Edinburgh Under-18 8,

South Under-18 23

GREAT stuff. Honest endeavour, grafting commitment, youthful

exuberance, and a fair smattering of honest-to-goodness rugby skills

combined to provide one of the most entertaining games this weary scribe

has seen all season.

After a string of best forgotten results, Border representative rugby

has been in the doldrums of late, but at Biggar on Saturday the

district's teenagers proved that reports relating to the death of the

game in its traditional Scottish heartland are greatly exaggerated. The

Border youngsters, under the coaching care of Jed's Roy Laidlaw and

Robbie Lindores, overcame their physical disadvantages and produced a

convincing and well-deserved victory over their city counterparts.

Edinburgh, well served at lock by Scott Murray and Craig Hunter, held

an early territorial advantage and took the lead after 13 minutes when

driving forward play saw them camped on the South line.

A scrummage offence just five yards short of the try line led to a

penalty which, perhaps unwisely, they opted to kick rather than gamble

for the extra points that a try and conversion would have brought. No.8

Alan Freeman did the honours.

The South response was not long in coming. Both stand-offs favoured

the high ball into enemy territory. Kevin Utterson's effort found Gary

Inglis in trouble and Stuart Harrison's clearance being fielded by Keith

Millar. The ball was whipped along the line and Alan McFarlane sped over

for the try.

Having weathered early Edinburgh pressure, the South made intelligent

use of their threequarters to keep Edinburgh on the defensive. Scott

Tomlinson ended a spell of intense pressure when he crossed for the

inevitable try and Gary Brannan converted.

After the interval secure lineout possession found the ball once again

transferred along the South threequarters in copy-book fashion, and the

impressive Donald Hughes ran in for the try.

After 48 minutes Brannan kicked the South into a 17-point lead when

Edinburgh conceded a penalty after yet another stirring drive by the

South pack.

Colin Turnbull gave the South a 20-point cushion with yet another

penalty goal, and it seemed as if the Borderers would coast to a

deserved but easy victory.

But then Edinburgh found another gear. For the final 20 minutes they

took the game to the South with some aggressive running by backs and


South were forced to make some big tackles in a largely successful

effort to keep their line intact. The only blot on the copybook was the

try conceded when Edinburgh's scrum half Stuart Armstrong sneaked away

from the base of a scrum to run in largely unimpeded from 25 metres out.

A fine game, a good win for South, and a shining advertisement for


Edinburgh Under-18 -- G Inglis; M Urwin (both Ross High), S Harrison,

G Watson (both Biggar), A McLean (Boroughmuir); N Thomas (Portobello), S

Armstrong (Biggar); S Paris (Livingston), R Scott (Haddington), G Talac

(Musselburgh), S Murray (Preston Lodge), C Hunter (Livingston), A

Truscott (Corstorphine), A Freeman, (Portobello), S McNeill (Ross High).

Replacements -- F Campbell (Biggar), C Newton (Currie), A Brotherston


South Under-18 -- S Tomlinson (Selkirk YC); G Smith (Melrose Colts), D

Hughes, C Turnbull (both Hawick PSA), A McFarlane (Jed Thistle); K

Utterson, G Cowe (both Kelso Harlequins); K Millar (Melrose Colts), S

Rutherford (Berwick Colts), D Farries (Gala Wanderers), J Szkudro (Jed

Thistle), G Brannan (Langholm Colts), S Riddle (Melrose Colts), S

Gilchrist (Berwick Colts), K Gray (Gala Wanderers).

Referee -- I Crawford (Hutchesons'/Aloysians).