Dalgleish seals it in dramatic style
By Gregor Ness
Brutal 80 minutes as both sides empty the tank
Match Report by Stephen Allam
MARR REMAIN ON COURSE
The weather at Braidholm on Saturday was quite simply brutal for rugby.
With both teams extremely motivated to secure a win this match was the perfect recipe for the connoisseur. However it was never going to be a free flowing expansive game, more a battle of attrition with both big packs slugging it out.
GHA had the wind advantage in the first half, however it was Marr with the first chance of the game, after GHA was penalised for a high tackle, Colin Sturgeon just missed his penalty chance.
Five minutes later GHA utilised the wind well and created a chance, this was foiled by a try saving tackle by Marr full back Liam McLoughlin.
The opening score came after a powerful breakout from Defence by Marr’s big ball carrier Ross Miller. A penalty was awarded 30m out for GHA infringing at a ruck. Colin Sturgeon duly converted giving Marr a valuable 3 points lead.
With both teams’ defences in total control, it took a mistake to lead to the first try. GHA kicked a high ball through and the Marr full back failed to catch and the ball broke free allowing the on-rushing GHA winger to fly hack the ball from the half way line. The race for the line was won by GHA centre Charlie Lonergan who scored in the corner.
With five minutes left of the first half, Fraser Grant received a yellow card for a no arm tackle that was spotted by the assistant referee.
Half time was 5 points to 3. This would of pleased Marr as the wind advantage was significant.
The second half started well for GHA as their skilled handling and ball possession resulted in Marr having to dig deep in defence.
The most controversial moment happened seven minutes in to the second half when Marr lock Fraser Grant, who had just come back onto the field, was given his second yellow card. This was for a swinging arm tackle that was only spotted by the assistant referee.
Marr were now in trouble as they were down to 14 men.
The game now was mainly a mid-field battle with neither team willing to give ground. Marr was awarded a further two penalties, however they were never going to be easy kicks as the wind was now swirling more than ever.
Marr were becoming more and more desperate to find a way through the sturdy GHA defence but equally Marr thwarted every GHA attack with good line speed tackling. To be honest no team looked like scoring.
With one minute left on the clock the moment of magic for Marr happened. It came from Marr captain Conor Bickerstaff.
The ball was turned over 10 meters into the Marr half. Scrum half Finlay Hazel spun a great ball long to Conor who found a gap in the GHA defence. Conor used his speed and excellent step to sprint deep into the GHA 22 metre line. The ball was quickly recycled out the backs to find Richard Dalgleish in space to power over the line to give Marr the winning score.
To be honest no team deserved to lose this match and it was always going to be a very close affair. However it was Marr that triumphed in the end.
With Jed Forest also managing a tight win at Selkirk, this means Marr’s match against Gala on the 16th becomes even more vital for the Troon men. A huge crowd is expected on the touch line for this game.
Marr Rugby 1st XV man of the match - Mackenzie Pearce (sponsored by AG Peters)
Marr Rugby 1st XV scorers
Try: Richard Dalgleish
Penalty: Colin Sturgeon