Thursday 11 November 2010

2nd XV - Half Term Report

... Must do better ...

The 2XV are half way through their league having played 11 weeks on the trot. An ideal time then for a bit of reflection on the season so far. The target for the second XV this season was to survive in this league while the 1st XV focuses on getting the club back into Premier 1. The way to do it would be to ensure we beat the other Prem 2 sides, and hope for the best in other games.

The first game of the season was a decent win against Aberdeen Grammar, but they have gone on to lose every game since, and that game wasn't indicative of the teams we would be playing week in week out. There followed four heavy defeats to Prem 1 opposition in Melrose, Dundee, Heriot's and Hawks, and it was becoming difficult to keep spirits up. We were doing some things right, but not enough. We were able to compete for some of the game, but not all of it. A clue to that was the fact that we managed a try bonus against Melrose, yet conceded 52 points in the process.

Up next was Stewart's-Melville, a must-win game on all fronts and one of our targeted games. A shaky display at times, but good enough to secure the bonus point win, and to get some much needed confidence to take into the next week against 2nd placed Boroughmuir. At Meggetland we fought bravely and should have come away with a losing bonus point at the very least, but for some interesting refereeing decisions. More importantly though, it showed the Team that they are capable of better than we had seen so far this season. We were becoming more consistent and more competitive. We took this new found confidence on board, and over the next two weeks we notched up excellent bonus point wins over West and Watsonians before succumbing to unbeaten Stirling, whose President said we were the best Team they had come up against all season. Our final game of the first half of the season was away to Currie where we stood up to their monster pack, and played some sublime rugby to secure our 5th bonus point victory of the season.

We have used 51 different players so far this season in all games, so to be sitting 6th in the table of 12, ahead of 4 Prem 1 Teams is particularly satisfying. James O'Kelly has started every game, which is an incredible achievement given the propensity for his shoulder to pop out of its joint. He now captains the side on a regular basis.

Garvin Peoples, Callum Reid and Paddy Traylor have all played 9 games, the latter two both receiving well-earned call ups to the 1sts on a few occasions, and are pivotal members of the side. Max Gordon started the 1st four games at just 17 years old earning at least one MOTM award, before taking up the captaincy of the U20s where he continues to lead from the front. Latterly, a fit again Paul Arnold has been directing traffic from 10 like the old head that he is. There have been other fine individual performances, not all of which can be mentioned here.

Looking ahead now we still have a lot of work to do. No longer will it be sufficient to beat the lower placed sides. With our improved performances must come higher standards, and that includes getting one back over the sides that have beaten us. Commitment from players to turn up for training and to work on their own on other nights is a must. There is competition for places on a much more regular basis, and no-one can afford to rest on his laurels. It's going to be tough, particularly with the way the second half of the season can become a bit disjointed.

"Must do better" might seem a little harsh, but it doesn't mean we haven't done well. It just means that unless we strive to continue improving, 6th place in the league half way through a season where we thought we might struggle will count for nothing.

Malcy McVie


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