Young Guns step up at Beveridge Park
By Gregor Ness
A hard fought 5 points against a physical Kirkcaldy outfit
Marr Rugby’s 1st XV returned to Beveridge Park after a gap of 40 years and were made most welcome by the players, officials and members of Kirkcaldy RFC. They are working hard and well and succeeding to be a community based rugby club that offers access to rugby to all ages and at all levels with the opportunity to experience playing in a high performance environment. There was a reunion of several Kirkcaldy and Marr former players who had been involved in the competitive matches when the clubs last met home and away during the 1970’s.
MARR RUGBY MATCH REPORT- MARR TRIUMPH AWAY IN THE KINGDOM
Marr Rugby’s 1st xv returned to Beveridge Park after a gap of more than 40 years hoping to continue their good start to the season.
Kirkcaldy rugby club held a very impressive home record, unbeaten in over 18 months, so Marr knew they would face a tough test.
With a few of the regulars missing including Scott Bickerstaff [knee], Ross Miller [holiday] Angus Johnston [work commitments] and Mackenzie Pearce [shoulder] , Dan Law [head] Marr was forced into bringing in some of the young less experienced players to fill the gap.
The match kicked off in brilliant autumnal sunshine with both sides eager to start well. Marr had several attacks thwarted by a stubborn Kirkcaldy defence that was not helped by some handling errors form the Troon side. After fifteen minutes the very heavy Kirkcaldy pack rumbled up the park sucking in Marr defenders allowing them to create quick ball. This resulted in a well worked try for the Kirkcaldy winger James Barclay to score in the corner drawing first blood to the Kirkcaldy men.
Marr answered soon after with excellent pressure play Marr gained territory and pinned Kirkcaldy back near their line. The pressure turned into penalty advantages and from a quick tap and go Marr number 8 Ben Johnson powered through the defence to score.
Within two minutes Marr scored again to take the lead. Alisdair Hazel fielded Kirkcaldy’s restart kick and launched a clearance kick that was fumbled and knocked on. As Kirkcaldy waited for the whistle the referee Craig Clark opted to see how advantage would go and Calvin Henderson picked up and led a charge out of defence. He passed to Ewan Bulger who sprinted 55 metres down the wing, outstripping the cover defence to score in the corner.
Closing in on half time the penalty count against Kirkcaldy was causing concern to the referee who then penalised two Kirkcaldy men with a 10 minute spell in the sin bin. Winning a penalty advantage near to Kirkcaldy’s line Marr opted for a scrum. As the pack rumbled to the try line Ben Johnston picked up and crashed over for his second try.
At half time Marr was in a 17 – 7 lead.
The second half kicked off with Marr given the remit to take advantage of Kirkcaldy’s 13 men and put this game to bed. It didn’t take long for Gregor Paxton (sponsored by Finesse Marquees) to accept a pass after a break by Jack Scott, to score only after two minutes of the second half commencing. The next try came soon after. Jack Scott eagerly accepted a pass created by an overlap to score in the corner. This delighted the large travelling support resulting in the largest cheer of the day.
Kirkcaldy now back to fifteen players answered Marr’s quick brace of tries with a try of their own scored by Struan Robertson after some strong forward play. The men from Fife refused to lie down and scored again after more tight powerful forward play that the Kirkcaldy men are well versed at.
With the game again in the balance, Marr needed to score next and they did. Josh Evans took a crash ball in the midfield and powered up the park then after the resulting break down Marr received fast ball allowing captain Conor Bickerstaff to cross the line again.
With Marr now firmly in the driving seat they added icing to the day for the travelling support as they scored the best try of the match.
Findlay Hazel, who had just replaced his brother Alisdair Hazel at scrum half, skilfully changed direction of play, passing to Conor Bickerstaff who threw an inch perfect pass to Marr’s young winger Jack Scott who in turn sprinted down the touch line and then brilliantly chipped the ball through, only to collect his own kick to score a simply magnificent try.
Marr’s coach Craig Redpath was delighted that the young players he brought in stepped up and all delivered a performance that they can be proud of. Kirkcaldy are a very good, very big side who will be very difficult to beat, especially at home.
Man of the match was Callum Steel (sponsored by Langholm Tea Room & Farm Shop) for his relentless tackling and probing runs. Jack Scott must of pushed him close.
Marr Rugby 1st XV man of the match – Callum Steel (sponsored by Langholm Tea Room & Farm Shop)
Marr Rugby 1st XV scorers
Tries: Ben Johnston (2); Ewan Hamilton-Bulger; Gregor Paxton; Jack Scott (2) and Conor Bickerstaff
Conversions: Liam McLoughlin (3)