Marr 12-27 Currie Chieftains

Currie Chieftains made it three Premiership finals on the bounce, and a rematch of last year’s final against Hawick, with a stunning victory at Fullarton Park built on a sensational defensive display that stifled the usually free-scoring Ayrshire men. 

Marr were slow, or were made to look slow, out of the traps, barely landing a blow in the opening 10mins in which Currie had taken the lead through a close-range Rhys Davies try, and a devastating break from deep inside their own half could have led to a sensational second if the right option on halfway had been taken, but they did eventually find their rhythm. 

READ MORE: Hawick edge Borders derby to earn Premiership final place

Winger Jake Jacobson was thwarted by an excellent piece of defending by Ryan Daley, and Courtney West’s vital turnover in front of the sticks had kept them at bay, but after conceding a few penalties in succession, Marr’s pressure eventually told as Conor Bickerstaff tapped and went over from short-range. 

The pendulum had seemingly swung to Marr after their rusty beginning, but when Blair Jardine knocked on with the line at his mercy, it was the beginning of the end for Marr, as composed, confident Currie grabbed the game round the throat. 

A lovely nudge from full-back Charlie Brett didn’t quite lead to a 50-22 but it did give Marr possession in a tricky position, and once Currie had the ball back in their hands, scrum-half Paddy Boyer dictated play well until DJ Innes had an overlap, threw a dummy and went over the line to give Currie a  five-point half-time lead which they fully deserved.  

Scotland Rugby News: Paddy Boyer was key to Currie's successPaddy Boyer was key to Currie's success (Image: SNS)

Currie extended their lead early in the second half, no:8 Sam Cardosi sliding in to the right corner after diligent kick-chasing by James McCaig and Courtney West had forced Conor Bickerstaff into a rushed clearance and handed them the line-out just inside the 22. 

Although Marr had lost Fraser Grant to injury early on, they still had some vast experience to call on, but everywhere they turned they ran into a Currie player.

Go wide and wingers Daley and McCaig were there to shut off the avenues, if trying the power game, West or fellow lock Ali Bain always seemed to be there to tackle or disrupt the breakdown. Marr seemed dumbfounded. 

The mercurial Brett had already showcased his line-breaking skills, similar to what Jardine had done in the first-half, he was unable to hold onto the  ball, dropping it in contact as he went over the line, but he got up and dusted himself off to knock over the penalty Currie had been playing advantage with.  

With a 13-point gap and the same number of minutes to play, Marr thought they might find an emergency life-jacket when Thomas Jeffery was sent to the sin-bin for a high tackle, instead, it was Currie who scored next, almost certainly sealing the victory, sparking joyous celebrations on their bench. 

It was the smarts of Boyer who made this one, playing with penalty advantage, Boyer accelerated into Marr’s half, and slipped the ball off to earlier try-scorer Cardosi to keep the ball moving.

A couple of phases later, Boyer was back into position, from the back of the breakdown he arrowed a long pass to McCaig, who stepped inside past the flailing last defender.  

There was still time for Currie to threaten again - although there wasn’t a high penalty count, four that Marr conceded were for high tackles –  Conor Bickerstaff was yellow carded for a dangerous no-arms tackle, but although Marr did repel Currie and claim a last-gasp consolation from Colin Sturgeon, Currie were deserving winners. 

Having been beaten twice by Marr in the regular season, the most recent being only a couple of weeks ago, and in Currie’s own Malleny Park backyard too, they can take great confidence in winning away here at the toughest of venues before heading back to Mansfield for another crack at Hawick, who had snatched the trophy from them in the most dramatic of fashions last year.   

Marr: G Montgomery; J Jacobson, N Calder, C Bickerstaff©, S Bickerstaff; C Sturgeon, G Baird; A Rogers, B Sweet, W Farquhar, D Andrew, F Grant, A Apthorpe, B Johnston, B Jardine. Replacements: C McMillan, E Bulger, C Young, K Vallance, R Baird, J Scott, C Inglis.

Currie Chieftains: C Brett; J McCaig, J Forbes©, DJ Innes, R Daley; C Beckett, P Boyer; T Jeffrey, R Stewart, G Carson, A Bain, C West, R Davies, A Fletcher, S Cardosi. Replacements: R Vucago, O Blyth-Lafferty, A Hoggarth, K Steel, C Lessels, C Gray, C Taylor.