Madras ease their relegation worry

Mark Methven
Mark Methven
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Madras made huge strides toward securing their current league status with an emphatic victory over Panmure.

Bolstered by players returning from injury and the presence of club members ordinarily absent at universities, the home side’s potent combination of pace, power and skill proved too much for the visitors.

The indications that the fortunes of the club were shifting were apparent the previous week when, for the first time this season, coaches were able to take full squad training owing to the high turnout.

This positive aspect was imparted to the match day attendance and with a full substitutes bench optimism grew.

Madras began the match on the front foot, dominating both the set-piece and the breakdown, resolute forward play presenting man of the match scrum-half John Methven with quick clean ball.

With a backline enjoying supremacy over their opposite numbers, the visitors’ defence was stretched and John Methven opened the scoring with a penetrating burst around the fringes of a ruck.

This was to set the tone of the match.

With so many attacking threats Panmure were defending for long periods, always demoralising, and six further tries followed scored by Euan Roger, John Methven, Mark Methven and Lewis Rae.

The scoreline of 46-3 accurately reflected the bias of possession and territory in favour of Madras, but was perhaps misleading as to the contribution of a competitive Panmure.

The difference between the sides was in the brilliance of several individual performances and the overall effectiveness of forward/back coalescence, and the sizeable home support vociferously expressed their appreciation.

The boost to club morale cannot be overstated, with the importance of the victory exceeded only by the manner in which it was achieved.

If the player commitment remains the same, 2014 will mark a significant chapter in the transition of Madras.