5 points at Fullarton as Marr humble Hawks
By Gregor Ness
Marr produce performance of the season so far, with Kaleem Baretto the star of the show
Marr Rugby 1st XV match summary: In Round 10 of the season Marr Rugby’s 1st XV had their first opportunity to show learning and improvement from the start of the season and continue to defy others expectations of their first season in the BT Premiership. Having lost the reverse fixture 41-28, been soundly beaten in the set-piece scrum and struggled at times with the pace and intensity Marr’s players delivered a resounding response to show they had taken on board the lessons and improved.
It wasn’t all clear cut as Hawk’s quickly struck the first blow, when Hawks pounced on a poor clearance kick to launch a counter attack that ended with Brendan McGroarty slicing through the defence with ease to open the scoring with a try.
This provided a good impetus for Marr who bounced back with some impressive attacking play that was only thwarted by equally determined defence. Marr had to make do with a penalty conversion from Dougie Steele (sponsored by Smart Money, Scotland). Hawks immediately hit back to stretch their lead, with first a penalty and then a try from with a well worked move that started after Marr lost their own lineout put-in. In spite of the changing conditions good handling at pace saw the ball spread wide to speedster Kyle Rowe who managed to evade the cover defence and score a converted try. This closed the first quarter with Hawks holding a 12 point advantage and their supporters expecting more of the same to follow. Marr had other ideas.
The second quarter was dominated by Marr as they warmed to the elements and upped their tempo. Scrum half Kaleem Barreto was in sparkling form and always ready to get Marr onto the front foot with quick tap and go moves from penalties. Play at the set-piece scum and lineout was better and provided the necessary platform for bringing the backs into offensive play. Marr’s pack – which has struggled against bigger opponents, was bolstered by the inclusion of pro draft player Samuela Vunisa, who played for 60 minutes. Fraser Watt and Will Farquhar were in great form and put their opposite numbers under the cosh. Under pressure Hawks started to make errors and Marr capitalised on these.
On the half hour mark Marr got their first try. A driving maul took play midfield into Hawks 22 metre area. Kaleem Barreto directed his pack forward then saw the chance to take the ball and unleash the backs. As he cut into open space the Hawks defence shuffled across to try to cover the strike runners who were coming forward. Kaleem spotted an opening and opted to go on his own and cut through to score a converted try. From the restart Hawks continued to be under pressure from Marr and their problems were exacerbated by the loss one of their second row players, Fraser Hastie, to a yellow card. Five minutes before half time Marr scored their second try with Craig Kolarik slicing in from short range after Marr’s pack had been camped near to Hawks line. The conversion, from Dougie Steele, left the half-time score 17 – 15 to Marr.
In the second half Marr delivered their best and most productive 40 minutes of rugby of the season to date. They got off to a flying start after Scott Bickerstaff was illegally taken out as he racing down his wing. With the penalty awarded Kaleem Barreto took the opportunity of a quick tap and go and raced from half way through Hawks pack and into open space. His evasive running then got him past the cover defence to score under the posts. Hawks worked hard to try to get back into the match and although they had good periods of possession, Marr’s defensive work prevented from getting them getting any real territorial advantage. At time Marr continued to threaten and Hawks worked well in defence to protect their line. Just after the half hour mark and as Hawks attacked and tried to force an opening Conor Bickerstaff (sponsored by CCL Logistics) pounced to intercept a long pass. He then raced in from 50 metres to score Marr’s fourth try, giving them the important try bonus point. As the match drew to a close Hawks never gave up their fight to try to get back into the game but Marr’s defence was solid. As time out was called Marr’s pack and Kaleem Barreto had final say when they won turnover ball and he launched a kick into touch.
Marr Rugby 1st XV man of the match: Kaleem Barreto (sponsored by Colin Adam)
Marr Rugby 1st XV scorers
Tries: Kaleem Barreto (2); Craig Kolarik and Conor Bickerstaff
Conversions: Dougie Steele (4)
Penalty: Dougie Steele (1)