2004/2005: Scottish Premiership One



S. Briers15R. West
A. Hadden14R. Watson
G. Kiddie13A. Bulloch
S. Ruddick12J. Naufahu
R. Cairns11R. McClymont
S. Hadden10M. Dunn
C. Cusiter9AJ. MacFarlane
J. Cox1R. Nolan
D. Cunningham2C. Di Ciacca
F. Lait3T. Kemmett
E. Mathieson4J. Reid
G. McCallum5J. Eddie
C. Capaldi6G. Harkness
A. Martyn7A. Boag
B. Fisher8J. Mathieson
C. Brown16D. Jamieson
A. Knight17A. Williamson
18B. Edgar
Martyn (3), Cox, Cusiter, FisherTryMathieson
S. HaddenCon
Mr A. Williamson (Hawick)

Inspired by the back-row colossus that is Angus Martyn, Boroughmuir yesterday brushed aside modest visitors GHA with the assured air of a smart businessman flicking a speck of dust from his jacket. Thrillingly for a Meggetland audience who had turned up in their hundreds to light up this famous old arena, surrounded by piles of rubble and soon to be levelled for a new sports complex, a feeling of regeneration filled the cold night air.

The Muir faithful watched in delight as Martyn, Graeme McCallum, Scott Hadden and Steven Briers put GHA to the sword, and signs of a promising future were everywhere. “It’s always important to score and to get a hat-trick of tries was enjoyable,” said the Durban-born Martyn, who is Scottish-qualified having played for several national age group teams. “It was important to bounce back after last weekend’s defeat at Biggar. We’d won six on the bounce before that and had turned our season around, so it was vital that we didn’t slip up again.”

The debit column in Boroughmuir’s ledger has a few entries this morning, but there is nothing there to suggest they are near bankrupt. Quite the opposite. The GHA scrum-half, Andy McFarlane, may think that at times this display shows Boroughmuir are “vulnerable and beatable”, but his coach, David Wilson, was nearer the mark when he said: “Maybe we managed to create a bit of doubt in their minds early on. Boroughmuir showed that, under difficult circumstances, they can take the points. When it came to the crunch, we didn’t. It was a deserved scoreboard, but in truth we did ourselves no favours through too many turnovers at the breakdown and in contact. When you give a side like that enough ball, they will punish you, and they did.”

Boroughmuir have faced down a series of mini-crises over the last 12 months and come through them all. That speaks of deep inner belief and calmness in the face of adversity. They work their way through their difficulties, knowing rather than hoping that it will come good. As they exhibited at Biggar last Saturday, they still lack leadership at times, and a real cutting edge against teams not prepared to give them time and space to run from deep. They also tend to go mental walkabout when they feel they have done enough to win the game, and while victory here always looked assured, they again took their foot off the throat. However, it was not just bite and snarl and doggedness which did for Glasgow: that is a minimum expectation on home turf. Boroughmuir had craft and imagination too. Not only do they know this, so do the opposition.

That is why, after Boroughmuir scored four tries in the opening half hour, their game lifted while GHA’s wilted. Calum Cusiter, the impressive scrum-half, scored the first. A flurry of hands saw McCallam, the lock, gatecrash the visitor’s porous barricades and cleverly draw the cover defence to touch down from close range in the eighth minute. Martin Dunn, the GHA outside-half, reduced the deficit with a penalty for an infringement at the breakdown eight minutes later, but they were always severely under the cosh. Ben Fisher’s rumbling drive four minutes later, and the touchdown through Martyn, the omnipresent openside flanker, broke the remnants of GHA’s resistance. In that remarkable period, Glasgow were reduced to 14 men after Justin Matheson was sin-binned for killing the ball on the deck. Boroughmuir made GHA pay heavily for their indiscretions, Martyn crashing over for his second and his side’s fourth try to secure the bonus point and the win. It all came from a sweeping movement, when the irrepressible Scott Hadden and Chris Capaldi combined to devastating effect. The ball was moved from left to right, GHA’s defence tossed around like a rag doll, and Martyn did the rest. Martyn, along with Scott Hadden the outstanding player on the pitch, was harshly sent to the cooler moments later for handling on the ground. No matter. Boroughmuir had this contest firmly in the bag.

The second half was a curiously, perhaps understandably, slow-burning affair. Boroughmuir looked distinctly disinterested and GHA, after a rocket from Wilson at the interval, came out like men possessed. Straight from the kick-off, they rumbled downfield. Matheson, the eighth man, clearly having learned from his visit to the bin, kept himself on side this time and burrowed over to offer his side some succour. The second period turned into a scrap in the middle of the pitch, with neither side appearing able to finish off attacks. Eventually, Boroughmuir were roused from their torpor and twice they knocked on when it seemed easier to score. However, in stoppage time burly prop John Cox and the magnificent Martyn applied the finishing touch. The smile should still be there on Boroughmuir’s face this morning.

Source: The Scotsman, Sunday 12th December 2004 & The Glasgow Herald, Monday 13th December 2004

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