U11A Rugby v Merchiston A
2nd November 2016
The u11’s travelled to Edinburgh on Wednesday for this 2nd meeting of the season between the sides, the first one having been drawn. Although we had some withdrawals from the team in the morning we filled the places with more than willing players from the B side. The sunshine again was out this week and conditions where good for running rugby.
St Marys started well and enjoyed territory and possession. However good defence from Merchiston prevented St.Marys from scoring. We then had penalty advantage 10 metres out from the home line in open play, but as we moved ball out wide it was intercepted and the grateful receiver ran full length of the pitch to score. An unfortunate start!
Merchiston then broke from the halfway and took play into our 22 but a great Caelan B covering tackle stopped the initial danger. However the home team recycled from the ruck and moved ball quickly right to outpace any potential cover. 0-2.
St Marys then had a good few minutes and played some attractive rugby. The ball was put through hands and though Merchiston put in tackles the support and offloading game of St. Marys was easy on the eye. Then we had some reward for our endeavours. From a scrum in their 22 Thomas E drove forward and was tackled, but we recycled and from the ruck 15 metres out Mac R drove hard and low and bounced off tackle attempts to score. 1-2
St Marys continued to push the home team with their running, handling and offloading game. But again Merchiston tackled well. St. Marys then had a scrum deep in the home 22, and from that moved the ball out to the right touchline. However, again an interception arose and with the pace the home team had no one was quite able to catch the ball carrier who scored in the corner. 1-3. At this moment we lost Stewart M who wasn’t feeling well, but not before he had notched up some tackles and had ran at the home defence and tested them with his quick feet. Ollie L out on the wing wasn’t seeing a lot of ball yet, but he was contributing with tackles as the home team tried to stretch our defence.
Again St Marys continued to push and use the ball. In defence when the home team had the ball the tackles were going in with Archie Mac, Thomas E, Caelan B, Geordie Mac and Mac R all contributing well. Then a minute from halftime a dropped St. Marys pass was pounced on by a home player. Quick hands out to the right stretched us and we couldn’t prevent the try scored in the corner. 1-4.
At this moment we showed our first moment of frustration at the score-line and the manner in which they were scored. However we used it positively. From the restart Archie Mac took the ball on the burst, made for a gap and ran through unopposed to score a fine try. 2-4. Perhaps thinking that would be halftime, we frustratingly lost concentration and Merchiston took full advantage to score for us a soft try in the corner to restore their 3 try lead at halftime.
The 2nd half started at the same pace as the first with both teams moving the ball about. Three minutes in and the home team added to their score-line. Quick hands out wide to their pace was finished well in the corner. 2-6. At this moment St. Marys lost Ollie L who also didn’t feel well. Merchiston then had a penalty and as they attempted to move the ball quickly it was dropped. Mac R scooped up on the run and drove for the line. Shrugging off a couple of tackles he scored to make it 3-6.
Back came Merchiston who turned over St. Marys ball and broke clear to score and make it 3-7. St. Marys though kept going forward ball in hand at the home defence and even as tackles went in we offloaded well to our support runners. Jake M, George B and Archie M then took play up to a metre from the home line, and from the ruck Caelan B seeing a gap darted under the tackle to score. 4-7
St. M defended well after the restart with Thomas E and Archie Mac putting in notable tackles. We then got possession back and continued to probe. However a loose pass was gobbled up by a home player who ran unopposed to the try line to score. 4-8. St. Marys didn’t give up and again Mac R drove with intent at Merchiston who had difficulty with him all match. This time from halfway he bumped off the home prop then the 2nd row and powered to the line. Held up over the line he dropped to ground and from the ruck Callum A went short side but was bundled into touch. Frustratingly from the tap pass re-start 5 metres out Merchiston shipped the ball wide and went the whole length of the field to score! 4-9
Then St Marys had a great finishing spell. Mac R drove deep into home territory and offloaded to the supporting Thomas E who took it on and in turn offloaded to Archie M who finished off to score a great combination try. 5-9. A minute later Mac R read a Merchiston pass and intercepted just inside his half. He outpaced the cover to score and make it 6-9.
Mac R drove again and broke the home defence line. He took off towards the home line then passed to the close supporting Archie Mac (who had his best game of the season with his running and defence), and he in turn gave it to Thomas E who strongly finished off another good combination try. 7-9 and time up.
Well done boys for a much improved 2nd half and coming back at Merchiston strongly to close the gap. The home team just had more pace than us, but our running, support and offloading play was pleasing. Overall it was a very enjoyable afternoon of rugby, and many thanks to Merchiston for looking after us so well.
Jules Birdsall, 07/11/2016