December 27, 2023
Premier League Match 12 - 25.11.23.
A View from the Touchline
Heriot’s 21 pts (t 3, c 3) v Currie Chieftains 29 pts (t 4, c 3, p g 1)
Traditionally, non-Premier League matches at Malleny Park have been watched by supporters free of charge. In recent seasons, however, there have been several Saturdays when a Premiership game has been played on the adjacent pitch, but those watching the ‘A’ game have not paid an entrance fee. At Goldenacre on Saturday those wishing to watch the Chieftains ‘A’ game were charged for that privilege. This situation is causing a lot of bad feeling amongst club rugby supporters, and the Premiership clubs quickly need to sort out this anomaly. Should spectators be charged to watch senior rugby fixtures?
On a cold bright afternoon, some exciting rugby soon warmed the sparse crowd as Heriot’s romped deep into Chieftains territory. A series of attacks went close, but the visitors’ defence held firm. After nearly 10 minutes Currie broke loose. From a penalty lineout inside the Heriot’s 22, Courtney West secured the ball, and a hefty forward drive rumbled to the corner flag; Charlie Brett kicked a tremendous conversion. Heriot’s responded immediately with fast open rugby which took them to the Chieftains’ goal line. Following a period of pressure, their big pack eventually muscled over for a hard-won converted try.
The end-to-end entertainment continued into the second quarter. Ryan Stewart’s stunning 40-metre body -swerving dash down the centre of the pitch caught Heriot’s off-guard. Charlie Brett had an easy conversion in front of the posts. When the hosts had a man sent to the sinbin for a dangerous tackle, Currie turned the screw. A Sam Cardosi turnover, plus some smart handling saw Ryan Daley motoring 30 metres for a converted try. Heriot’s continued to look dangerous with surging drives forward, and another converted corner flag try soon followed. Before the break, however, a deceptive Charlie Brett run secured the bonus point try for Currie; this score put a little distance between the two teams.
Halftime score – Heriot’s 14 pts, Currie Chieftains 26 pts.
Just on the stroke of halftime, Ali McCallum had to retire injured, and his absence was noticeably missed in the second half. Alex Harley, Gregor Christie, James McCaig and Charlie Brett were live wires in the Currie back line, and when Euan Crombie scorched through a midfield gap, another try looked ominous. Heriot’s managed to stem the attack, from which Charlie Brett did glean three vital penalty points. The match now swung strongly in Heriot’s favour for a substantial period.
The Chieftains’ possession dried up, and a yellow card put them under even more pressure. Were it not for a tremendous defensive effort, the rampant host would have scored more than a single converted try; their enthusiastic pack gained territory, and another driving maul delivered the points. With Currie’s lead cut to only eight points, the final fifteen minutes became a tense exciting affair. Play oscillated up and down the pitch as both teams probed for openings, but unlike Currie in the first half, Heriot’s fluffed the chances which came their way. Rhys Davies, Courtney West and Sam Cardosi worked like demons, and when Currie were in possession, the dancing feet of Alex Harley, Gregor Christie and Charlie Brett caused the opposition problems. This was an enjoyable match to watch; the Chieftains defended magnificently, but Heriot’s must be disappointed not to register any League points after their second half effort.
Weather permitting, we return to Malleny Park next weekend for a top-of-the-table clash with League leaders Hawick. Expect another epic encounter against a team the Chieftains have not beaten for quite a while; kick-off 2.00pm.
I.J.S. - 27.11.23.