November 5, 2023
Premier League - Match 9: 4.11.23.
A View from the Touchline
Currie Chieftains 40 pts (t 6, c 5) v Selkirk 36 pts (t 5, c 4, p g 1)
After a week of very wet weather, the sunshine at Malleny Park came as welcome relief, but could it lift the Chieftains’ performance following their disappointing result at Edinburgh Accies? There were more team changes for Currie, and influential Captain, Jamie Forbes was unfortunately forced to withdraw before kick-off through an injury sustained in the pre-match warmup.
A settled, and improving Selkirk fifteen are expected to upset the ambitions of several Premiership clubs, as the second half of the League campaign gets under way. In the first 15 minutes however, they must have felt that their hosts had harnessed the energy of recent Storm Ciaran, as Currie almost blew them back to the Borders with three impressive tries. The first, after only 2 minutes, travelled the length of the pitch. Roy Vucago burst clear, and sent James McCaig, making his 50th appearance for the Club, dashing down the touchline. The speedy wing gave a perfect inside pass to DJ Innes who had to off-load with the same dexterity to Cameron Lessels for the stunning converted score. A brief period elapsed before the next two tries came in quick succession. From 5-metre penalty lineouts, the throw-ins were secured, and on both occasions the pack drove forward with Roy Vucago navigating passage to the line; Sam Leto converted.
In the second quarter Selkirk took hold of events, and started to play their brand of flowing rugby with lively back play which brought them a converted try, and a penalty goal. The early Chieftains swagger had started to fade, before a skilful, Sam Cardosi off-load sent Alex Harley, who still had to beat two defenders, on his way to a converted bonus point try. Far from being despondent, the visitors rallied, and hit back almost immediately. A cruel in goal knock-on denied Selkirk, but eventually they were rewarded when their pack drove into the corner. The try was converted by the exceptional kicking of Hugo Anderson, to keep his team in touch with Currie, and make the second half interesting.
Halftime score – Currie Chieftains 26 pts, Selkirk 17 pts.
The break had come at the right time for Currie who appeared to losing focus, but with recharged batteries they were soon testing the Selkirk defence. An Alex Harley penalty kick found touch deep in the opposition 22, and following a barrage of assaults on the visitors’ line, led by Rhys Davies and Courtney West, a powerful run from DJ Innes produced the converted try they were looking for. Once again Selkirk regrouped and hit back with a superb passage of quality handling which delivered a try in the corner. The fast open contest was ranging from end to end; a feast of exciting entertainment for the uncommitted, but it was peppered with mistakes.
With 20 minutes remaining, Euan Crombie exploited a gap and raced in for a converted try which left the Malleny team in a comfortable position, 18 points ahead; but not for long. The Selkirk fight-back now got under way. For the remainder of the match, sheer grit and determination put the rampant visitors on the front foot. They went through the gears, and collected two more tries as Currie slid off tackles, and struggled to stem the flow. When Selkirk’s fifth try was converted from the touchline, the home team looked in disarray. The final few minutes were tense, but the Chieftains held on for a slender vital win. Another banana-skin Borders encounter next weekend when Currie travel to Jed-Forest who are looking for their first League win of the season. This could be a difficult trip!
I.J.S. - 5.11.23.