THERE was a double Borders success in the Scottish Schools Plate competitions at Murrayfield’s 4G pitch last week, writes Alan Lorimer.
Jedburgh Grammar School 39
Peebles High School 12
Jedburgh Grammar School made it a double celebration at Murrayfield last week by winning the Brewin Dolphin Scottish Schools Under-16 Plate and securing the Borders Under-16 league title after achieving a comfortable win over Peebles High School.
Jed and Peebles had agreed that the Brewin Dolphin Plate final should double as a regular league game, given the match was essentially a club fixture between Jed Thistle and Peebles under-16s.
A further bonus for the Jed boys was the presentation of their winners medals by current hero and Scotland stand-off, Greig Laidlaw, a former Jed Thistle and Jed Grammar player.
“We’ve had a good season and we had some exceptional performances today from players like Rory Marshall, Cole Lothian, Ryan Gibson and Craig Cowan,” said Jed coach Kevin Barrie.
“It’s a great achievement for Jed. We’ve got only 380 kids, compared to four times that number at Peebles.”
Peebles High School coach, David Changleng, added: “On the day we came up against a better team. However, we stuck to our game plan and played our part in a good final.”
Jed looked the likely winners from the kick-off when Marshall sliced through the Peebles defence to set up a try for fellow centre Cameron Munro.
Jed’s flowing style then produced a second try, for mobile prop Gibson, but Peebles replied with a touchdown for their pacy right wing Kieran Owen.
But a period of pressure just before half-time gave Jed their third try as back row Cowan plunged over from close range to give his side a 17-5 interval advantage.
Two tries by Marshall extended Jed’s lead before Peebles replacement Ross Beveridge slipped over for a try, converted by Olly Freeman.
Jed, however, quickly returned to the attack, setting up a second try for Gibson before the talented Marshall completed his hat-trick.
Peebles HS under-16: D. Campbell; K. Owens, L. Tait, O. Freeman, J. Jacek; C. Pringle, J. Harrison; W. Napier, R. Stewart, A. Dennis, C. Holt, R. Little, S. Bertram, M. Phaup, S. Matthews. Subs: B. Laurie, R. Caine, J. Atkinson, A. McLaren, M. Brown, C. Scott, R. Beveridge.
Jedburgh GS under-16: R. Smith; J. Amos, C. Munro, R. Marshall, F. Duff; E. Stewart, J. Halley; R. Gibson, C. Lothian, A. Storrie, C. Skeldon, S. Samson, O. Ryan, C. Cowan, G. Paxton. Subs: R. Wallace, N. Arnold, C. McNeil, R. Douglas, C. Young, C. Hall, A. Richardson.
Earlston High School 33
Carrick Academy 22
Earlston trimuphed in a high-quality final.
Too often in the past the plate final has lived up to its second-tier billing but this season’s title decider showed that the gap between the top two levels in the schools competitions is narrowing and begs the question: would Earlston High School be strong enough to play in the cup?
For Earlston, a major challenge was sustaining the energy levels to play their third game in five days.
Most of the side had been involved in Melrose Wasps’ National Youth Cup round one game against Stirling County the previous Saturday. Then two days later they were ordered to play their Schools Cup semi-final against Madras College before having only a day’s rest ahead of the big showdown.
In the event, Earlston overcame cumulative fatigue to produce a crowd-pleasing game. Coach Malcolm Changleng said: “I thought it was a very entertaining final and played in good spirit.
“We played quite a fluent game. We tried to play a lot of rugby and probably they fed off our mistakes, but it was a cracking final and Carrick certainly added to it.”
Tries by impressive centre Connor Spence, prop Murray Kerr, and No8 Michael Rogerson gave Earlston a 21-12 interval lead, Carrick having had touchdowns from prop Robbie McCreath and Connor Wyllie.
A second try for Spence and then a touchdown from Ben Chalmers secured a fine win for Earlston in the second half.
Earlston HS: R. MacKay; J. Park, L. Riddell, C. Spence, S. Stewart; B. Chalmers, G. Wood; C. Crookshank, C. Mackay, M. Kerr, J. Chambers, A. Runciman, Z. Rowlands, M. Rogerson, A. Bond. Subs: H. McNeil, M. Nairn, E. Ruthven, M.Wardhaugh, B. Macgowen, R. Tolland, R. Taylor.