Galashiels Academy edged out in Plate final

Galashiels Academy 11

Marr College 21


GALASHIELS ACADEMY finished runners-up in the Brewin Dolphin Scottish Schools under-18 Plate after defeat to a strong Marr College side in the final on the back pitch at Murrayfield last night.

The difference between the two sides came down to the greater overall physicality of Marr College and in the event the Troon school certainly made use of their powerful ball carriers, none more than their Scotland under-18 cap Ben Johnston.

Marr, too, were helped by the team understanding of playing together throughout the season as a school side, victories over Glasgow independent schools this season and the confidence brought to the side by three of their players who had appeared for the senior Marr side last Saturday on RBS Cup finals day.

For Galashiels Academy it was disappointing evening. Their coach, Lewis Bertram admitted: “Marr played very well in the second half. We had a couple of weak tackles in the first half and that cost us. But I’m very proud of the boys and what they’ve achieved in getting to the final.”

Galashiels Academy aside from giving away weight and height were also handicapped by yellow card shown to their dynamic number 8 Josh Irvine and influential flanker Liam Scott. Outstanding for the Borderers was prop Gary Robertson, who carried ball effectively and who constantly threatened the Marr defence. Behind the scrum Ruairi Howarth at stand-off showed why he is in the Scotland under-17 squad.

The Academy, if not winners, played the better rugby overall, notably just after the break when their handling moves were top quality. But towards the end Marr’s greater fitness showed through and it was the Troon school that finished the stronger.

At the end of a tense first half Marr led 10-8 with tries from Ben Johnston and Grant Baird to a try for Gala by Robertson and a penalty from centre Keith Young. Galashiels Academy produced some flowing rugby early in the second half but their reward was limited to a penalty by Young.

But thereafter Marr dominated possession that gave them two penalties by Baird and a try in the corner by winger Ali Hazel to secure a good win.

Galashiels Academy: M. Amos; C. Hunter, D. Nicholson, K. Young, C. Nicholson; R. Howarth, G. Hamilton; G. Yeomens, D. Moir, G. Robertson, L. Pringle, E. Pflug, L. Scott, H. Brown, J. Irvine. Subs: P. Glenfield, I. Handley, J. Brown, L. Johnston, C. Hancock, K. Millar, B. Beaumont.

Marr College: H. McIntosh; E. Ferguson, C. Gray, A. Mill; L. Wallace, G. Baird; D. Brodlie, O. Rossi, J. Hek, E. Bulger, A. Johnston, L. Anderson, D. Clark, B. Johnston. Subs: A. McPhilimy, B. Maxwell, M. Ellis, L. Dunlop, C. Watson, L. Glass.

Referee: L. Fish