Lineen upset by Boroughmuir's lacklustre show

SEAN LINEEN conceded his side had shown less desire than their opponents after Boroughmuir surrendered their home unbeaten record with a 35-19 defeat at the hands of Aberdeen Grammar in the Integrated Trophy.

In a performance that was a pale shadow of the committed effort that had brought a stirring BT Cup success against Glasgow Hawks the previous weekend, ’Muir were forced to chase the game at Meggetland after falling behind in the second minute to a penalty by Aberdeen’s professional centre Tommy Hayes.

"They wanted it a bit more than us," said Lineen.

"You’ve got to go into these games with the right attitude and the simple fact is that Aberdeen deserved to win."

Grammar stretched their advantage with a try finished and converted by Hayes and created by a searing burst from Edinburgh Gunners back-up squad player Dave Millard.

’Muir were sparked into life and looked poised to make a contest of it when Ben Fisher hammered his way over from close range.

However, Grammar’s Rory McKay, a colleague of Hayes at Glasgow Warriors, scored his side’s second try after a quickly taken penalty. Then winger Ramsay Wilson took advantage of some lacklustre tackling to force his way over.

In defence of his side, Lineen pointed to the absence of six first choice players. Their unavailability handed first team appearances to several youngsters, who have been performing well in the lower sides, and also cleared the way for a return to his old stomping ground for former Meggetland favourite Calvin Howarth, now plying his trade with Glasgow.

"I was very excited about playing here again," said the 26-year-old playmaker, who has broken into the Scotland A side this season. "It was just disappointing that the result didn’t go our way. I only trained once with them and trying to get the game flow the way it’s been in previous weeks is very difficult."

He linked up at half-back with fellow pro Chris Black, but the pair produced only glimpses of their flair - and there could have been few observers in the sparse crowd who believed that the men from the paid ranks had contributed more than the regular pairing of Chris Cusiter and Ally Warnock - both absent on Scotland Under-21 duty along with Alastair Strokosch - would have done.

Howarth admitted that a lack of match fitness had contributed to his under-par contribution - only during the second half did he start to pose a threat to the Grammar defence.

The stand-off, who set a club points scoring record in his final season at Meggetland, had a mixed afternoon with the boot, but did slot the conversion of Tyronne Anderson’s 38th-minute try to send ’Muir into the break with a 24-12 deficit.

’Muir raised the pace after the restart and enjoyed the territorial advantage, but poor handling and an uncharacteristically high incidence of turnover ball put paid to the Meggetland men’s hopes of hauling themselves back into the contest.

The visitors stretched further away against the run of play when the outstanding player on the field Rod Seib claimed his ninth try in successive matches, before a touchdown by Steven Ruddock for ’Muir gave the hosts hope.

A fourth try would have brought them to within seven points and yielded two bonus points. However, even that was beyond the home side on a day that produced their largest losing margin for almost two years, and two more penalties from Hayes wrapped up a successful afternoon for the visitors.

With games against Heriot’s and Jed still to come, the Meggetland men, who beat Currie in their previous fixture, could still go through to the second phase.

For Currie, however, the competition, which had promised so much when they secured the services of Edinburgh Gunners skipper Todd Blackadder, is effectively over after they went down 30-7 away to Glasgow Hawks.