Match Report
Merchiston Castle School D1 vs  ESMS Erskine Stewart's Melville Schools
On: Saturday, 09 Oct 2021
Venue: at Home

The winning streak came to an end today after a valiant effort was thwarted by a strong ESMS side. With the Belhaven game cancelled earlier in the week, the D1’s were able to put all their efforts into training this week. We were aware that ESMS would be our strongest opponents so far and it proved correct.

Our focus on training has been attacking from depth and line speed in defence. ESMS were aggressive at the breakdown and caused the Merchiston side a lot of challenges in this area. MCS struggled to keep a hold of the ball and conceded multiple turnovers which resulted in fewer opportunities to attack and score some points. A try scored out wide by ESMS was converted and they continued to exert pressure on the MCS defensive line.

The D1’s finally got rolling and after securing their own turnover at the breakdown were rewarded when vice captain Samuel Murchison ran down the weak side to score a deserved try. ESMS were quick to get back in front however, scoring right at the death of the half. Performance of the half went to Lewis Fallowfield who put in some tremendous tackles throughout but sadly picked up an injury and was unable to join in the second half.

Half Time Score: MCS 4 - 7 ESMS

The half time talk focused on securing the ball when in possession to allow us to build some phases together and gain territory. We also talked about a drift defence to try and counter the fast pace of the ESMS back line. Possession was much better in the second half with significantly fewer turnovers thanks to the tenacity of Calum Robertson, Egan Hundleby and Joel Van Blerk in the ruck.

ESMS however were ruthless in their ability to capitalise on MCS mistakes with several knock ons being capitalised and two further trys scored by ESMS. At this point there was a concern the game might get away from the D1’s. Conceding consecutive scores and several injuries including one of our main playmakers in the centre Freddie Charman rattled the side. It was at this point that the D1’s rallied. Resilience, perseverance and grit kicked in and sustained pressure and positive play allowed Sam Murchison to score twice with his characteristic strong running.

This brought the game to 12-15 in ESMS’s favour but in credit to the visiting team, they played great rugby and scored a further two trys to cap off the half. A disappointing result but perhaps there is more to learn from a loss than a win and there were some key takeaways for the team to work on for next time.

Thank you to everyone involved and our parent support who were brilliant on the touchline. Key takeaway from the game was to our mental strength today. Despite being up against it, we dug deep, played great rugby in patches and never once gave up. Proud coach :)