Sport 

1st XV v Ardvreck School 

On a dreich Wednesday afternoon the St. Mary’s 1st XV took on Ardvreck out on the Bottom Field. With the 2nd XV match cancelled, and following discussion with the Ardvreck coaches we decided to combine squads and play three fifteen minute periods to ensure that everybody got some game time.

Despite this amicable agreement the game turned out to be a hotly contested affair with Ardvreck coming roaring out of the blocks to score two quick tries in the opening minutes. Lack of aggression in the tackle and over-reliance on others to stop the visitors’ biggest player were to blame.

With the rain falling steadily, just soft enough to mean that an umbrella was unnecessary but just enough to soak the loyal spectators to the skin, St. Mary’s came steadily back into the match. Matt B, Jamie F and Thomas were instrumental in breaking up attacks in particular in ruck and maul and turned over the ball time and again on the ground.

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As St. Mary’s started to see more of the ball we began to make ground with good breaks by Tommy, William, Will S, Archie Mac and Alex well supported by Dicken, Ollie C, Antony and Mack. Caelan and Archie Mo made their tackles out wide and we started to look a lot more comfortable as the opening period came to a close. In fact, it was just before the end of the period when Will broke through to open the St. Mary’s account.

Ardvreck scored soon after the resumption of the second period but, from then on, it was all St. Mary’s. Jake and Callum joined the fray and the pressure built on the visitors. Tommy scored to put St. Mary’s within a score before Will levelled.

The final period was a very level affair with Ardvreck under sustained pressure right up until the last couple of minutes. Every time they tried to kick out Alex F was right under the ball to catch and run through the oppo line at pace. He was phenomenal. With only a minute or so to go a catch and drive saw Dicken just held up before the indomitable Jamie sniped from the ruck to dot down the winner.

There was just enough time for Ardvreck to force the ball back downfield before Matt, Thomas, Mack and Caelan forced a turnover and, after a massive airshot, Will S hacked the ball into touch to bring the game to a close.
 

Final Score: Honourable Draw

 
Coach’s Notes: I am reluctant to call this a win for St. Mary’s as Ardvreck travelled with, and played for extended periods, a far larger bench than the home side. This significantly changed their shape and effectiveness in attack and defence. What was clear was that when Ardvreck was playing at full strength both teams were finely matched. It is a real credit to our subs that the home side remained at full strength regardless of who was on the field. 


Tom Rawson, 24/11/2017