Match Report
Dollar Academy 1st XV vs  ESMS Erskine Stewart's Melville Schools
On: Saturday, 29 Sep 2018
Venue: Away

Dollar started the game full of intent putting the home side under pressure straight from the kick off. Stewart’s Melville, true to form, started working the ball up field running from deep within their own half. Dollar were having none of it and chopped down attack after attack, forcing the Edinburgh side to kick. Their attempt to relieve only found the open arms of Ross McKnight who returned with interest, setting up quick ball for his forwards. Captain, Danny Robins took the pass from scrum half, Finn McIlwraith and threw a dummy any fly half would be proud of to find himself in acres of space. The work was not done as he found himself in a foot race to the line with half the Stewart’s Melville side hot on his heels. They proved no match for the speedy second row and he crossed near the posts to give McIlwraith every chance of adding the extras against a blustery head wind. This he did, adding the icing to a fantastic try and the perfect start for Dollar.

Stewart’s Melville responded strongly and soon found themselves on the attack in the Dollar 22. However, through great defensive work the ball was turned over and the ball quickly transferred to Jamie Cruickshank. Shrugging off a would be tackler he set up perfect quick ball allowing Dollar to release Michael Gray in a race to the line. A dummy and hand off later saw Gray finishing of a length of the pitch try under the posts. McIlwraith added the conversion that put Dollar into a commanding 14-0 lead.

Stewarts Melville attacked hard from the restart forcing Dollar to cough up the ball on their own 22 line. The home side quickly spun the ball wide but were met with a thunderous tackle from Jamie Glasgow, which forced the ball forwards and into the arms of winger McKnight. He needed no second invitation and galloped from his own 22 to dot down between the posts. McIlwraith again making no mistake with the conversion and extending the lead to 21-0.

Dollar made surprisingly hard work of the restart and against the wind decided to run. Stewart’s Melville spoiled the party and intercepted a sloppy pass that led to the inevitable – a simple 5 point score.

It was now the Dollar side that was under pressure, giving the Edinburgh side too much time with the ball and giving away needless penalties. From one such penalty, the home side kicked to the corner and drove for the line. The Dollar side illegally halted the drive but the free ball pick and go proved unstoppable and Stewart’s Melville bagged their second try of the game.

Stewart’s Melville were now back in the game but it was Dollar that took on the attacking initiative. From a quickly taken penalty, Danny Robins charged forward into the heart of the opposition defence. Quick ball allowed fly half Calum Busby to step his man and glide effortlessly through a gaping hole. With the final defender to beat, he changed direction again which left the fullback grabbing thin air as he touched down calmly between the posts.

Dollar safely gathered the restart and set the ball up just on their own 22. The ball was whipped from right to left across the backline and into the hands of winger McKnight. With three quarters of the pitch to run and two defenders to beat, he left everyone in his trail as he sped towards the try line only stopping to put the ball down between the posts. McIlwraith made no mistake with the conversion putting Dollar back into a commanding 33-10 lead.

Dollar were now full of confidence and finished the half with a well taken try straight from the training pitch. The forwards laying the foundations before the ball was spread wide allowing Gray to bag his second try of the game and widening the gap to 38-10.

It was the Edinburgh that struck first in the second half with some relentless driving play they drove over from close range to get themselves closer at 38-15

Dollar responded well and this time it was the quick thinking full back Rob Alexander that dived over for a try any prop forward would be proud of. McIlwraith nailed the tricky conversion and the score now stood at 45-15

Surely there was no way back for the Stewart’s Melville side but they had not read the script replying with two tries of their own. Dollar now emptied their bench, McIlwaraith switching to the wing and soon finding himself scorching down the right flank to bring up the 50 points for Dollar.

The game was all but over and certainly the concentration levels of the Dollar players were beginning to wane as they allowed a last consolation try before the referee brought an end to this high scoring and entertaining game.

With a score line of 50-34 Dollar not only secured the victory but regained the Grant Mackenzie cup, something that they had not achieved since 2011.