Marr Rugby round-up: 1s edge out Jed to stay top while 3s have morale victory
Marr Rugby senior results
Tennent’s NL1: Marr Rugby 26 – Jed Forest RFC 23
Tennent’s Reserve League West 1: Marr Rugby 3 – Hillhead Jordanhill RFC 2s 12
In a tight and evenly balanced contest between the top two teams it was a brilliant Conor Bickerstaff try from 40metres to follow the forwards power score landed by William ‘Wilko’ Farquhar and the boot of Colin Sturgeon that gave Marr the slight advantage and finally the winning points. A large crowd on the touchline were on the edge of their seats throughout the captivating match. Marr's points from the win see them stay top. Results elsewhere saw GHA land second place trailing by two points while Jed Forest and Musselburgh slip back to third and fourth spots. With only five points separating the top five clubs and nine matches left, this remains one of the closest contests ever. Next Saturday will be telling as the top four clubs play each other.
Meanwhile on the top pitch Marr Rugby’s 3rd XV faced up to high flying Hillhead Jordanhill whose performances have earned them the league the top of the table position, unbeaten so far this season and averaging scoring 40 points plus in matches. The 3s worked like demons in defence and managed to keep the Hils juggernaut in check. Significant injuries to John Calder and Thomas Watkins disrupted Marr’s game plan and although they threated Hils line on several occasions they had to make do with points from a penalty.
Match reports to follow but meantime see 1st XV match photos courtesy of Kenneth Ferguson here , Jon Pearce here and others here.
MATCH REPORT (by Stephen Allam)
MARR 1ST XV versus JED FOREST RFC
MARR EDGE OUT JED IN TOP OF THE TABLE THRILLER.
Marr Rugby took a huge leap forward in their quest to become TENNENT'S National League champions at fortress Fullarton.
The one thing guaranteed before the match was that this game was always going to be very tight and massively contested by two teams that were solely focussed on winning this game.
Marr kicked off and immediately won the ball and started to press into the Jed Forest territory.
After three minutes Marr were awarded a penalty for Jed being offside at a ruck. Colin Sturgeon on kicking duties was glad to score from 35 metres to open the score.
It took only another two minutes for Jed to answer back with their own penalty after Marr were penalised close to their own line.
Shortly after Jed were dealt a blow when their second row John Szkudro was yellow carded for a late tackle on Marr captain Conor Bickerstaff, after the whistle had been blown for a knock on. Colin Sturgeon duly punished Jed with a huge 45 metre penalty.
Marr were soon 9-3 up with another Sturgeon penalty, after Marr had driven Jed back in the scrum.
Jed certainly did not take the deficit well and soon after showed that they have a very dangerous back division, when showing some good forward interplay, they shifted the ball out their backs and with Marr’s defence somewhat thin on the ground, it came to Callum Young to find a large gap to sprint through and score the game’s opening try.
The match continued until half time with both teams defences thoroughly on top, nullifying both offences effectively.
Half time Marr 9 Jed 10.
The second half kicked off with the same intensity as the first. Marr were penalised after their maul was judged to being using a ‘truck and trailer’ effect. Jed were now further ahead after another accurate penalty from their scrum half Gary Munro.
Marr now under intense pressure to score next and they soon answered this with a brilliant drive over try from 15 metres out with prop William Farquhar immerging as Marr’s try scorer.
Jed were next to score with a well worked blind side move from 22 metres out. Their back row broke from a maul and after some good inter passing the ball came to Monty Mitchell to burst over for Jed's second try.
With Marr down by a single point the game entered into the final quarter. Jed kicked the ball long and it was fielded by Jack Scott who ran forward 20 meters and then passed inside to Conor Bickerstaff, who beat two defenders and found himself in the clear from 40 metres out. He still had to use his immense pace to sprint through and score under the posts to give Marr the lead.
It was inevitable that Jed would come back hard at Marr and they certainly did. However, Marr’s defence were totally focused and were determined to give Jed very little. Jed did manage one more penalty after Marr’s forwards were judged to be offside.
With ten minutes still on the clock and Marr only three points up it was essential that Marr secured the ball and try and run down the clock. This they did to Jed’s frustration and when the final whistle blew it came at great relief to the big Marr support and their players alike.
All in all this was a brilliant and highly contested game played by two very good teams that showed passion and skill right to the very end. Marr did emerge victors, however, the game could have gone either way.
Colin Sturgeon and Jed scrum half Gary Munro had both perfect kicking records, however the man of the match was awarded to Marr prop William ‘Wilko’ Farquhar.
Final score Marr 26 Jed 23.
Marr now sit top of the division, with GHA only two points behind, however with five teams within five points of Marr there are many vital hard games ahead.
Marr Rugby 1st XV man of the match – William Farquhar (sponsored by Alex Graham)
Marr Rugby 1st XV scorers
Tries: William Farquhar and Conor Bickerstaff
Conversions: Colin Sturgeon (2)
Penalties; Colin Sturgeon (4)
Marr Rugby 3rd XV man of the match – Neil Wallace (sponsored by Aspire Beauty and Therapy)
Marr Rugby next fixtures - Saturday 8/12/18
Updated 19:24 - 15 Jan 2019 by Kevin Quinn
1s - Away v Musselburgh
2s – Home v Stirling County
3s – Away v Glasgow Accies 2s