Fortress Fullarton stands strong
By Gregor Ness
Dominant display from the purple and gold results in another league title
Marr Rugby 1st XV
A nine try win against Gala ensured that Marr Rugby were crowned Tennent’s NL1 Champions for season 2018/19.
The win was enjoyed by a huge crowd with more than 500 people on the touchline.
Marr got the scoreboard moving within three minutes. Ross Miller made a trademark break and as he was tackled near to the line he offloaded to Ollie Rossi who was able to burst through the final defender and touch down. Colin Sturgeon added the extra two points from the conversion.
On fifteen minutes Gala opened their scoring with a penalty. Marr quickly countered with some expansive play and made the most of a couple of penalty advantages to press home attacks. As Gala’s defence started to splinter Ewan Bulger spotted a huge gap and made a 25 metre dash from a breakdown to add Marr’s second try.
For the following ten minutes Gala enjoyed dominance in possession and territory but were unable to convert this into points as Marr’s defence held firm.
Just before the half hour mark the supporters were left bemused as Marr were reduced to 14 players when captain Conor Bickerstaff was given a yellow card. The assistant referee had reported an illegal clear out at a breakdown and the irony was that to everyone else it was Conor who had been cleared out. Normally this advantage leads to points for the side with numerical supremacy. Marr made sure that Gala weren’t going to get this benefit as they immediately scored try three when Richard Dalgleish touched down in the corner at the end of an attack that started in their own 22 metre area. Ross Miller made another break and took play into Gala’s half of the pitch before being tackled. The ball was quickly recycled as Marr maintained the attack. In a flowing movement the ball was passed through six players with forwards and backs intermixed. Prop Will Farquhar raced up the wing and into Gala’s 22 metre area where he made the scoring pass to Richard Dalgleish.
In the final play of the first half Richard Dalgleish added his second try for the day as he scored from half way. He broke up the wing bursting through the first tackle before putting in a deft chip to send the ball into the try area and raced past the final defender to score. Colin Sturgeon added the conversion to leave with a 24-3 lead at halftime.
In the second half Marr played towards the Courtyard end and with the sun behind their backs they cut loose and took Gala apart. Repeated attacks and pressure play took its toll on Gala and as their players tired gaps started to appear in their defence. Marr exploited these as they ran Gala ragged.
Five tries followed with Will Farquhar next on the scoresheet as he burrowed his way through from close range following an extended period of play near to Gala’s line.
From the restart Marr added try six. Conor Bickerstaff made a line break down the wing and passing inside to supporting runners the ball was shifted to Findlay Hazel who ran in from 40 metres to score the converted try.
Marr added to Gala’s misery as Scott Bickerstaff added try seven with two minutes of the restart. He had taken the ball midway in Marr’s half and spotted a gap in Gala’s defence. He raced through and into Gala’s half bursting through two tackle attempts to race home from 70 metres for a converted try. Gala replied with a consolation score.
In the final quarter Marr added tries eight and nine. Ross Miller crashed through from close range as Marr’s pack pressured close to Gala’s line.
The final score came immediately following the restart and once again it was Marr’s power, pace and slick handling that unlocked Gala’s defence. Conor Bickerstaff took possession and powered his way to the line as he raced 65 metres carving his way through Gala’s defence, bursting through several tackle attempts. Colin Sturgeon added the conversion.
In the final fifteen minutes Gala tried their utmost to salvage something but it was a lost cause as Marr’s defence held firm.
As the final whistle blew the celebrations began for Mar and the supporters. The trophy was presented pitch side to captain Conor Bickerstaff and he and the rest of the squad were lauded for their efforts throughout the season.
Marr Rugby 1st XV man of the match – Richard Dalgleish (sponsored by Lawrence & Caron Dalgleish)
Marr Rugby 1st XV scorers
Tries: Ollie Rossi; Ewan Bulger; Richard Dalgleish (2); William Farquhar; Findlay Hazel, Scott Bickerstaff; Ross Miller and Conor Bickerstaff
Conversions: Colin Sturgeon (5)