Currie Chieftains Malleny

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Scottish Cup, Match 19 - 9.3.24.

A View from the Touchline

Currie Chieftains 35 pts (t 5, c 5) v Ayr 25 pts (t 5)

Playing two high-flying Ayrshire clubs on consecutive weekends is a considerable challenge for the Chieftains, and as expected, Ayr, who will join the Premiership next season, proved to be quite a handful. Currie and Ayr have had some monumental battles in the past, and the visitors would be targeting a good Cup run to confirm their credentials at the higher level. On this grey, dry, but bitterly cold afternoon, and with barely 2 minutes on the clock, the shivering spectators were warmed with some exhilarating rugby which culminated in a converted try for Currie. From their own 22, the ball whizzed to Ryan Daley on the left wing, and he raced 50 metres for a stunning score.

The big, athletic-looking Ayr team knuckled down to curtail the Chieftains’ expansive play, but by the end of the first quarter, as the Currie pressure continued, a series of forward drives ended in a try for Graeme Carson; again, Jamie Forbes converted. Far from being overwhelmed, Ayr regrouped, and for the remainder of the half they took a firm grip on proceedings. In a spirited display of attacking rugby, the visitors managed the game with skill, speed and lightning efficiency which produced four tries without reply. Their strong runners crashed through the lamentable Currie defence at will, and their pack went through the phases, recycling the ball and brushing any opposition away, as if they were paper bags floundering in the breeze. If the visitors had converted their tries, they would have been out of sight by halftime. It was a ‘shock-horror’ show, and Currie needed to wake up quickly.

Halftime score – Currie Chieftains 14 pts, Ayr 20 pts.  

Whatever was said during the break, a more alert home team were soon back to the standard expected. James McCaig jinked his way over the line, but the ball was dislodged by a last gasp tackler. The disappointment was short-lived as the Chieftains continued to drive forward. A brilliant Sam Cardosi off-load put DJ Innes clear, and Jamie Forbes converted to give Currie a one-point lead. From the restart, a now confident-looking Malleny team raced into space on the stand side, and a long accurate Jamie Forbes pass sent Ryan Daley to within 5 metres of the goal line. The Ayr defence did their best to keep the bludgeoning Chieftains pack at bay; Sean Stewart and Thomas Jeffery went close, but eventually the pressure told, and hardworking Kyle Steel crashed over for a converted try.

For the next 20 minutes there was excitement at both ends, and the visitors’ dangerous runners kept Currie busy throughout. The tackling of Archie Fletcher, Ali Bain and Sam Cardosi slowed Ayr’s ambitions, but when Currie had a forward sent to the sinbin, the visitors quickly seized their chance. From a well-worked driving penalty lineout, they trundled to the corner flag. Once again, the try was not converted, but they were snapping at the Chieftains’ lead. With only 10 minutes to go, the outcome was still in the balance, until Ayr received a yellow card, and the hosts pressed home their advantage. Archie Fletch secured the lineout and Ali Bain came off the back of the driving maul for a defining score. The splendid wideout conversion from Jamie Forbes sealed the result of this close -fought contest, but the 10-point victory margin did not do justice to the fine Ayr performance; they will be a force in the Premiership next season. Away to Musselburgh this coming weekend for a quarter final National Cup match; another tough mission.

I.J.S – 12.3.24

Currie RFC

Malleny Park



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