Weekend Sport – Sat / Sun 30/31st March. Rugby and FP Golf

Rugby:   Decisive Win for Rugby Club

Stewart’s Melville RFC    57     Falkirk    10

The 1st XV achieved another big win on Saturday scoring nine tries with six conversions, six of the tries coming in the second half after leading 19-3 at half-time.   The win leaves them on 77  points equal with Highland who however have played two fewer games in NL2.   We are due to play Highland in the match postponed from the Calcutta Cup weekend on Saturday 27th April before which Highland have games against Peebles (away) on Saturday and Howe of Fife (home) the following week.

Golf:    FP Golf Club’s Spring Outing

The FP Golf Club enjoyed fine weather for their first outing of the year at the links course of Monifieth on Sunday.    Despite the sunshine and only a slight breeze the course did not play easily and Euan Parker  took the scratch prize from Scott Noble with a round of 83 after a count back.   Donald Lowe with 40 Stableford points had no challegers for the handicap prize.  Robin Mather won nearest the pin at the short 14th but Bert Barclay scooped the twos sweep with the only two of the day at the same hole.   Twenty-one members took part.


Weekend Sport Sat 23rd March – SM Rugby continue winning ways in Cupar

Rugby:    Howe of Fife    17    Stewart’s Melville RFC   36

The disappointment of last Saturday’s big game against Highland being postponed was soon eclipsed by what could only be described as an incredible comeback by Scotland. Whilst many felt gutted that we didn’t win, settling for a draw in the circumstances was, once the dust had settled, the more pragmatic option. We know all about ‘could have’ games at Stew Mel!

Great conditions for a display of running rugby at Duffus Park on Saturday. Bright sky, no wind, no rain – what more do you need?! A few changes were noted as Kyle Dixon replaced Adam Greig on the left wing, while, with Happy in the far-flung rainforests of Asia, Geoff Angco took up the inside centre position. Cormac McCracken came onto the bench, Ally Scott came in for our leader Momo and a special mention must be given to Ruaridh Stewart at number 8, making his return after his season was unceremoniously put on hold during the home game against Peebles. It takes a great deal of courage to come back, so well done!

Our last meeting with Howe was very much a one-sided affair as they struggled, initially, to raise a team, and, thereafter, injuries left them with only 12 players on the park, and, eventually, led to a premature final whistle. I was sure on Saturday that they would not want a repeat of their player number issues – and, more importantly, the scoreline! Howe have a proud tradition and throwing in the towel was never going to be on the agenda this time.

Stew Mel kicked off (I guess) northwards, playing ‘downhill’, and, from the start, our dominance was evident in the opening exchanges. That said, kicking appeared to be the preferred tactic of both teams from the outset, with either the bounce of the ball creating uncertainty or clearance kicks not quite finding touch. Stew Mel also conceded several penalties in the early stages, giving Howe some respite. It was a scrappy start, but, eventually, after around 10 minutes. a lucky bounce was well retrieved by Chris Baikie, who touched down by the posts. The successful conversion by Euan Bowen made it Howe of Fife 0 Stew Mel 7.

The ball was well taken at the restart by Matt Sanderson and some territory was gained with the assistance of Doug Randall. A knock-on from Howe gave Stew Mel the scrum and an impressive drive over the half way line resulted in a wrestling match in midfield but little fluency behind the scrum. Quicker ball soon came, giving Kyle Dixon the opportunity to make progress down the left wing; debutant Geoff Angco followed suit in midfield, and, with James Ferguson close at hand five meters out, the try was inevitable. With 25 minutes played it was Howe 0 Stew Mel 14, Euan again being successful with the conversion.

Joe Baillie, this time, took the ball well at the restart and made further inroads, aided by Ally Scott. James was involved again as Stew Mel encroached on Howe’s try line once more and Matt Sanderson was unlucky not to get over, some good defending from Howe preventing another score. There was a brief injury stoppage but momentum was soon regained and Ruaridh Mitchell, positioned fortuitously on the right wing, drove over. 30 minutes played, Howe 0 Stew Mel 19. Another couple of good phases by both forwards and backs followed the restart this time, releasing Kyle Dixon on the left wing to get the bonus point try. 35 minutes played, Howe 0 Stew Mel 24.

The lead appeared comfortable at this stage. James retired early with a calf injury to be replaced by Seb Trotter, though, and Howe suddenly took the initiative, throwing caution to the wind, and, with kick & chase and strong running, gaining good field position for the forwards to drive over. They did this not once but twice in succession, aided and abetted by a poor Stew Mel restart. That made it Howe 10 Stew Mel 24 at half time.

Despite having ‘allowed’ Howe back into the game, Stew Mel started the second half brightly, with some good hands amongst the forwards giving Fraser quicker ball to play with. This pressure resulted in a lineout on Howe’s 22; although they eventually managed to kick to touch in desperation, this only served to bring the lineout back to a similar position. Further pressure ensued, but, unfortunately, a knock on prevented any immediate progress.

Stew Mel were dominant in the scrum by now, driving the Howe pack back, disrupting their ball and making it harder for them to launch any effective attacks. Howe had, however, certainly upped their tempo and were attacking effectively whenever the opportunity arose, putting together some reasonable phases with 60 minutes on the clock. A facial cut to Chris Baikie saw Connor McKay entering the fray, and, as always, his presence was felt by the opposition. A penalty eventually came Stew Mel’s way, and, after some good forward play, Ruaridh Mitchell once again found himself on the right wing with a similar outcome. 65 minutes played, Howe 10 Stew Mel 29.

Our scrum dominance at this stage was key to turning the tables and putting more pressure on our hosts. Kyle Marshall replaced Doug Randall, fresh legs always being welcome at this stage. Perhaps the best and most ‘typical’ Stew Mel move of the match eventually saw Jamie Sword cantering over for another try and a successful conversion. That made it Howe 10 Stew Mel 36 with 70 minutes gone. With the clock counting down, Howe again emerged from the ashes and produced a strong finish, eventually being awarded a penalty try after a string of penalties against Stew Mel. Final score Howe 17 Stew Mel 36.

It was, perhaps, not the performance we were hoping for, but a bonus point win will do even if the term’ winning ugly’ is an apt description of our afternoon at Duffus Park. There were spells where we showed what we are capable of, but, also, some very scrappy play where ball retention was difficult and too many basic errors were made. You can, of course, only perform as well as your opponents allow, and Howe certainly made it hard at times. A ‘Noddy’ guide to not conceding penalties would also have been a useful read prior to this encounter. Bottom line, we conceded too many, whether justified or not. The consolation penalty try was clearly the end result.

That said, there were still some outstanding individual performances from, in particular, Matt Sanderson, who was building an ‘interesting’ relationship with his opposite number. Euan Bowen was creative at 10 and Ruaridh Stewart showed no ill effects from his layoff, whilst Kyle Dixon, Ally Scott, Geoff Angco and Cormac McCracken all played their part. Howe clearly have some good players and are, I think, still very much in the development stage, mixing youth with more experienced personnel. We have been there, too, and it does come good in the end!

Our game against Falkirk on Saturday was supposed to be our last but the season drags on. See you then!

Kevin Murchie

Weekend Sport – Sat 16th March – Weather wins at Inverleith but compensation in Calcutta Cup match

Rugby:  Late winter snow, wind and rain meant the much anticipated NL2 match with Highland and the other club matches planned for Saturday fell to the weather.   With the final day of the 6 Nations Championship available on large screen TVs the pre match lunch arranged went on as planned and the bar was packed for the Wales-Ireland match and the Calcutta Cup match which followed.     Those present were rewarded by witnessing first hand Scotland’s amazing second half revival and eventual draw in the company of a raucous support.    The match with Highland is now likely to be played on Saturday 20th April – venue to be announced.     This Saturday coming the 1sts play Howe of Fife in Cupar with a 3pm start.

Hockey:  No league hockey took place with both Mens 1sts and Ladies 1sts still challenging at the top of their respective leagues with four and three games to play respectively.



Weekend Sport – Sat 2nd March. Rugby – 1st XV’s big win on league resumption

Rugby:     Stewart’s Melville RFC   48    Dumfries Saints   10

After a four week break due to the Six Nations Internationals league rugby returned on Saturday with the 1st XV producing probably their best performance of the season overcoming Dumfries 48-10 on a day of high winds and rain and replacing our visitors in third place in NL2 behind 1st placed Biggar and our next opponents 2nd placed Highland.    Highland with one game less played are on 72 points, five ahead of Stew Mel meaning a win is essential on Saturday 16th if we are to keep alive our slight hopes of promotion.   Highland still have a testing away match to play at Peebles on 6th April after we have finished our programme of matches.

Beyond Inverleith, Jack Blain an SMC school leaver last year made his competitive debut for Edinburgh Rugby against Benetton also on Saturday  joining another FP Calum Hunter-Hill in the starting line up, Benetton coming from behind to win 18-10.


Weekend Sport – Sat 16th February Wins for Hockey Men and Ladies Cricket Annual Dinner & Awards Evening

Hockey:   ESMS Mens 1st XI travelled to Inverness to play Highland at Bught Park and were rewarded with an 8-2 win which keeps them on top in NL 3 with 8 wins out of eight matches played.     ESMS Ladies 1st XI were also big winners, 5-0 v Dundee University at Ravelston.  With a 9 and 3 record they remain in second place in NL2 four points behind Gordonians.

Rugby:   A planned friendly match with Dundee did not take place – league rugby resumes on 2nd March v Dumfries at Inverleith.   This weekend’s focus is on the Six Nations when Scotland play in Paris.   The bar at Inverleith is open for a large screen viewing of the match.

Cricket:   The Cricket Club had their Annual Dinner and Awards night on Friday evening.   A full report on the evening’s awards can be seen on the Cricket Club’s website at http://www.stewartsmelvillecricket.com


Weekend Sport – Sat/Sun 2nd/3rd Feb Rugby / Outdoor Hockey resume Saturday 16th February


No competition play to report on this weekend with League rugby taking a break during the Six Nations Rugby Championship although a friendly match has been arranged for Saturday 16th February with Dundee at Inverleith.   The match will be followed in the evening by the Rugby Club’s own version of a Burns Supper.


Outdoor hockey is on the mid winter break resuming on 16th February.   The Mens 1st team went into the break in NL3 with a 100% record of 7 wins from 7 games, top of the league ahead of FMGM from Dundee who have a 6 and 1 record.  The team’s next match is against Highland at Bught Park, Inverness with the next again match on 23rd February at Inverleith v Stirling University.   The Ladies 1st team are presently in 2nd place in NL2 with 8 wins and 3 defeats (24 points).   Gordonians lead the league with 28 points from 9 wins, a draw and one defeat.  Their next match is on the 16th against St Andrews University at MES (2.30pm).


Weekend Sport – Sat 26th January. 1st XV lose but stay in touch with second place

Peebles  25   Stewart’s Melville RFC  17


A disappointing outcome for the 1st XV at Peebles failing to add to our games point total.    Turning around a 15-3 deficit into a winning 17-15 position with 15 minutes left Peebles added a penalty and a try with 5 minutes left to give them the win.   A lift was received however when the result of Highland’s match at Dumfries came through, 10-3 to the “Saints” leaving Stew Mel tied on points with Highland on 62.    We have four games left, all in March, including one v Highland on Saturday 16th March at Inverleith.   Highland still have to travel to Peebles on 6th April for a catch up fixture … so all is not lost.


1Biggar RFC181710730:12260814183
2Highland RFC161240480:23224811362
3Stewart’s Melville RFC181350543:36318010062

Weekend Sport – Saturday 12th January. Rugby – Another win for 1st XV

Preston Lodge    21    Stewart’s Melville RFC    27

For many our supporters the highlight of the day was the substantial pre match lunch complete with non PC comedian put on by PL and which our club chairman Finlay Calder issued the equivalent of a three line whip to attend, it all being enjoyed by a packed clubhouse.

The game itself required a hike up the road to the ground at Pennypit where the former clubhouse is no more but the ground as cold as ever.   Most of the points came in the first half of fluctuating play that saw us reach half-time 24-16 ahead.   A further penalty after 15 minutes of the second half put us comfortably ahead at 27-16 a situation we held onto until the final minutes when PL crossed for another try leaving our supporters somewhat less than comfortable as they wished for the ref to blow the final whistle.    The win ultimately kept us with 57 points from 16 games on the coat tails of second placed Highland on 60 points but with two more games played.  Biggar 74 points from 16 games look uncatchable.

Full match report here   http://www.stewmelrugby.com/match-report-v-preston-lodge-rfc-saturday-12-january/ .

On Saturday we welcome GHK to Inverleith (2pm kick off).

Weekend Sport – Sat 15th Dec. Substantial win for 1st XV before Christmas break

Stewart’s Melville RFC   58     Lasswade   7

Doug Randall crosses for Stew Mel’s second try

The 1st XV finished their pre Christmas National League 2 campaign in freezing cold weather and virtual darkness with probably their best performance of the season scoring nine tries with four converted maintaining third place in the league.   Two early scores the second by Doug Randall (above) gave Stew Mel an early 12-0 lead which was pulled to 12-7 after a Lasswade interception.  Three more tries with two being converted took the half-time lead to 31-7 but with the prospect of playing against the whipping wind in the second half.   Despite facing the wind Stew Mel continued their adventurous brand of possession rugby adding five more tries and a further conversion to make the final score 58-7 – a great way to finish the first part of the season.  With the other matches  in the league being cancelled StewMel closed the gap to second placed Highland to seven points though with a game more played.

Good too to see sixty guests attending the pre match lunch two weeks on from 120 attending the lunch before the Biggar match.

The season resumes on Saturday 12th January with a match v Preston Lodge away.   PL are doing a pre match lunch at Pennypit Park and anyone wanting to attend it should contact Bill McNie.   If there is sufficient take up the club will provide transport.

Weekend Sport – 8th December. 1st XV win in Glasgow

Glasgow Academicals   8    Stewart’s Melville RFC    13


The 1st XV travelled to Glasgow to take on an Accies side who we had previously recorded a win against at Inverleith.    The weather conditions were rather different on this occasion and not conducive to a handling game.   Stew Mel opened the scoring with penalty and built on this lead with two unconverted tries by Freddie Roddick and Craig Davidson before half-time, 13-0.   The second half was a struggle to hold on as Accies clawed their way back into the game with a penalty and a try, 13-8 and that was how it remained to the final whistle.   The win and the four points keep us in third place in the league on 48 points  but two wins behind second placed Highland (60) and leaders Biggar (64), all from 14 matches.   The action returns to Inverleith on Saturday with a home match v Lasswade, 2 pm.   After that we have a Christmas break from league play until 12th January.