Their performance yesterday, a six-try tally from skilful back play and awesome power and pace from their forwards, merely confirmed the view that Academy are the runaway favourites for the trophy this season. Four of Academy’s tries were scored by winger Freddie Smith, who benefited from the slick transfer of the ball that the inside backs were able to deliver.
Outstanding for Academy in the backs were stand-off Alexander Muir and scrum half Alex Glashan, who both exerted an infuential control on the game while up front skipper Chris Dean at No 8 and the Simpson brothers, Cameron and Rory on the flank provided a go forward in attack that was unstoppable.
“Power, pace and precision were the difference,” conceded Merchiston coach James Boyd. “They took their opportunities when they came. We’re a young side and this is part of the learning curve. Eleven or 12 of these boys will be back next year.”
Academy coach Mark Appleson admitted that his side had risen to the occasion.
He said: “That’s the best we’ve played all season. After 15 minutes of having to defend, our backs absolutely tore them to pieces. To do that on a stage like this in front of a good crowd is excellent.”
Merchiston showed fight in the opening minutes of the game and looked purposeful but their only reward was a penalty goal by Josh Barton.
From then on it was Academy who were in charge, moving into the lead with Smith’s first try from wonderful midfield handling.
Then, under pressure, Merchiston gave away an interception pass that allowed centre Alex Swan to cruise in under the posts leaving him with an easy conversion. Before the interval Academy added a further score as Smith rounded the defence for his second try.
In a dominant second half Swan ran in his second try and added the conversion to put the game beyond doubt but Academy still had the appetite for more points, and it was Smith who supplied them with two more tries, Swan succeeding with one conversion.
Scorers: Merchiston: Pen: Barton. Edinburgh Academy: Tries: Smith (4), Swan (2); Cons: Swan (3).
Merchiston Castle School: C Sole; M Flett, F Schneider-Gogan, J Barton, P Kelly; H Slater, A Webb; N Wright, J Chan, R Dickson, O Hofford, T Bonfield, J Jones, B Flett, A Sinclair. Subs used: A Lindsay, S Usada, R Tidy, P Monynihan, A Wauchope, D Crawford, G Parker.
Edinburgh Academy: R Orr; T Salisbury, A Swan, T Grey, F Smith; A Muir, A Glashan; J Haining, A Lutton, A McWilliam, R Seydak, C Thomson, C Simpson, R Simpson, C Dean. Subs: M Miller, T Mitchell, F Greig, J Spratt, J Bredin, C Pearce, S McWilliam.
Referee: A Ireland.