The final stage of the local Pathway programme in the East was completed in Lasswade over the weekend and after the promising performances in the 1st weekend within the Borders a strong crowd turned out to watch all 3 final games.
The first game saw the East Lothian Falcons match up against the Capital Crusaders, with both teams posting good performances in the first weekend. The actions started right at the beginning where following a penalty and drive at lineout saw one of the Crusaders forward crash over from close range. The Falcons forwards got themselves in on the scoring action soon after when prop Kyle Patterson crossed from a close range effort also. The breakdown area was certainly a step up in intensity from the first week and a smartly timed counter ruck from the Crusaders forwards created some ball for flanker Ben Kenderdine for break before offloading to centre Finlay Martin to race 30 metres to score and bring the score now to 10 – 7. The last try of the half also came from a turnover when some tide play from the backs put Jack Pennell in following a nice dummy. HT 15 – 7.
The second half started with a period for the Falcons camped in their own 22. Rupert Duncan capitalised after a series of good tackles led to a spilled ball and now a 20 – 7 buffer. The Falcons now had their turn to put the pressure on in defence and made the Crusaders force a loose offload for Cameron Hutchison to score under the posts to bring it back to 20 – 14. Three more tries were scored with Hutchison getting his second in between Crusaders wing Robert Kay’s double to round off at 30 – 21 in favour of the blue team from Edinburgh.
The Chargers and Borders West Warriors were next on and served up a very evenly contested game that was only settled with the final play on 70 minutes. The contrasting styles of play were clear to see with the Chargers moving the ball from side to side trying to open up space and using offloading to keep continuity going. Where as the Borders players were committing men in close with hard direct running and then feeding the ball to the backs into space to capitalise. All the tries were scored by the backs in this game. A slim first half lead to the Chargers 14 – 7 with scores from Hugh Ferguson and Luca Vita and the one score from the Warriors to impressive Hawick centre Grant Huggan. Ferguson then stretched the lead to 19 – 7 before Warriors Aidan Walker and Darcy Graham crossed to leave the scores at 19 all into the final stages. Graham had the last say when another turnover and nice offloading and support play put him in with the conversion finished off a great game at 19 – 26.
The last game of the day saw the Edinburgh Eastern Eagles and the Borders Eastern Stormers lock horns. The Eagles came out soaring to race to a 29 – 12 half time lead. The handing of the Eagles inside backs of Finlay Wood and Chris Davies to put width on the ball meant that left wing Robbie Nairn often had space in front of him. The big winger from Currie showed he knows how to use the space by finish off 4 impressive tries from long distance. An early try from Stormers lock Kieran Dunbar, dart from Gary Munro and a lineout drive from Eagles No 8 Jonny Goldring completed the scorers for the half. With both teams making changes in the second half the scoring evened up. Goldring got his second after another effective lineout drive before the Stormers finished strongly, first a period of sustained attack led to Luke Turnbull scoring and then some tidy backline play where Thomas Klein crossed over to leave the final score at 36 – 24 just when the rain started to come down.
Thanks to all volunteer coaches, the host clubs, the officials and the players for a successful 2 weeks of Pathway rugby. The next stage will be each player receiving a ‘player report’ from the relevant coach on areas of strength and also areas to develop. There will be invitations to a National Camp in October for some players and then Regional Squad invitations for some player to follow also. Borders in September / October and Edinburgh in December.
Ben Fisher & Chris Dewsnap