December 20, 2023
Premier League Match 14 v Hawks – 16.12.23.
A View from the Touchline
Currie Chieftains 50 pts (t 8, c 5) v Glasgow Hawks 20 pts (t3, c 1, p g 1)
Thankfully, the recent very wet weather took a break 24 hours before this rearranged League fixture, and a drying wind certainly helped to firm the Malleny pitch. The match was action-packed from the kick-off. Roy Vucago and Ryan Daley combined effectively down the right flank, but a tremendous Hawks turnover, 5 metres out, stopped the advance. This was only a temporary setback, as a few minutes later hooker, Ryan Stewart, scored from a driving maul following a penalty lineout; Charlie Brett converted. The visitors then had a lively passage of adventurous play, which soon put Currie under pressure. A well-drilled lineout drove forward, and when the ball was released, the Hawks backs made ground. A perfectly angled 15-metre dash from their young lock forward bamboozled the Currie defence, and the scores were levelled.
For the next 20-mnutes play was exciting but very loose, particularly from Currie who found it difficult to hold on to possession, or tackles. As Hawks’ confidence grew, so did their flamboyant rugby, with a glorious try from their speedy fullback who raced in from 40 metres. The score was not converted, but after 30 minutes the visitors had jumped further ahead with a penalty goal. Nothing was going the Chieftains’ way. Hawks’ excellent defence, and counter-rucking had the home team struggling for any continuity. With halftime approaching, the Chieftains finally got into gear; James McCaig made the overlap, Charlie Brett straightened the line, and Ryan Daley scorched into the corner. The difficult conversion was missed, but on the stroke of halftime, another superb attack sent Hawks defenders scampering in all directions; Sam Cardosi powered over from 15 metres, and Charlie Brett converted from wide out.
Halftime score – Currie Chieftains 17 pts, Glasgow Hawks 15 pts.
Apart from a 5-minute spell before the break, Hawks had the better of the first half, and were a little unlucky to be behind. Further misfortune hit them hard when a try was disallowed for knocking-on over the try line. Currie made the most of their goal line exit, and the drop-kick chase led to a penalty lineout deep in Hawks’ 22. Ryan Stewart was finding his lineout targets well, with Courtney West or Ali Bain on top form; the ball was secured, and the pack gathered round to rumble forward. Only a few minutes into the second half, and the Chieftains had their converted bonus point try with an Ali Bain touchdown.
This was the turning point of the match. The home team’s tackling sharpened up, and they started to dominate. Sam Cardosi was prominent in defence and attack, ably aided by Kale Steel and Jacob Ramsey who carried magnificently. The home team was now on-song, with DJ Innes making the hard yards down the middle to set up more attacking opportunities. Following another mighty driving maul, the ball was released with perfect timing to debutant standoff, Callum Beckett who jinked his way to a corner flag try.
When Hawks had a man sent to the sinbin, after a devastating run from Ryan Stewart, the Chieftains took complete control. Three more converted tries from Ryan Stewart, the excellent Gregor Christie and Euan Crombie soon followed. The match was now drifting beyond Hawks’ reach, although they still played with plenty of spirit, and eventually gained an unconverted try for their considerable efforts.
Another solid performance will be needed on 6th January for the rearranged fixture with League leaders Hawick. The Border Club will certainly not let Currie get away with any slack play, as we know from recent past encounters. If the New Year weather is kind, it should be a memorable contest at Malleny Park – 2.00pm Kick-off.
Congratulations to the Chieftains U16 team who won the National Cup at Murrayfield on Sunday afternoon. What a terrifically enjoyable match it was. A Merry Christmas to you all
I.J.S. - 20.12.23.