Marr Rugby round-up: 1s secure vital point
BT National League 1 Jed-Forest RFC – 45 Marrr Rugby – 24
Marr Rugby’s 1st XV’s away match to Jed-Forest got off to the worst possible start as Scott Bickerstaff and Kris Kirk both failed late fitness tests. Marr’s senior coach, Craig Redpath, had to quickly call up Danny Clark to the replacement’s bench and re-shape his back line with Gregor Ness (sponsored by Bearing Gifts, Troon) switching to the wing and Johnny McClung drafted in to cover at full back.
Andy Kelly (sponsored by Ferguson and Company) and Fraser Grant were welcome returnees to the pack and Marr’s man of the match Angus Johnston packed down in the second row.
Marr started brightly and early forwards’ dominance put Jed-Forest under sufficient pressure to concede penalties. Marr opted to kick to the corner and gain an ideal attacking platform. A lineout from 10mtrs out turned into the first real point scoring opportunity for Marr. Repeated drives by the forward won a further penalty advantage and Marr kept re-cycling and eventually found a way through a tight defence as Fraser Grant provided the break through. Rory McGee converted to give a seven point lead.
Jed-Forest immediately hit back with a converted try as centre Fraser Harkness lived up to his nick-name of “Bull” to burst through mid-field top score despite several tackle attempts.
Marr responded well to the set-back and again put Jed-Forest under pressure. They were unfortunate not to gain anything from a kick behind the Jed-Forest defence as Stuart Howie and Johnny McClung raced through on the loose ball only to just be beaten by the scramble defence. Marr’s pack again showed good dominance and composure to win another penalty that they opted to kick for touch in the corner. Winning the lineout they set up a driving maul that shunted over the home try line. As bodies collapsed the referee was well placed to award Marr a try as Paul Burke emerged from the bottom of the pile. The conversion attempt fell just short.
Jed-Forest again quickly responded. The next 20mins of the game saw them pile on pressure with 90% of the possession and the majority of this being in the Marr half. Repeated attacks were repelled but under some significant pressure it was inevitable that Jed-Forest would find a way through. In the final minute of the half they finally made the breach that provided a converted try and give them a two point advantage.
The first quarter of the second half saw continued pressure play from Jed-Forest. An early try was added to stretch the lead. Marr struggled to contain the repeated attacks and after ten minutes of play were reduced to 14 players as Fraser Grant was sin binned for his play at a breakdown. Two further tries were added with the second also seeing Ben Johnston being yellow carded. Again Marr’s nemesis was experienced centre Harkness. A chip kick was dropped close to the try line behind Marr’s defence. Harkness adopted a route one approach and his straight line running meant he collided with Ben Johnston who was Marr’s last man in defence. As the home support bayed in protest and suggesting that Ben should have stepped aside the referee awarded a penalty try and produced a yellow card. Jed-Forest capitalised on the numerical advantage and by the end of the third quarter had established a thirty point advantage.
During the final fifteen minutes Marr regained the initiative. Substitutions saw Ollie Rossi, Andrew Gault, William Farquhar, Danny Clark and Kyle Vallance come onto the field and seemed to freshen things up.
Rory McGee scored on the 70th min and followed it up with the conversion. Marr pressure continued into the final minutes of the game and the effort was rewarded with a bonus point as William Farquhar scored their fourth try.
Marr man of the match – Angus Johnston (sponsored by Arthur Dunsmuir)
Tries: Fraser Grant (1), Paul Burke (1), Rory McGee (1) and William Farquhar (1)
Conversions: Rory McGee (2)