Match Report
Dollar Academy 1st XV vs  Merchiston Castle School
On: Saturday, 08 Sep 2018
Venue: at Home

Dollar did themselves no favours in a game marred by Ill-discipline and unforced errors. Dollar knew that they would have to be at their very best against the heavy hitters of Merchiston to stand any chance of a result. To concede so many penalties and give away so much ball, playing with just 13 men at times, was suicide and played straight into the hands of the ruthless Merchiston.

To be shown 2 yellow cards within the space of 5 minutes only compounded the situation further.

Dollar started brightly enough, not allowing the visitors to settle but reacted very slowly to an all too often penalty which allowed the razor sharp Merchiston scrum half to set up an attack which saw them score in the corner. They made no mistake with the conversion.

Dollar were not to be outdone and threw everything at the Merchiston defence. Their attacking enterprise paying dividends when Michael Gray ghosted through to score near to the posts, making the conversion a formality for Finn McIlwraith and bringing the scores level at 7-7.

With the play toing and froing, nothing really separated the two sides until another needless penalty was given away at the breakdown by Dollar. A routinely taken lineout and drive for the line resulted in an easy seven points for the visitors and heralded the start of the capitulation from Dollar.

From the resulting restart, Michael Gray had a rush of blood to the head and recklessly tackled the Merchiston player whilst still in the air. He was lucky not to be shown a straight red card but still Dollar were down to 14 men having been shown a yellow instead.

Merchiston are a tough enough nut to crack with a full compliment, let alone 14 and Dollar were soon exposed for numbers on the blindside, allowing the visitors to make it three converted tries to one.

Just as things looked like they couldn’t get any worse, Gabe Smith was penalised for not rolling awayat the breakdown and promptly shown another yellow card, further reducing the home side to just 13 men. The result was inevitable and it wasn’t long before Merchiston made Dollar pay for their indiscretions, galloping to a commanding 28-7 lead at half time.

The hope of a second half revival quickly deteriorated as Dollar continued to ignore the warnings from referee, Tom French and gave away penalty after penalty. Merchiston needed no second invitation and took full advantage of both numbers and their lineout drive close to the line, ruthlessly piling on the points to give themselves a well deserved 52-7 win.

With ball in hand Dollar did look dangerous and there were some heroic individual performances in defence too. However, what the game did highlight was that no team can concede 20 penalties and turn the ball over a further 10 times and expect to win. This would be nigh on impossible against a team like Merchiston and Dollar must look to themselves especially in terms of their discipline if they are to improve.