Barrie’s boys punch above their weight in Plate

JEDBURGH Grammar School booked their place in the last four of the Brewin Dolphin Scottish Schools under-16 Plate by defeating a Bearsden/Douglas Academies composite 28-12 in Glasgow on Tuesday, writes Alan Lorimer.

Playing in the national quarter-final tie, Kevin Barrie’s outfit put on a good performance despite conditions that mitigated against the Borderers’ open game.

“The pitch we played on was small and we found it difficult to play our expansive game. But we got the result and scored some good tries,” said Grammar coach Barrie.

Front rows Craig Cowan (see ASP athlete profile on page 20) and Oliver Ryan claimed two of the Jed tries, the other two coming from flanker Ryan Douglas and centre Joe Amos. All four were converted by scrum half Gary Munro.

The victory in Glasgow follows close on the heels of a dramatic win for Jedburgh Grammar School over North Berwick High School by 27-26 in the Borders and East Lothian regional final at Peffermill on Saturday, which steered the Jed boys into the national quarter-finals. For Jed against North Berwick HS, Munro bagged a hat-trick of tries and provided the winning points with his conversion of his side’s final try. The other try scorer was Amos.

“What delighted me about the game against North Berwick was that we included four S3 boys in our squad,” stated Barrie.

“They all got game time. It’s great to give younger boys a chance. They learn so much from it.

“We’re really punching above our weight at Jed Grammar. The school has a roll of only 400, so it’s very difficult to compete against bigger schools. But even though we’ve got only 37 boys in S1 and 32 in S2 we’re still putting out a team in each year group.”

Former Jed-Forest and South hooker Barrie is the development officer at Jed-Forest RFC, overseeing rugby in the Grammar School and at Jed Thistle, who wrapped up the Borders under-16 league two weeks ago.

Galashiels Academy are also involved in Brewin Dolphin action this week when they contest a quarter-final of the Under-18s Plate competition against Linlithgow Academy. Full report in next week’s Southern.

z Borders senior clubs return to league action this weekend with a festive feast of fixtures on the cards.

In the top flight, Melrose are at home to Edinburgh Accies and following two weeks of playing in the British & Irish Cup, the club hope to keep the momentum going.

President John Reed commented: “The players really stepped up on Saturday and did well enough to stretch Nottingham from the start.

“Defence was much better and but for a few errors we could have had several more scores. Hopefully the performance level can be replicated on Saturday.”

Gala are also at home and have a chance to return to the top with a win over Aberdeen.

At Riverside Park a National League derby clash is in the offing when Jed-Forest take on Kelso, while Hawick and Selkirk are also at home with matches against Watsonians and Hillhead Jordanhill respectively.

Traditional Boxing Day fixtures are also on offer next week. See fixture panel below for details.