Stewart's Melville Coll 19 - 10 Edinburgh Academy: Third-time lucky for Stewart's Melville

STEWART'S Melville College won the Brewin Dolphin Scottish Schools Under-18 Cup for the first time since 2006, showing real spirit to overcome Edinburgh Academy at Murrayfield on Saturday.

The sides were evenly matched for much of the match, but in captain Ross McPhail and stand-off Alex Hagart Stewart's Melville had big game players who put in superb showings when it mattered most.

The result was special for them because they had lost the final in both 2009 and 2010, while it was a proud day for co-coach Chris Spence, who is stepping down from the position after this season.

Spence said: "I am delighted for the team to have lifted the trophy because they have worked so hard this season and grown as a unit.

"We always knew this would be a close match because the Academy have a good team, but the team really stuck at it and it was key to go in 6-5 up.

"After the break we got a bit of luck with our try and Alex Hagart kicked really well. Our defence was also strong when it needed to be and we managed to keep their big players pretty quiet when we had to."

Edinburgh Academy coach Mark Appleson, who led his school to glory in the 2010 final, said: "We are disappointed, but just to get to the final was a bonus this time.

"Well done to Chris and his team who performed well and have improved steadily over the last few months.

"A lot of this Academy team still have another year to go at school so I am looking forward to working with them again next year when they will no doubt be hungry for the trophy."

In the first half the Academy started the sharper and winger Jamie Farndale was causing problems. However, Stewart's Melville got themselves into things and took the lead after ten minutes through a Hagart penalty.

Back-row McPhail was leading his team well at this stage and their defence was pretty physical, denying the opposition's danger men time on the ball.

This led to them creating a number of chances themselves too, but often the ball was spilled as the Academy responded with equally impressive defence.

The Academy did break through four minutes before the break though, Farndale on the end of a slick team move to score a try in the corner. They then shot themselves in the foot with a silly offside penalty and Hagart kicked it on the stroke of half-time.

After the interval Hagart's third penalty made it 9-5 before a slice of luck with 11 minutes to go saw Stewart's Melville score a converted try. With the Academy on the attack from their own half a miss pass to captain Chris Dean went to ground and was hacked ahead by Stewart's Melville.The ball somehow sat up nicely for winger Adam Greig who ran in for the score.

Fair play to the Academy, they hit straight back with a try by back-row Chris Thomson, but it was Stewart's Melville's day and Hagart sealed things with another penalty.

As well as McPhail and man-of the-match Hagart, Max Campbell and Justin Duncan showed up well for the victors, while prop Dan Falkner was dangerous for Edinburgh Academy along with quality duo Alex Glashan and Farndale behind the scrum.

Stewart's Melville College: M Black; L Bargery, D St Clair, J Hannay, A Greig; A Hagart, C Taylor; H Lindsay, C Halliday, R Mackintosh, J Morgan, A St Clair, M Campbell, J Duncan, R Mcphail. Subs: I Miller, S Bergius, A Masson, D Gibb-Morris, C Gilfillan, J Johnstone, R Warnock.

Edinburgh Academy: S Heaney; J Farndale, C Dean, M Zegleman, F Smith; Z Muir, A Glashan; J Haining, T Normand, D Falkner, D Forbes, A Inwood, C Thomson, C Simpson, J MacLean. Subs: A Lutton, C Allan, O Cradock, R Seydak, J Hardie, D November, G McLean.