1st XV v Earlston High School
On Wednesday afternoon, the U13s enjoyed a cracking game against local rivals Earlston High School. Many of the boys play together at their clubs at the weekends so it was an excellent opportunity to measure themselves against their erstwhile teammates.
We started with a strong team of Ed and Jake either side of hooker George. Ted and Ollie E stoked the boilers in the second row and Archie Mo packed down at No. 8. Mitchell and John pulled the strings at half-back with Thomas and Mac in the centres. Caelan and Ollie L were on the wings and Callum started at full-back. Geordie and Archie J warmed the bench as impact substitutes.
The match kicked off and a midfield arm-wrestle soon developed. Our passing was slick but we just did not seem to be able to finish. We were a little reluctant to take contact with ball in hand and, as a result, the ball moved from one side of the pitch to another in an attractive passion without penetrating the Earlston defence.
Finally, Captain Thomas marshalled his troops and we started to attack from depth and put some pace onto the ball. This led to good field position in the middle of the park and Mac crashed over after a good dummy. John added the extras. Earlston responded straight away with a well worked try before Jake scored a super try as he powered on to Mac's pop pass. However, it was Earlston who rounded out the half with a very good individual try against the run of play.
With the score tied at half-time it was time for both coaches to make the tactical changes that would swing the game in our favour.
Half-time score: St. Mary's 1st XV 14 - 14 Earlston High School
Boy, did they respond! The forwards came out of the traps like men possessed. George, Ted, Geordie, Archies Mo and J, Ed and Jake were superb at the breakdown. They bossed the tackle area and we did not lose one of our rucks in the second period. We also turned over the ball with such regularity that we created try-scoring opportunities from all over the park.
Most pleasingly, we got the backline firing. They attacked from depth and committed defenders. This created the space to run in tries. Ollie E added two super efforts. George bullocked in from the 22. Jake smashed over from close range and Captain Thomas scored an absolute belter from the 10 metres line.
Overall, this was a superb team performance. We have turned our early season weakness, the breakdown, into our strength.
We look forward to welcoming Cargilfield next week!
Final score: St. Mary's 1st XV 43 - 14 Earlston High School
Man of the Match: Jake W - utterly dominant and his best game in a St. Mary's shirt. Special mention should also go to Archie Mac who was Earlston's best player.