Loretto cling on for victory
Brave comeback by Marr not enough
On a beautiful sunny autumn afternoon Marr College Under 16s travelled through to Musselburgh to take on Loretto, which we understand, was the first match between the two schools.
Marr went on the attack from the kick off and early pressure resulted in a penalty which was kicked by Beckwith. 3-0 to Marr.
Loretto then came on the attack and it was Marr's turn to concede a penalty which was converted by Loretto to tie the score at 3-3. A scrum infringement then allowed Beckwith to kick his second penalty and put Marr back in the lead 6-3.
The Loretto team, coached by former Scotland captain Jason White, were physically bigger and whilst first up tackles were generally scound mismatches began to appear and the big Loretto centre and bigger full back began to threaten in open play. Eventually after a period of pressure Loretto went over for an unconverted try to take the lead 8-6.
Poor tackling then allowed the Loretto centre to burst through for a converted try under the posts and extend the Loretto lead to 15-6.
A loose kick ahead then presented the Loretto full back to counter-attack and his angled run enabled him to score a try in the corner. This was successfully converted making the score 22-6. Marr then had a period of pressure just before half time but were unable to penetrate the Loretto defence.
The half time break enabled the Marr team to regroup and focus on a couple of aspects of play which needed to improve. However poor defensive work straight from the kick off gifted Loretto a converted try as their full back collected another loose kick and ran through a number of half tackles to score under the posts. 29-6 to Loretto.
To their credit the Marr team showed fantastic resolve and, where the heads could have gone down, got stuck into their opponents. The lineout, which had been erratic in the first half became more secure and their tackling improved. From a lineout won the ball was moved sweetly along the back line creating space for Brown to go over for Marr's first try. Converted by Beckwith this brought the score to 29-13.
Loretto's restart kick was long and from the ensuing scrum on the halfway line Marr scored an excellent try by the backs with Nathan Headland delaying his pass perfectly to allow Scott McDonald to go over. The conversion was again kicked by Beckwith. 29-20.
The bigger Loretto team appeared to be struggling to keep up with the pace and energy with which Marr were playing. Marr unfortunately though went down to fourteen men when a player was yellow-carded for suggesting to the referee to get a move on as Marr were keen to continue to play at this high level of intensity, sensing a possible upset on the cards. Despite being a man down Marr played the next ten minutes well, controlling the ball and preventing Loretto from having any scoring opportunities.
Back to fifteen on the pitch Marr played deep into the Loretto '22 and after a number of forward drives Scott Rodger went over under the posts for a try converted again by Beckwith. 29-27 to Loretto. Marr went searching for that final scoring opportunity but unfortunately it wasn't to be.
The whole squad showed incredible commitment, skill and determination and were a credit to themselves, the school, the coaching team and their parents, some of whom made the journey through. Whilst out of the Cup, Marr now wait to see what the draw holds as they enter the last 16 of the Shield competition.