Currie Chieftains Malleny

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Premier League Match 18 v Marr: 16.2.24.  A View from the Touchline

Currie Chieftains 17 pts (t 3, c 1) v Marr 27 pts (t 3, c 3, p g 2)

A big crowd was expected for this final League match of the season, and a good hour before kick-off the Chieftains’ clubhouse was heaving. Not only was this a home venue play-off decider, but also there was the added attraction of a Q & A session with Scotland International, and former Currie player, Luke Crosbie. The persistent rain of the preceding days had finally given way to a dry spring-like evening, and for the first 15 minutes of the floodlit contest, Currie support was deliriously happy as Ryan Daley and then James McCaig ran in two unconverted corner flag tries.

From the outset the referee had to deal with quite a few scuffles as tempers boiled over, and tough tackling took its toll on several players; it certainly was full-blooded commitment. After 30 minutes the visitors’ aggressive approach had subdued the Chieftains’ ardour, and they added a couple of penalty goals to their account. But Marr’s robust defence was living dangerously, and when a player was sinbinned for a high tackle, Currie turned the screw. Several close quarter drives were repelled, and Marr cleared the threat but only into the hands of Charlie Brett, 40 metres out. The elusive fullback motored through a gap before linking with Ryan Daley and DJ Innes who romped in under the post on his 50th appearance for the club.

The try was converted, and it looked as if the Chieftains were heading for the break with a reasonable lead, however the remaining few minutes of the half proved costly for the home team. A couple of penalties and weak defending allowed Marr to bully their way to the line for a converted try. From the restart It looked as if slick Currie passing had stretched Marr, and a strong run from Iain Sim took him over the line; unfortunately, the officials determined a forward pass, and the first half drama ended.

Halftime score – Currie Chieftains 17 pts, Marr 13 pts.

The game resumed with the same intensity, and ferocious tackling which took no prisoners, particularly at the breakdown. Marr were now much more to the fore, but a strong defensive set from the Chieftains held out and play slowly moved in the other direction. Jamie Forbes’ precise penalty kick took play into the visitors’ red zone. The Chieftains battered away with a barrage of driving mauls which concluded when the ball was held up over the line.

Twenty minutes had passed with no further scoring, but this was about to change when a lapse in Currie’s discipline allowed Marr to march forward. The niggle and grind had disrupted the home team’s resolve, and Marr made the most of their raw, no-nonsense driving style which muscled in for a converted try midway into the final quarter. The home team looked rudderless and a little ragged with errors creeping into their game as they tried to break the Marr strangle-hold; it was reminiscent of the play-off final two seasons ago. Momentum was now with Marr who capitalised on the Chieftains’ mistakes, and their ruthless driving pack took them two scores clear with a third converted try.

Despite finishing the game camped on the Marr goal line, Currie’s desperate late effort was a bit of a shambles, and far from an organised team response. Once again, the opposition had found the Chieftains’ soft underbelly, got under their skin, and roughed them up. What had started so well, ended in disappointment. It will be a big job to lift the Chieftains’ morale for the Play-off semi-final at Troon on Saturday 2nd March. But remember - ‘we are Currie Chieftains,’ and we will rise to the occasion.

I.J.S – 19 Feb 2024

Currie RFC

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