Stew Mel Kick On To Claim Brewin Dolphin Under-18 Spoils

BREWIN DOLPHIN UNDER-18 SCOTTISH SCHOOLS' CUP FINAL

STEWART'S MELVILLE COLLEGE 19 EDINBURGH ACADEMY 10

A masterful kicking display from stand-off Alex Hagart helped Stewart's Melville College see off the pace and invention of Edinburgh Accies and claim the Brewin Dolphin under-18 Scottish Schools' Cup after an absorbing clash at Murrayfield on Saturday.

Before a passionate, boisterous crowd of just under 4,000, Hagart showcased excellent judgement and execution to put his team where they needed to be both on the pitch and on the scoreboard.

BREWIN DOLPHIN UNDER-18 SCOTTISH SCHOOLS' CUP FINAL

STEWART'S MELVILLE COLLEGE 19 EDINBURGH ACADEMY 10

A masterful kicking display from stand-off Alex Hagart helped Stewart's Melville College see off the pace and invention of Edinburgh Accies and claim the Brewin Dolphin under-18 Scottish Schools' Cup after an absorbing clash at Murrayfield on Saturday.

Before a passionate, boisterous crowd of just under 4,000, Hagart showcased excellent judgement and execution to put his team where they needed to be both on the pitch and on the scoreboard.

Accies edged the try count 2-1, but were edged out by a combination of Stew Mel's relentless physicality and set-piece prowess and the faultless form of Hagart, who was voted Brewin Dolphin under-18 Player of the Match for his immaculate display. 

Accies made the brighter start, taking full advantage of the perfect overhead and underfoot conditions to engage the many exciting talents in their back division.

Routinely prompted by the livewire scrum-half Alex Glashan, they enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges, but fell behind in the 13th minute when Hagart banged over a straightforward penalty after Accies were pulled up for not rolling away.

The rest of the first half was nip-and-tuck stuff. Both teams sought to play positive rugby, and both showed tantalising glimpses of threat behind the scrum.

There were perhaps a few too many handling errors at vital times for the liking of either coach, but the intent was clear to see from both sets of performers.

Accies came close to giving us a first try in the 27th minute, as quick hands in midfield allowed winger Jamie Farndale to surge into space down the right. It took a magnificent cover tackle from Stew Mel full-back Murray Black to persuade the fleet-footed wideman into touch at the very last.

Accies were becoming more and more dominant by this stage, and, on the back of a period of intense pressure close to the Stew Mel line, they spread the ball right at pace before bringing that man Farndale into the game once more.

The winger was not to be denied this time, bursting through the last ranks of Stew Mel cover to barge his way over the line. Alexander Muir couldn't add the conversion, but the momentum now seemed to be with the men in the blue and white.

Stew Mel continued to hang tough, however, and nudged themselves back in front right on the half-time whistle, Hagart sending over a penalty from just behind Accies' 10m line following a ruck offside.

HALF-TIME: STEWART'S MELVILLE COLLEGE 6-5 EDINBURGH ACADEMY

Accies made a positive start to the second half, Farndale again mightily impressive with ball in hand and space in front of him. Stew Mel relied on Hagart to earn them some respite with some beautifully judged touch-finders from deep, and the pivot even managed to stretch his team's advantage shortly before the hour mark with a further penalty.

The game, a gripping contest throughout, surged through the gears as we entered the final stages, the teams exchanging quick-fire scores and setting up a grandstand finish.

Stew Mel struck first, diminuitive winger Adam Greig haring down the left before cutting inside to dot down under the posts after a speculative kick ahead and a fortunate break. But straight from an excellent restart, Accies hit back with a try from flanker Chris Thomson that owed much to his side's determination to keep the ball alive and get it through the hands at pace.

Crucially, however, Stew Mel kept their nerve to win a penalty at the other extreme almost instantly, and Hagart once more showed great precision to put his men nine points to the good.

The final whistle brought raucous celebrations from the huge wedge of Stew Mel support in Murrayfield's west stand, with captain Ross McPahil cheered to the rafters as he picked up the trophy.

Brewin Dolphin under-18 Player of the Match: Alex Hagart (Stewart's Melville College)

Stewart's Melville College: M Black; L Bargery, D St Clair, A Greig; A Hagart, C Taylor; H Lindsay, C Halliday, R MacKintosh, J Morgan, A St Clair, M Campbell, J Duncan, R McPhail (captain)

Substitutes: I Miller, S Bergius, A Masson, D Gibb-Morris, C Gilfillan, J Johnstone, R Warnock

Edinburgh Academy: S Heaney; J Farndale, C Dean (captain), M Zegleman, F Smith; A Muir, A Glashan; J Haining, T Normand, D Falkner, D Forbes, A Inwood, C Thomson, C Simpson, J MacLean

Substitutes: A Lutton, C Allan, O Cradock, R Seydak, J Hardie, D November, G MacLean

Referee: L Linton (SRU)