick his pace was sufficient to beat the cover defence to touch down and score near the corner. Colin Sturgeon added the additional points with the first of five successful conversions.

Dundee worked hard in defence as they provided a dark blue wall to prevent Marr getting much return out of their possession. They also enjoyed good periods of possession but found Marr’s defence unbending. The next break for Marr came at the start of the second quarter. Marr’s pack had secured dominance at the set piece scrum and lineout and from these platforms the backs were enjoying good quality ball. Marr encamped near to Dundee’s line. Repeated infringements were penalised and Marr confidently opted for the option of playing from a 5m scrum. Following a penalty Dundee lost a player to a yellow card and Marr capitalised in the following play as Sturgeon blasted through from close range.

Just before half-time Marr once again managed to unlock the home defence. The break came as Findlay Hazel and Scott Bickerstaff delivered a masterclass in pace and passing interplay to break through the cover defence. As Scott Bickerstaff found open space he turned on his afterburners to race in and score.

At the start of the final quarter Marr once again encamped in Dundee’s 22 metre area. Scrum dominance brought them to a perfect attacking position close to Dundee’s line. Fraser Grant’s pick up and drive saw him cross the line and touch down only to have try disallowed as referee Lee Fish viewed a slight knock on as the ball was grounded. Marr immediately made amends by winning the resulting scrum against the head and Fraser Grant made sure of the points.

Marr’s final score came in 72 minutes after the defence was stretched to allow Liam McLoughlin to race in to score in the corner.

News of the result from Riverside Park brought added joy to the Marr support. As the season starts the reverse fixtures we have the top five clubs separated by only five points. NL1 is once again shaping up for a real tussle for the top spot with little margin for error between the pack chasing the title. In coming weeks Marr will face Jed-Forest and Musselburgh in must win matches to maintain the momentum.

Marr Rugby 1st XV man of the match – Colin Sturgeon (sponsored by Craig Armour)

Tennent's National League One



FRIDAYH saw Marr Rugby’s 2nd XV just missed out as Ayr snatched victory with a final play score after a classic local derby.

Title-chasing Ayr started as hot favourites, knowing that they had comfortably won the previous encounter by a huge margin. Marr’s starting line-up and squad included a number of changes due to injury and other unavailability. Rudi Marshall switched to cover scrum-half and partner Craig Kolarik making his final appearance for Marr. Aaron Rankin returned at centre and following a lengthy absence due to injury, Chris Galloway started on the wing.

Ayr started at a blistering pace as they tried to blast Marr away. Under extreme pressure Marr held firm and as they soaked up repeated attacks they started to find their own attacking opportunities. On the quarter hour mark Marr opened the scoring as Chris Galloway latched on to a cross kick from Craig Kolarik to gather the ball and race in to score. Ayr quickly responded with a converted try to take the lead. This started a seesaw as the lead changed hands. Murray Beckwith’s blistering line break allowed him to add Marr’s second try and Craig Kolarik slotted a 35 metre drop kick but an Ayr try and penalty say them lead 17-15 at half-time.

In the first quarter of the second half Marr regained the lead. Staring with a try from Curran McMillan following a five minute period where Marr was encamped near Ayr’s line and extended by a Rudi Marshall penalty Marr gain a slender advantage. This set the scene for a final quarter where the play was fast and furious. Ayr clawed back with a try to leave a six point gap. In the closing play Ayr won turnover possession and launched a final onslaught. This gained a matching winning try and conversion. As Ayr celebrated getting off the hook, Marr’s players, coaches and supporters were left exhausted and disappointed to have come so close.

Marr Rugby 2nd XV man of the match – Craig Kolarik.