U11A v Belhaven A
16th November 2016
The u11’s welcomed their visitors Belhaven this week on a bitterly cold but dry late autumn afternoon. St. Marys won the toss and elected to take the pass off to start the match, with the visitors having the advantage of the down slope.
The first play from pass off was played at a frantic pace and lasted for well over a minute. Possession changed hands on a couple of occasions before some poor home handling allowed Belhaven to pick up and move ball left with the winger outpacing the covering St. Marys defence to open the scoring. 0-1
Both teams for the next few minutes went at each other hammer and tong, but both defences were up to the task as any initial line break was quickly snuffed out. The majority of play was taking part around the middle third of the pitch as both teams found it difficult to break out.
Gradually, with a little more possession than St. Marys, Belhaven started to get the upper hand as play took place more in the St. Marys half. However, when called upon, all St. Marys players contributed to defensive duties. Most notable at this period with tackling were Thomas E, Archie M, Geordie Mac, Stewart M and Finlay B, with Caelan B chipping in well with his sweeping cover tackles. As a result St Marys kept visits inside their 22 to a premium.
Ball in hand, St. Marys still had their moments as Jake M, George B, Mac R and Archie Mac drove or ran at the visitors defence but although tested it stood firm. Belhaven kept up the pressure on St. Marys without really threatening the goal-line, but eventually the squeeze on the home side told. From a ruck the visitors moved ball to the short side on the home left flank, and although it looked covered a missed tackle allowed the player to run in from 30 metres to score. 0-2
As half-time approached the game could have got away from us but good defensive work kept the score at two tries down when half-time sounded.
The first few minutes of the half saw a more even affair in both territory and possession. St. Marys to their credit kept up their dedication in defence, but now with more ball in hand we were looking more of a threat in attack with Thomas E, Archie Mac and Mac R most notable. This helped bring others into play as then Geordie Mac, Archie M and Stewart M started to make inroads. However the away defence again stood firm. Then, from just inside the away 22, after some good lead up play from Jake M and Finlay B, the ball got to Mac R who drove at the defence and broke through and scored to make the score now 1-2.
Buoyed by breaching the line St. Marys really started to put pressure on the away defence. Archie Mac broke the line twice in a minute with the second break taking him deep into the Belhaven 22. However a tap tackle prevented any further damage to the visitors. From the scrum Thomas E drove at the defence but was stopped, but from the ruck Geordie Mac fed Mac R who in turn drove for the line. With defenders on him he still made the line but Belhaven infringed to prevent the score. Penalty 5 metres out and Caelan B steadied matters well by taking his time. He then tapped and fed Geordie Mac, but with the Belhaven defence expecting him to in turn feed Mac R he then with great composure took it forwards himself to take out the initial defensive wave before he then fed Mac R on the charge who then drove through the 2nd wave to score the equalising try.
There was still time for Belhaven to take the match from the restart and they initially drove up the centre into the home half. From the ruck they moved ball wide out to the left and for a second they looked to have outflanked the home defence but Archie M was guarding his opposite number closely and he ushered hi m to touch to snuff out the danger. Final whistle to end the match.
Well done to both teams who attempted with large success to play open rugby despite cold hands. As a result they put on an attractive match for those watching.
Mr A Rutherford
Jules Birdsall, 18/11/2016