Second Half Slump For Reivers

Border Reivers U16        17
Edinburgh U16               49

A second half slump saw the Border Reivers concede five converted tries as they lost their final U16 National Player Identification fixture against Edinburgh at a sunny Braidholm in Glasgow on Sunday.

Despite the great conditions the match was a stop start affair for long periods with continual infringements from both sides ensuring the referees whistle needed a rest at the interval. Indeed it was surprising given the penalty count, especially by defending teams in their own twenty two, that both teams remained with fifteen players throughout the contest.

It was Edinburgh who made the early running as they took a 12-0 lead midway through the first half, with a close range try from Karl Main and a break from deep sending Sean Mackle away on a long run in, with Alex Swan converting Mackle’s try. The Reivers at last began to exert some pressure late in the half and were rewarded with two close range tries from Angus Runciman and Callum Crookshanks, plus a Jack Learmonth conversion, to tie the score at 12-12 at the break.

The Reivers suffered a lapse in concentration as the defensive line collapsed and Edinburgh ran in three tries in five minutes early in the second half. The Reivers could be considered unlucky with the first try but will learn a valuable lesson of playing to the whistle as they all stopped as replacement Edinburgh wing Tom Salisbury dropped a pass, expecting the referee’s whistle, only for Salisbury to pick up the loose ball and ghost through a static defence for an easy try.

This was compounded by two poor restarts which gave Edinburgh field position to launch two more telling attacks in quick succession. First space was created on the outside for Alex Swan to cross, then after another blind-side break from a midfield scrum, the ball was fed back inside to the supporting Scott Burnside who strolled over. All three tries were converted by Swan.

With Edinburgh’s tails up they pressed for further tries with the lively Russell Grant crossing before Swan added his second try against a tiring Reivers defence. Again Swan showed his accuracy with the boot adding both conversions for a personal tally of 22 points. The Reivers did get a score back as they dominated the closing minutes with Connor Spence burrowing over after a series of rucks on the Edinburgh line.

Border Reivers
15. Russell MacKay (Earlston HS/Melrose) 14. Cameron Pye (Peebles HS/Peebles) 13. Connor Spence (Earlston HS/Melrose) 12. Matthew Douglas (Hawick HS/Albion) 11. Jack Learmonth (Longridge Towers/ Berwick) 10.  Ally Johnston (Kelso HS/Kelso) 9. Robbie McFarlane (Hawick HS/Albion) 1. Callum Crookshanks (Earlston HS/Melrose) 2 Ross Graham (Hawick HS/Albion) 3. Gary Robertson (Gala Academy/Red Triangle) 4. Angus Runciman (Earlston HS/Melrose)  5. Finlay Simpson (Hawick HS/Albion) 6. Fraser Scott (Earlston HS/Melrose) 7. Matthew Wilson (Jedburgh GS/Jed) & 8. Gavin Blair (Hawick HS/Albion)
Replacements
16. Cameron MacKay (Earlston HS/Melrose) 17. Sean Thorburn (Kelso HS/Kelso) 18. Cameron Bryce (Kelso HS/Kelso) 19. Craig Kyle (Hawick HS/Wands) 20. Gregor Law (Jedburgh GS/Jed) 21. Gregor Paxton (Jedburgh GS/Jed) 22. Sam Bandeen (Hawick HS/Albion) & 23. Oliver Warner (Berwick HS/Berwick)