Stewart’s Melville College 7 Merchiston Castle School 20
Stewart’s Melville College’s 1st XV just came up short on Wednesday evening in the National Schools Cup at BT Murrayfield.
Supported by a noisy and passionate crowd from the ESMS community throughout, the squad led by Captain Elliot Young battled back from 10-0 down at the interval to trail 10-7 at one stage, but fellow Edinburgh school Merchiston Castle scored two further tries to win 20-7.
The Stewart’s Melville squad can still be proud of their efforts at the national stadium though and, in time, will look back on 2021/22 as an overall success given their amazing run in the Conference.
"We’re disappointed to lose, but we have absolutely no complaints,” Head of Rugby Stuart Edwards said.
“Merchiston deserved that win. They just fired a bit sharper than we did. We just never quite got going and the boys will be frustrated by that, but I’d like to praise them for the hard work they have put in over the year."
“They are great role models to the younger rugby players at the school and they have done really well as a squad. They should be proud of what they have achieved as not everyone gets the chance to play at Murrayfield as a teenager.”
Into the action and after winger Amaan Raza had gone close for Merchiston in the 15th minute, seven minutes later he did get on the scoresheet when he showed good pace to score an unconverted try.
No.8 Gregor Thomson was getting Stewart’s Melville on the front foot whenever he could, but Merchiston’s second five-pointer came just before half-time.
It was scored by winger Alex Callaway and Stewart’s Melville knew they needed to get off to a quick start in the second half - and they did just that.
Hooker Young, the skipper, went close to a try and then loosehead prop Aidan Symes did power over. When stand-off James Lewis converted it was 10-7 and certainly ‘game on’.
Merchiston managed to bounce back from that setback though and took control again.
Their third try on the night came from centre Lachlan Ferguson and then Raza scored his second with 13 minutes to go.
Both were unconverted and they then had No.8 Tom Currie yellow carded, but they held out to come out on top.
Scrum-half Matthew de Villiers was named Player of the Match for the winners while Thomson, Symes and scrum-half Jake Burns kept battling away for Stewart’s Melville in a game where things just did not quite click for them.
We know that this wasn’t the result that our players had hoped for but we could not be more proud of the efforts of both our team and coaches after what has been an incredible run in the Conference.
Stewart’s Melville College: Monty Dunlap; Rob Henderson, Louis Le Sueur, Benjamin Roger (V-C), Finn Macfarlane; James Lewis, Jake Burns; Aidan Symes, Elliot Young (C), Jamie Limb, Robin Pratt, Alfie Maitland (V-C), Charlie Burns, Freddy Douglas, Gregor Thomson (V-C). Subs: Ed Waugh, Charles Harte, Josh Spencer, Kieran McMillan, Cameron Ross, James Gordon, Isaac Johnston.
Stewart’s Melville College scorers: Try: Symes. Conversion: Lewis.
Merchiston Castle School scorers: Tries: Raza (2), Callaway, Ferguson.
Player of the Match: Matthew de Villiers (Merchiston Castle School).
Referee: Jonny Perriam.
By Gary Heatly