Marr Rugby round-up: Seniors’ results (Saturday 2 September 2017) – Mixed fortunes
BT Premiership: Glasgow Hawks 41 - Marr Rugby 28
BT Reserve NL2: Marr Rugby 49 – GHA 19
Marr Rugby’s 1st and 2nd XV’s had mixed fortunes in the opening matches of season 2017-18. With both sides stepping up a league there was an element of stepping into the unknown. The 2s enjoyed a good win while the 1s can take heart from the fact they defied the doomsayers and will take a lot of positives and learning from this first competitive outing in Scotland’s top tier.
The club’s international recognition continues to grow with new supporter Ingvar Ritzen flying in from Stockholm to take in the match.
Match reports to follow.
1st XV match photos available here
Marr Rugby 1st XV Man of the match – Ross Miller
Marr Rugby 1st XV scorers
Tries: Will Farquhar; Ross Miller and Scott Bickerstaff
Conversions: Colin Sturgeon (2)
Penalties: Colin Sturgeon (3)
Marr Rugby 2nd XV Man of the match – Gregor Paxton
Marr Rugby 2nd XV scorers
Tries: Murray Beckwith (2); Josh Evans; Gregor Paxton; Fraser Grant (2); Ali Hazel; and Mac McInnes
Conversions: Max Freydell (4)
Marr Rugby 1st XV match summary
Marr Rugby’s introduction to the top tier of Scottish club rugby had an added edge, with the match being held at Scotstoun, the home base of Glasgow Warriors and played against a Hawks side more familiar with the artificial playing surface and augmented by two Glasgow Warrior professional players. The electrifyingly paced Scotland 7s player George Horne and strong running centre Paddy Kelly’s inclusion added further metle to an already strong Hawks back line. The match was a good introduction for Marr and great help on their steep learning curve.
Marr supporters turned out in great numbers and formed the overwhelming majority of the 400 strong crowd. As the match got underway they like Marr’s players quickly realised the scale of the task ahead with play progressing at a furious pace with little time for pause and thinking and crunching tackles. Hawks quickly took the offensive and a dominant set of forwards posed significant question of Marr’s pack, especially in the set piece scrum. Under pressure Marr conceded penalties and George Horne applied his 7s skills with quick tap and go’s to gain huge amounts of territory as Marr tried to organise their defensive lines. The tackle count was going into overdrive as Marr fought to protect their try line.
Hawks opened the scoring after 10 minutes with a simple penalty shot at goal. Following the restart Marr’s forwards stepped up a gear and got stuck in at the breakdown. The result was turnover possession that led to the opening try scored in the corner by talisman Will Farquhar (sponsored by Paul Feeney), who crossed the line after a series of short range pick and go’s. Colin Sturgeon added the extra points.
Hawks were stung and responded with a sustained period of pressure play that lasted ten minutes that eventually saw the deadlock broken by Horne who once again used a quick tap and go to split Marr’s defensive line open and link with Paddy Kelly to create a gap and allow Stephen Leckey to stroll in.
Marr responded well and within five minutes levelled the score after Hawks illegally disrupted another attacking move.
As Marr tried to catch breath Hawks delivered a premiership lesson. Within two minutes of the restart George Horne was once again the catalyst of an attacking move that ended with pacey winger Sam Yawayawa scoring a converted try. Five minutes later Hawks added to their tally after their pack’s dominance at the scrum earned the first of two penalty tries.
As the home support started to think that the job was done and an avalanche of points was about to follow, Marr’s players showed that they were not ready to lie down. Man of the match Ross Miller, a former Hawks player, led the fightback and just before half-time the efforts were rewarded with a try he scored and Colin Sturgeon converted. This ended the half with Hawks leading 24-17.
In the second half Hawks added a quick try to stretch the lead. After 10 minutes play Marr threatened but once again had to make to do with six points from two penalty kicks after Hawks disrupted promising attacks. After the second infringement Marr received a potential boost as Horne was yellow carded for his efforts at the breakdown. Ironically the effect of this was to see Hawks play as though they had the extra man and their pressure gained a further three points from a converted penalty.
With five minutes remaining Marr added their third try following a fast paced and flowing backs move in perfect harmony. This included Conor Bickerstaff (sponsored by CCL Logistics) delivering an outrageous show and go to carve open a gap in Hawks defence before offloading to his brother Scott Bickerstaff (sponsored by SmartMoney) to complete the attack with a trademark devastating run in from 40 metres, leaving defenders in his wake.
This closed the gap to six points and set up a nervy finish for both sides’ supporters. As Marr tried to force a final try they lost possession and were punished. Hawks won turnover ball and quickly took play to the other end of the pitch. With the last play of the game they provided the hammer-blow as once again they were awarded a penalty try following another push-over scrum from the five-metre line.
For Marr supporters this was a cruel blow but for the players a sharp and valuable lesson that will help in their endeavours as the league campaign continues.
Marr’s squad included appearances by several new starts. All gave a very good performance and showed they fitted in well with Marr’s style of play. In particular, Ross Miller was immense in open play. Richard Dalgleish didn’t get much chance to show his attacking capability but defensively was sound with some crunching tackles and Kaleem Barreto showed why he’s earning recognition as a future scrum half worthy of wearing the dark blue of Scotland.
Marr Rugby 2nd XV match summary
In their first outing of the season in NL2, Marr Rugby’s 2nd XV dominated from start to finish. Lewd by captain Josh Evans (sponsored by TR Bollyman) Marr quickly put the gauntlet down to GHA and continued in rampant form. Along the way they scored eight tries with a number of players showing that they are ready and able to step up as and when required. In particular Gregor Paxton excelled and his performance will again provide head coach Craig Redpath with some additional opportunities for his senior playing squad.
Marr Rugby next fixtures – Saturday 9 September 2017 (all 3pm kick-offs)
Updated 11:34 - 8 Sep 2017 by Billy Bate
1s – home v Heriot’s (league)
2s – away v Biggar (league)
3s – away v Kilmarnock 2s (league)