Edinburgh Eagles overcame an 18 point deficit to defeat Strathmore Silverbacks and claim the 2019 Scottish Cup, at Scottish Police’s Lochinch ground in Pollok Park, Glasgow. The result was decided in the final play, Eagles prop Terry Logan forcing his way over for his second touchdown to secure a 30-22 victory.
Eagles chairman Barry McGuffog, said: “We knew the game would be very competitive and were made to work very hard right until the end. They put us under a lot of pressure in the first half and thoroughly deserved their 18-4 lead at half time. We then played a lot better in the second and controlled possession. All credit to them for coming back strongly in the last 10 minutes and taking the game right to the final set.”
Strathmore started the brighter and opened the scoring when Andrew Burgess, who finished with 14 points, intercepted a pass from Lewis Clarke to race in from 40 metres and converted. Marshalled by experienced half back Fraser McKay, the Silverbacks extended their lead, Glenn Feighan crashing over from a Stuart Gray short-ball and Niall Hall’s close range try giving the Forfar outfit a deserved, 18-0 lead; Burgess with two more conversions.
Edinburgh responded shortly before the break when Logan took Gareth Walker’s pass and powered his way over. Edinburgh captain Clarke showed good footwork to get his side back in the contest at the start of the second period, Mikey Mair goaling and the Eagles took control with tries from Walker, Lennox Baselala, Craig Robertson and Clarke with his second putting them 26-18 up with nine minutes to play.
The heat was starting take its toll and when Burgess swooped on a loose Edinburgh pass to score with little time left, it set up a grandstand finish before Logan’s run settled matters; Eagles lifting the trophy after the competition’s five year sabbatical.
“The match was everything we were expecting,” noted Silverbacks coach Dave Vernon. “We started well and were really happy at half time. However, we struggled to gain possession in the second half and Edinburgh’s experience showed. I was really pleased that the guys found a way back into the match towards the end and to take the contest to the final minute.”
The sides’ U16s met in the curtain-raiser, the second of a three-match series at this new age level for the game in Scotland and, as with the first, the Eagles took the spoils, this time 34-24.
“It was a very good day for Rugby League in Scotland,” commented SRL director of operations, Ollie Cruickshank. “We had a very competitive U16s match before the cup final and then saw two very well matched teams play out a highly competitive encounter that went to the final minute. We have seen good increases in player numbers across the ages this summer which bodes well for the 2020 season.”
EDINBURGH EAGLES: 30
Clayton Woods, Lennox Baselala, Iveri Cikaitoga, Matt Hart, Ross Marwick, Craig Robertson, Lewis Clarke, Terry Logan, Gareth Walker, Jona Kainoco, Michael Mair, Doug Watters, Llimo Torau
Subs: Michele Crolla, Stuart McBain, Douglas Thomson, Sean Taylor, Zachary McCall, Norani Vuna, Robert Stitt
Tries: Logan 2, Clarke 2, Walker, Baselala, Robertson
STRATHMORE SILVERBACKS: 22
Michael Jamieson, Conall McDonagh, Thomas Heshmonglagh, James Doherty, Shaun Duthie, Andrew Burgess, Fraser McKay, Kevin Franco, Connor Blackmore, Stuart Gray, Niall Hall, Cameron Robertson, Glenn Feighan
Subs: Craig Henderson, Tam Lindsay, Max Pringle, Andrew Paul, Ian Reid, Franco Shaun
Tries: Burgess 2, Feighan, Hall
Goals: Burgess 3
Half time: 4-18
Referee: Dave McKervail