Johnny Matthews leads from front in epic Boroughmuir win

Boroughmuir hooker Johnny Matthews is loving life in the Capital, having joined the Meggetland club this season. He gave the latest exhibition of what he brings to the side with three of Muir's five tries as they finally posted their first win of the campaign when they edged out Marr 34-32 in a scintillating contest that ended in dramatic fashion.

Monday, 2nd October 2017, 6:30 am
Updated Wednesday, 4th October 2017, 2:48 pm
Johnny Matthews scored a hat-trick of tries as Boroughmuir edged out Marr in a captivating clash at Meggetland. Pic: Neil Hanna

Matthews was captain for the day and he led from the front in a tense encounter that went Muir’s way when Marr kicker Colin Sturgeon was wide with a conversion attempt in the sixth minute of injury time.

“The hard work we put in during training, the attitude, that’s what got us through I think. It’s a big relief, a big weight off the shoulders to get a first win”, said Matthews, a Liverpool-born Scotland Under-18 cap, who qualifies thanks to a mother from Glasgow. He also represented the England Club XV.

“That’s massive for us. We are looking to build on that and try to take that forward next week when we have a big derby at Heriot’s, and then really kick on for the season.”

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Having fallen behind to an early converted try, Muir struck back with a penalty by Ciaran Whyte, who was also on target with the conversion after Matthews crossed for the first of his treble.

Marr squared matters but the Capital men finished the first half strongly, and further touchdowns from Ronan Kerr and Jordan Edmunds plus another conversion by Whyte handed the hosts a 22-10 interval lead.

Despite a second try from Matthews, Muir were unable to shake off a determined Marr side and the visitors again drew level. The teams were locked at 27-27 with 77 minutes on the clock when Matthews raced over for a third time. Whyte again added the extras.

However, ‘Muir have already come close to winning this season only to see their hopes dashed. And that looked likely to happen again when Marr rumbled over deep into injury time. The failed kick at 
goal produced a collective sigh of relief in the home ranks and the win gave Muir all five league points, moving them away from the foot of the table.

Matthews, who is working as a rugby development officer in North Berwick, was delighted to finally taste success with his new colleagues. And the ebullient character is relishing being at the club.

“I love it here. The boys are great, the coaching staff put so much time and effort into what goes on off the field, we have great supporters and a good youth set up. It’s just a great club to be a part of,” he said.

The 24-year-old decided to seek a new rugby challenge and on the advice of friends ended up at Meggetland. While performing well for Muir is the overriding objective for now, Matthews, who previously played with Rotherham Titans, has not ruled out the possibility of being involved at a higher level of the game.

“I’m always trying to look up but at the moment I’ve got to concentrate on Boroughmuir and if I focus on that who knows what will happen in future,” he added.

The victory capped a good day for Muir, who also launched the club’s rugby academy aimed at building for the future.

Elsewhere, Currie Chieftains became the latest victims of a rampant Melrose side when they went down 41-10 at the Greenyards.

It was the fifth successive bonus point win for the Borderers, who have made a blistering start to the campaign.

The Chieftains were still in touch at half time, which they reached 10-3 adrift thanks to a Jamie Forbes penalty. However, they conceded 24 unanswered points before Harvey Elms bagged a try, converted by Forbes, which was little more than an irritation for a Melrose outfit that now sits eight points clear at the top of the table.