No points at Netherdale
By Gregor Ness
A performance to forget as we remain winless in the borders
DEFEAT AT NETHERDALE - Report by President Stephen Allam
With Marr sitting 2nd in the league and Gala a few places below, Marr were looking to secure their place near the top of National 1 after their great win against GHA.
Fate, however had other ideas.
The match kicked off in front of a vociferous Gala crowd with Marr kicking into a cold breeze.
In the first play of the match the ball was passed out the Marr three quarters line to centre Gregor Paxton (sponsored by Finese Marquees) who managed to slip passed his defender and pass to Conor Bickerstaff who burst through the midfield. Conor then skilfully threw a dummy and found himself clear from around the half way line. This resultant break allowed Conor to score between the posts. Marr were 7-0 up with only one minute on the clock.
Gala did not take this lying down and were soon on the score sheet themselves after the Gala pack had overpowered the Marr pack during the first scrum, resulting in a 35 metre penalty for Gala.
Gala’s first try came ten minutes later after some continued pressure, allowing the Gala full back Ross Cooke to score with an overlap in the corner. This gave Gala the lead.
Craig Redpath then decided to make some front row changes bringing on Graham Dick and Stephen Adair for Olli Rossi and William Farquhar.
These changes seemed to be making a difference when Marr secured a five metre line out. From the lineout the ball was secured, and after some close forward drives towards the Gala line, the ball was quickly passed out the backs with Conor Bickerstaff throwing a long ball to his brother Scott who easily passed his opposite number to score in the corner.
Unfortunately Marr’s slim lead would not last. Gala now close to Marr’s line, won a 5 metre scrum and with their scrum dominance continuing, their number eight Euan Dodd’s easily drove over to give Gala the half time lead 18- 12.
The next try was going to be vital, and it came from a dropped high ball, giving Gala the opportunity to catch Marr cold. The Gala three-quarters skilfully ran the ball through their hands allowing Rex Jeffrey to touch down in the corner.
Marr now under serious pressure had to do something. The Marr pack drove forward with good aggression sucking in the Gala defenders and with quick recycled ball gave Scott Bickerstaff the chance to power through the now thin defence, to keep Marr in the game.
With the game still in the balance and time running out, Marr were now going for the win and extra bonus point with four tries.
However their over exuberance was punished in the last play of the match when Gala winger John Turnbull intercepted, to run in from 25 metres, to secure a Gala win.
Marr will be very disappointed with their performance. Too many balls taken on the back foot and too many basic errors. However with the other league leaders all loosing, Marr remain only two points behind the leaders. This league gets more interesting as it progresses.
Marr Rugby 1st XV man of the match: Conor Bickerstaff (sponsored by CCL Logistics)
Marr Rugby 1st XV scorers
Tries: Conor Bickerstaff and Scott Bickerstaff (2)
Conversion: Liam McLoughlin