GARY HEATLY @ Meggetland
BOROUGHMUIR ran in 11 tries with winger Jordan Edmunds and captain Johnny Matthews both bagging hat-tricks as they got their league campaign up and running – and claimed the Hugh McMaster Trophy too – with this comfortable home win over Hawick.
Having lost to the Currie Chieftains at Malleny Park a week earlier, Boroughmuir knew that with pros Darryl Marfo, Simon Berghan and Senitiki Nayalo released by Edinburgh Rugby and being on home turf this was a great opportunity for their new-look team to make a statement. They had also beaten the Greens 60-18 in the corresponding fixture last October – and, like that day, a big win was never in doubt here as soon as they went 17-0 up in the first half. Indeed, had they kicked all of their conversions they would have hit more points while they also let a few try scoring chances go a-begging.
For the hosts Edmunds and Matthews impressed as did new centre, Will Wardlaw and Rory Arthur from full-back. For Hawick, this result comes on the back of a defeat to Melrose in week one, and even at this early stage of proceedings they look likely to be near the bottom of the table for the majority of the season.
Their first-up defence was poor, and that allowed ‘Muir to get on the front foot from minute one. One bright spot was the performance of teenage tighthead prop Ruaridh MacLeod.
Boroughmuir head coach Peter Wright said: “It’s a strange one, because obviously we’re happy having scored 63 points, but we wanted our shape and structure to be a bit better and we could have scored even more. There were plenty of positives, though, and the new players are starting to gel into the team and see how we want to play, so we can build on this now.”
The home team took the lead after five minutes, 60 seconds after both teams had men sent to the sin bin. With ‘Muir on the attack a fracas broke out involving a number of players – the respective head coaches would probably have called it ‘handbags’ in their day – and referee Keith Allen consulted with his touch judge after play had stopped. In the end Marfo, playing loosehead prop for Boroughmuir, and Hawick back-row Stuart Graham were the men yellow-carded.
With both teams down to 14 men, it was soon 5-0 to ‘Muir, Scotland tighthead prop Berghan flipping a nice pass to hooker Matthews to score in the corner. Stand-off Tom Wilson, making his competitive debut after joining from Heriot’s, missed the conversion.
Hawick held the hosts out for a further seven minutes before Fijian back-row Nayalo, made a break and set-up second-row Stuart Smith to gallop in under the posts. This time Wilson converted, and then when ‘Muir ran in their third try with Marfo and Graham still on the sidelines it looked like it would be a long day for the Borderers.
The try came from Edmunds, one of the top finishers in the league, when he took a pass from fellow winger Kerr Gossman to then run in from some 40 metres out, beating a few defenders along the way. Wilson’s conversion hit the upright.
Hawick stand-off Lee Armstong, back after missing the opening loss to Melrose, then made a good break into the home half. However, he was well tackled and fell awkwardly, resulting in him being helped from the field with what looked like a right knee injury.
Dom Buckley came on in his place meaning that the backline was reshaped with captain Ali Weir moving to 10. That ended a miserable first quarter for the Greens – and it soon got worse.
Early bonus point
Boroughmuir’s bonus point try came in the 28th minute, No 8 Rory Drummond going through a huge gap in the visiting defence and timing the scoring pass to Wardlaw to perfection. Wilson’s conversion effort drifted wide, but at 22-0 the Meggetland men were flying without ever hitting top form. Three minutes before the break Hawick got their first points on the board, back-row Dalton Redpath going over with Weir converting.
Marfo and scrum-half Jack Hamilton went off at the half-time interval for the hosts, Ross Dunbar and Ronan Kerr coming on. The latter substitution meant that centre Greg Cannie moved to stand-off with Wilson going to nine.
The rejig did not seem to affect things adversely and in the 43rd minute try No 5 came, Wardlaw – the former Howe of Fife and Aberdeen Grammar man – showing great pace to run in from the halfway line.
Two more tries then followed in the 50th and 53rd minute as the Edinburgh side ran riot. The sixth try was Edmunds’ second, while Matthews was keen for a double too and got it when he stormed up the right – taking two defenders with him – and barrelling his way over the line.
On the hour mark try No 8 came from replacement back Jack Steele, the former Glasgow Hawks man. Edmunds and Matthews both completed their hat-tricks late on before Arthur rounded off a miserable afternoon for the visitors.
“That was an embarrassment,” Hawick head coach George Graham said. “I’ve just spoken to the players in the changing room and explained to them what it means to play for Hawick. They are the players we have and they are giving everything in training, but we need to see that translating into games soon.”
Boroughmuir: R Arthur; K Gossman, W Wardlaw, G Cannie, J Edmunds; T Wilson, J Hamilton; D Marfo, J Matthews, S Berghan, T Drennan, S Smith, S Nayalo, M Walker, R Drummond. Subs: R Dunbar, D Robertson, J Steele, C Keddie, R Kerr.
Hawick: A Weir; K Young, F Robson, G Walker, L Ferguson; L Armstrong, G Huggan; M Carryer, C Renwick, R MacLeod, D Suddon, K McNeil, D Redpath, S Graham, B McNeil. Subs: T Hope, A Grieve, J Linton, D Buckley, L Gordon-Wooley.
Referee: K Allen.
Boroughmuir: Tries: Matthews 3, Smith, Edmunds 3, Wardlaw 2, Steele, Arthur; Cons: Wilson 2, Cannie 2.
Hawick: Try: Redpath; Con: Weir.
Scoring sequence (Boroughmuir first): 5-0, 10-0, 12-0, 17-0, 22-0, 22-5, 22-7 (h-t) 27-7, 29-7, 34-7, 39-7, 44-7, 49-7, 54-7, 56-7, 61-7, 63-7.
Yellow cards: Boroughmuir: Marfo; Hawick: Graham.
Man of the Match: He bagged 11 league tries in 2017-18 and now has four in two matches this term. Boroughmuir winger Jordan Edmunds continues to be one of the most dangerous attackers in the club game and takes the award this time just ahead of his skipper Johnny Matthews.
Talking Point: Can ‘Muir mount a sustained title challenge? They got off to a slow start last week at Currie Chieftains, but this victory will give them confidence and with a number of new arrivals – and skipper Chris Laidlaw to come back from a shoulder niggle – you feel that there is a lot more to come from this playing group.