BT National League One



LEADERS Marr endured a torrid opening 15 minutes as Dundee’s power play threatened to overwhelm them scoring a penalty and two converted tries to no response.

As the quarter closed Marr finally managed to force their way back into what had been the Dundee roadshow. By half-time Marr had clawed back with two tries and started to subdue their opponents restricting them to being able to add only three points to their tally. In the second half Marr continued to stretch Dundee and took complete control.

After Marr’s win earlier in the season at Mayfield the hosts knew Dundee would be well fired up to exact revenge but few expected outcome of the opening onslaught they delivered. By 15 minutes of play Dundee had scored a penalty and two converted tries as they threatened to overwhelm Marr.

Dundee’s pack, under the guidance of Alan Brown, dominated the set-piece and rampaged at will in open play. This created a platform and space that was exploited by their backs. Dundee’s stand-off Ewan Fox stood out as he created major problems for Marr’s defence with clever running and shrewd kicking and along the way he converted two penalties, scored a try and converted two tries.

As the first quarter closed Marr managed to start to force their way back into the match. Marr’s forwards finally got a grip and were able to match and then outplay their opposite numbers. A series of close range charges from lineouts was rewarded with a try as Marr retained possession and Ben Johnston barged through, twisting and turning to touch down as the defence gave him close attention. Five minutes later the backs added a second. Strong running created some space and centre Conor Bickerstaff cleverly used winger Tom Steven as a decoy to wrong foot the defence and step on the outside to score.

In the second half it was Marr’s turn to apply pressure from the start. Power play from the forwards took them into the red zone and Dundee struggled to protect their try line.

They conceded a series of penalties and along the way lost George Arnott to a yellow card as a he illegally disrupted. Marr exerted further pressure to capitalise on the advantage but Dundee’s defence held firm for most of the 10 minutes before they finally ran out of steam. Ben Johnston peeled off a close range scrum to touch down and the conversion reduced the deficit to three points.

For the rest of the match Marr continued to dominate and within five minutes gained the lead as Mackenzie Pearce’s quick thinking from a close range penalty saw him take a quick tap and go and breenged through from close range. This took them into the lead and from there they never looked back as they began to dominate set piece and open play.

Marr’s dominance continued and was rewarded with further tries. After several close range surges by the forwards were illegally disrupted the referee had no hesitation in awarding Marr a penalty try. Stuart Howie then extended Marr’s lead with a try in the corner. This was followed by Ben Johnston’s hat-trick as he broke off a close range scum and Dundee’s defence opened up like the Red Sea to provide him with a pathway to the line.

Marr continued Dundee’s misery as Conor Bickerstaff added his second try. Dundee had the final say with a consolation try from Ali Mackie.

Marr’s win was important not just for the vital five points but for the fact that they were able to deliver a composed and mature performance to overturn a 17-point deficit and secure a comfortable victory.

The start of the Six Nations Championship and next round of the BT Cup means a two-week break in league action and affords Marr’s players with the opportunity for some rest and recovery before they face a tricky away fixture against Falkirk.

Marr Rugby man of the match: Ben Johnston (sponsored by Jimmy Armour)

Marr 2nd XV's home clash with Carrick was abandoned due to an injury to the referee.

Marr Rugby next fixtures (January 28, 2pm kick-offs)

2s – home v GHK (league)

3s – away v GHA (league).