Marr Rugby round-up: Five minute lapse costs Marr dear
BT National League 1 Marr Rugby – 19 Selkirk RFC – 42
Runaway league leaders Selkirk extended their unbeaten run for the season with an impressive performance that left them comfortable winners against a Marr side that suffered a first half lapse during which they conceded three tries in short order. This, added to other scores, gave Selkirk an insurmountable lead and although Marr rallied and made a determined effort to get back into the match they struggled to make best use of the possession they had. Selkirk were very strong at the breakdown area and frequently disrupted promising Marr attacks. In addition they always threatened on the break and capitalised on almost every opportunity to take play away from defence and deep back into Marr territory.
Within ten minutes they had shown the threat posed when a Marr attack midway in midfield was turned over and quick and slick passing spread the ball wide to pacey fullback John Welsh who needed no second invitation to race in to score.
Selkirk turned up the pressure and on quarter hour mark added a penalty. The start of the second quarter heralded Selkirk’s explosion and Marr’s implosion with three further tries scored within ten minutes. Scrum half Mikey Davies was instrumental in each, either spotting and exploiting gaps or showing electric pace to catch Marr’s defence napping. The third once again from turnover ball as a promising Marr break was halted and Selkirk beat Marr’s support players to win the breakdown race.
During the final ten minutes of the half Marr finally got onto the front foot to spend significant time in possession and in Selkirk’s half. However they found that the visitor’s defensive play was equally as sound as their attack. Camped near to the try line Selkirk thwarted repeated Marr attacks and were content to concede penalties to disrupt. Just before half time the referee yellow carded Selkirk’s prop Cooney. Marr pressed for the try line but were held up. From the resultant scrum Fraser Grant (sponsored by Fastnet Developments Ltd) picked up from the base and was unstoppable from close range as he charged over to score a try that was converted by Colin Sturgeon. From the restart Marr again pressed towards Selkirk’s line but in desperation they conceded a penalty and allowed Selkirk to clear the threat and go on to win a further penalty in kickable range and add three more points to their first half tally.
Just after the start of the second half Marr’s Colin Sturgeon sparked excitement in the home crowd as he intercepted a wayward pass to sprint in from 40 metres. Marr lifted the tempo but continued to find Selkirk’s defence impenetrable. Attempts to kick into space behind only generated loss of possession and frequently concession of the hard fought yards as Selkirk’s counter-attacks took play back to deep into Marr territory.
With ten minutes remaining Marr managed to find gaps. Kris Kirk, Aaron Rankin and Johnny McClung started to show a real threat but yet again found Selkirk’s defence solid and unyielding in the final quarter. However, Marr’s efforts were rewarded with a try scored by man of the match Angus Johnston as he sliced his way through from 20 metres. In a final flurry Marr threw everything at Selkirk in a desperate attempt to secure a fourth try and gain a bonus point.
These valiant efforts went unrewarded and ended up being punished with a further Selkirk penalty and try.
Marr’s players now need to pick themselves up and prepare for next week’s crucial match away against Kelso which is a must win to cling on to the hope for league survival.
Marr man of the match: Angus Johnston (sponsored by Arthur Dunsmuir)
Tries: Fraser Grant (1), Colin Sturgeon (1) and Angus Johnston (1)
Conversions: Colin Sturgeon (2)