Seven penalties sweetly struck from the left boot of Kiwi kicker Joe Reynolds destroyed Boroughmuir and gave Currie four precious points to take them into fourth place in what is shaping up to be a hugely competitive league.
Boroughmuir 8-21 Currie
Scorers: Boroughmuir – Try: Adams; Pen: Reekie. Currie – Pens: Reynolds (7).
“We have been pretty happy with our performances at home,” said Reynolds, whose first season with the club last year was interrupted by a broken wrist. “We needed to take that away from home and we did that here today. I think we have clearly shown we can compete with the top teams.”
It was a long-distance victory because Currie seldom got into the Boroughmuir 22 and never looked remotely like scoring a try. But they didn’t need to with Reynolds at inside centre alongside his old schoolmate James Semple at stand-off, the latest products of Currie’s fruitful New Zealand connection. Twenty- four-year-old Reynolds was on song all afternoon, apart from one wild attempt at a drop goal that is best forgotten.
Currie were dogged in the tackle and strong at the breakdown, coming away with several turnovers. But overall Boroughmuir had by far the lion’s share of possession, a dominant scrum and an effective lineout for most of the match. Their problem was they couldn’t translate those positives into points and, as they tired and the scrum and lineout began to creak, impatience and frustration got the better of them. By contrast, Currie were content to bide their time and wait for opportunities to present themselves.
This weekend Currie go to the Borders, where Gala recently put 60 points past them, to test their style of play against defending champions Melrose. Boroughmuir must pick themselves up and cross the city to face third-placed Heriot’s who have won three out of four.
Boroughmuir coach Bruce Aitchison said: “We lost it in that ten-minute spell in the second half when a defensive team digs in and eventually finds a way out without conceding. We just lost shape the longer the game went on and we are lacking the experience to try and get that shape back. We needed positive decision-making. We needed to go for three easy points rather than a full set. We started to try and force the game so we made mistakes and lost territory and their kicker had a left foot like a shotgun. It’s a learning curve for the team. It’s a loss but it’s not the end of the world.”
The penalties came slowly at first, only two in the first half, and then in rapid sequence of five in a row in the space of 15 minutes in the final quarter as Boroughmuir tired and degenerated into an ill-disciplined rabble who were penalised again and again as they saw the game slipping away.
It was 8-6 at half-time, a scoreline made up of Reynolds’ two early penalties, a try for Boroughmuir, the only one of the game, by scrum-half Johnny Adams and a penalty by stand-off David Reekie which made amends for sclaffing the conversion attempt.
So Boroughmuir had their noses in front as the teams turned round and the home side might have gone further ahead as Reekie lined up a 40-metre penalty, but got underneath it so that it fell well short.
The game was won and lost in the next ten minutes when Boroughmuir applied the pressure and Currie defended like demons to keep them out. It started with a set scrum on the Currie 22. Boroughmuir won a penalty and opted to kick for the corner instead of taking the points.
Lock Iain Moody won the line-out and the rolling maul went over the line but the ball was held up. Boroughmuir then attacked off the back of the five-metre scrum and the point of attack shuffled back and forwards along the goal line as Currie defenders stood their ground.
When Currie’s replacement prop Mike Erskine was sin-binned for handling in a ruck right under the posts, Boroughmuir called a scrum instead of taking the points. It was a big mistake. The Boroughmuir scrum had been dominant all day but this time it found itself going backwards. The referee’s arm went up and Currie were able to clear beyond halfway.
Boroughmuir came straight back and full-back Ed Farquharson ran into a rare gap and seemed to be clean through before he was tackled round the ankles.
Currie remained under the cosh but were handed a lifeline when an overthrow at a line-out resulted in a penalty for the visitors a couple of metres inside the Boroughmuir half.
Reynolds stepped up and there was never any doubt from the moment it left his boot to it sailing majestically between the posts with plenty to spare.
Two minutes later his fourth penalty from much closer followed the same route and two minutes after that he added a fifth as Currie carved out the territory and Boroughmuir got more and more desperate and gave away more penalties – another two to be exact – each one a kick in the guts for a, by now, demoralised Boroughmuir and each one a dead cert as soon as it left that shotgun boot.
Boroughmuir: E Farquharson, C Hunter, C Hardie, M Hare, J Edmunds, D Reekie, J Adams, R Wilson, C Davies, J Latta, A Best, T Sutton, C Keddie, I Moody, A Rose. Subs: S Bingham, A Wallace, A Macfarlane, C Purdon, M Clapperton.
Currie: R Smith, H Elms, F Efthymiou, J Reynolds, C Logan, J Semple, R Snedden, J Cox, M Goodwin, A Hamilton, J Gray, M Verbel, M Mladenovic, R Weston, M Peacock. Subs: G Carson, M Erskine, P Mundell, D Swanson, M McPhillips.
Referee: E Rizzo.