September 25, 2023
Premier League - Match 4: 23.9.23.
A View from the Chieftains Touchline
Currie Chieftains 46 pts (t 7, c 4, p g 1) v Heriot’s 5pts (t1)
After a torrid season back in the Premier league last year, Heriot’s have made a solid start to the new campaign, and they were expected to challenge their host for top spot. With both clubs respective second fifteens battling it out on the adjacent pitch, a reasonable crowd of club rugby supporters helped to create plenty of noise, and a good sporting atmosphere at an overcast Malleny Park.
The Chieftains got off to a flier, with two scores in 5 minutes. The visitors’ hefty pack was not prepared for Currie’s ferocious 30 metre rolling maul which ended with a converted try for Sam Cardosi. This was shortly followed by a penalty goal from Charlie Brett, who was making his 50th Chieftains appearance. On 10 minutes, a couple of misfiring Currie lineouts put Heriot’s in a strong attacking position, and a splendid cross-field kick was brilliantly caught by their wing for an unconverted corner flag try.
Unfortunately for Heriot’s, this was the high point of their afternoon. For the remainder of the first half the visitors were cemented to their 22 with the Chieftains delivering a near perfect display of 15-man rugby. When Roy Vucago broke from another driving maul and charged through a pod of quaking defenders into open field, the visitors' defence was in disarray: Ali McCallum was perfectly lined up for a deceptive Jamie Forbes short pass, and he motored 25 metres to the posts. The Chieftains' attacks now came fast and furiously from all directions, as the visitors struggled to stem the onslaught and gain any possession. By the break Currie had completely knocked the stuffing out of their opponents with tries from Graeme Carson, Roy Vucago, DJ Innes, and another for the excellent Ali McCallum; three of them converted by Charlie Brett. The excitement rose to a crescendo whenever Jamie Forbes, DJ Innes, Roy Vucago or Sam Cardosi was on the ball. Courteny West, Thomas Jeffery, Kyle Steel and Cammy Gray also played fine supporting rolls.
Halftime score – Currie Chieftains 41pts, Heriot’s 5pts.
A stern message must have been conveyed from the visitors’ coaching staff at halftime as the team was certainly more competitive in the second period, but always under the constant pressure imposed by a dominant Chieftains pack. The home team should have added at least two more tries to their total, but a knock-on over the goal line, and a combative defence frustrated the marauding Malleny team. James McCaig and Ryan Daley had exciting touchline runs, and 25 minutes had passed before the deadlock was finally broken by Cammy Lessels. The lively scrumhalf swooped on to a loose ball which popped from a Heriot’s scrum 5 metres out. The converted score just added to the visitors’ disastrous afternoon where nothing went their way. On a better day they would have gleaned something for their efforts, but mis-timed passes or a dropped ball just added to their misery.
This one-sided contest did not provide the expected test for the Chieftains’ lofty League position, but it will be a much different matter next weekend when they meet those other highfliers, Hawick at Mansfield Park; kick-off 3.00pm.
I.J.S. - 25.9.23.