Jed Thistle made it two from two by successfully defending their National Youth League Under-18 Cup title with a winning performance against impressive opposition.
Playing on the international pitch at Murrayfield, the Borderers, favourites going into the final, looked the more convincing with ball in hand and especially so at centre, where Rory Marshall, named man of the match, produced several incisive breaks.
But as the game progressed it was the heavier Highland forwards who dictated the game, forcing Jed to defend tenaciously in the final quarter.
Jed Thistle’s forwards coach, Calum Brown, although happy to have retained the cup, was not excessively happy with his side’s victory performance.
He told The Southern: “We didn’t hit the heights today and didn’t capitalise on a good scrum performance.
“We were a bit inaccurate at times, whereas they were very good at getting numbers into the maul.
“They had the better of the second half and forced us to defend. Luckily for us the clock ran out on them.
“Saying that, we’re delighted to be the first Jed team to defend this trophy.”
Thistle looked much the better side in the first half and were rewarded with a try by skipper and hooker Craig Cowan after clever handling by the inside backs. Just before half-time, centre Robbie Yourston kicked a penalty goal for an 8-0 interval lead.
Then, with confidence high, Thistle pressed on, making the best of a classic break by Marshall for scrum half Gary Munro to run in his side’s second try, this time converted by Yourston.
If there was any sense that Highland were being edged out of the match then the Inverness side scotched that idea with powerful forward play and good use of the ball by scrum half Fionlagh Call, to build momentum.
The end result was a driven line-out that finished with a pile of bodies over the line and flanker Euan Milton claiming the try. With the game moving towards Highland, the men from the north sustained pressure on Jed before engineering a fine try, the ball spun wide along the backs from third phase play to give replacement Cameron Beattie a try in the corner that proved to be the final points of the game.
Jed Thistle: C. McNeill; C. Young, R. Marshall, R. Yourston, R. Smith; E. Stewart, G. Munro; O. Ryan, C. Cowan, A. Richardson, D. Wardrop, G. Paxton, A. Walker, R. Douglas, B. McNeil. Subs: R. Wallace, G. Clarkson, F. Scott, K. Amos, K. Slingsby, J. Amos, S. Smith.