Currie Chieftains Malleny

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National Cup Quarter- Final: Match 21 v Musselburgh - 16.3.24.

A View from the Touchline

Musselburgh 14 pts (t 2, c 2) v Currie Chieftains 83 pts (t 13, c 9)

Unfortunately, this year’s National Cup is turning into a bit of a fiasco, with many fingers pointing in the direction of Murrayfield administrators, and some poor fixture scheduling! It has been a difficult season regarding the extremely wet weather; also, club rugby supporters and players had to make 6 Nations travel arrangements before any Cup fixture dates were even published. Consequently, some clubs have been forced to field weakened teams, or they have withdrawn from the competition. Fixture dates for the Scottish Districts competition, plus the Super 6 debacle, have also added to the chaos. Let us hope that this can be sorted out amicably before the start of next season.

After more days of continuous rain, the Stoneyhill pitch looked in surprisingly decent shape, and although weakened by player availability, the Musselburgh team sparkled in the sunshine during the opening exchanges. There was determination in their adventurous play, and they recorded a converted try within 5 minutes. The Chieftains had also made changes to their line-up, but after the hosts’ opening score, they soon clicked into gear, and then remained in control for most of the match. By the 15-minute mark the visitors had raced into the lead with tries from Ryan Daley, Callum Becket and Archie Fletcher; Jamie Forbes converted two of them.

Gaps were appearing in the Musselburgh defence, and Currie took full advantage with fast accurate handling which had the opposition scampering in all directions. Graeme Carson, Ryan Stewart, and Ali Bain had 30-metre gallops down the centre of the pitch which produced further scores for DJ Innes, Graeme Carson and Sam Cardosi. Only one of the tries was converted, but by halftime the rampant Chieftains had established a winning lead, and Musselburgh had a man in the sinbin.

Halftime score – Musselburgh 7 pts, Currie Chieftains 36 pts.

The Stoneyhill team, and their supporters were reeling from the Chieftains freewheeling, flamboyant display, and the break did little to rectify the situation. From a poor restart kick, Musselburgh immediately put themselves under pressure. A beautifully angled run from DJ Innes linked with Ryan Daley who stepped inside the cover defence and motored for the posts. The hefty Musselburgh pack did show their scrummaging abilities, and after a brief period of pressure they were rewarded with a pushover converted try. Although Musselburgh were trying to compete, all too frequently handling mistakes, unforced errors, bad luck and fatigue took its toll.

The Chieftains reached 50 points when Roy Vucago scored, but a few minutes later the ‘brick built’ tackler was sent to the bin for a ‘no bend at the knees’ tackle; unfortunately for the robust, versatile forward, he just stands in the ball carriers' way in a stout upright position and gets pinged for it. With a good 25 minutes remaining it was all one-way traffic, and difficult to keep pace with Currie’s scoring. Musselburgh did their best to contain the visitors, but the Chieftains’ work rate did not drop off. Alex Harley, Rhys Davies and Callum Becket all found the try line. It was good to see fresh faces breaking into the senior team; Euan Blair, Ross Morrison, Kyle Borthwick and Matthew Laidlaw did not disappoint; the latter two both scored. Callum Beckett also impressed with his goal kicking, converting 6 tries in total. There will undoubtedly be tougher opponents in the Semi-Final, but with this spirit the Chieftains should be confident.

I.J.S – 18.03.24

Currie RFC

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