1st XV v Fettes  

On Wednesday afternoon the St. Mary's 1st XV took on Fettes in Edinburgh. Playing in the shadow of the school's great spire we fielded a decent team of Hamish R, Ollie C and Jake in the front row ahead of Mack and Dicken in the second row and William Mac at Number 8. The backline was also affected by injury or otherwise.

This gave Caelan a good start at scrum half with Captain William T outside. Thomas and Will S filled the centres with Archies Mac and Mo on the wings.
Stoic Alex F started at full back. Callum started on the bench but was soon introduced.

The match kicked off and both teams went at each other on a very big pitch. A cold wind was howling off the Forth and passes were dropped by both teams as the ball was spilled or whipped away on the stiff wind. We made good progress through our backline with strong running in the centre and out wide forcing the ball upfield. Captain William T was superb and, at times, he was playing both scrum half and fly half as he scooped up the ball from rucks or ripped it free from the maul.

Thomas and Will worked really well in the centres and the back three combo of Archies and Alex smashed into tackles with wild abandon. Up front, we were not quite at the races despite Ollie C being consistently outstanding both in defence and attack. He had his best game in a St. Mary's shirt and boy did we need him!


After 10 minutes of relentless Fettes pressure they broke through wide and left for their opening score. A second soon followed. Under these circumstances, it is always interesting to see which characters stand up and who rolls over meekly. Wednesday was no exception and I was delighted to see the way that boys responded.

Alex F was brave to the point of recklessness. Weak tackling up front frequently left him one-on-one with the big Fettes runners. He did not shirk or shy away and throw himself at them like a wolverine. He can be incredibly proud of his performance and outstanding character.

Captain William T, typically, also refused to bend the knee as he, aided by Caelan, the Archies, Thomas and latterly Callum, put up a superb rearguard action to halt wave after wave of Fettes attacks. Up front Ollie C fought to the bitter end backed up by William Mac and Mack R with the support of Hamish, Dicken and Jake.

Thomas played with a wild intensity as he showed what he is all about; hard running, brutal tackling and an engine that will not quit. Long after the game was lost he was still running, still calling for the ball, still working hard in defence, still trying. He will be some player next season.

Coach's Notes: Sometimes you will come up against opponents that are better. This is a good thing. It allows you to raise your game as an individual and to try things that you might not otherwise attempt in a tight match.

There is no shame in losing against a better side. If you always try your level best and keep trying from first to last the result will look after itself. Whatever the score, you can walk away with your head held high.

Tom Rawson, 08/12/2017

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