1st XV Rugby v Aberlour House
Friday 3rd March 2017
On Friday afternoon the St. Mary’s 1st XV welcomed Gordonstoun’s Aberlour House to Melrose. Aberlour undertake an annual tour to play some of the southern teams and we were delighted to welcome them for what is always a hard-fought encounter.
Friday’s match proved to be no exception as the home side took on a team containing some really exciting and skilful players. One boy was very familiar to the Dandylion and Scottish Prep Schools players. The Aberlour 12 must surely be one of the most exciting runners in Scottish prep school rugby.
We fielded a side not short of devastating runners and destructive tacklers. Harris captained the side from 12 and marshalled a talented and rapid backline of William T, Tommy DB, Lachlan, Will S, Alex F and Matt B. The pack lined up with William Mac and Joseph W either side of Thomas M. Wilfie and Liam locked out the scrum and Hamish M started at 8 with Jamie and Ollie on the flanks.
With Front Field still out of action we played on an ersatz pitch marked out by Mr Bell on Bottom Field. The match kicked off and St. Mary’s were soon on the front foot. Aberlour did not have an answer to the midfield power of Captain Harris and Lachlan.
The pack also was working hard to win the ball for William T to spin out to Tommy and on to Will, Matt and Alex. With the backline making ground the pack was always on the front foot; winning quick ball in the rucks and building the platform to launch attacks from.
Lachlan was the first to score with a super clean break through the middle. The big Form 8 busted a number of tackles on his way to the tryline. He added incredible 3 more tries before half time before being subbed off. Tommy ripped and twisted over from close range to add a fifth. The St. Mary’s boys were completely in control of the contest but Aberlour kept coming at them. A try for their classy centre was just reward for their efforts.
Half-time score: St.Mary’s 1st XV 29 – 7 Aberlour House 1st XV
Will scored a super long range effort just after half time and the boys added two more scores. However, Aberlour were working the ball with more regularity to their powerful centre and it seemed that, every time he touched the ball in space he screamed through for a score!
Joseph was superb during this period and regularly put himself in the path of the Aberlour juggernaut. He should be very proud of the hits that he put in to stop the big boy before he built a head of steam.
Similarly, Wilfie also tackled bravely alongside Thomas and Hamish. Liam, Jamie and Ollie turned over the ball regularly and William Mac was often lurking in the wide channels. The latter was rewarded for a barnstorming performance with a super team try wide and left.
However, perhaps our most effective defender was William T. The youngster tackled superbly and regularly ripped the ball from the bigger Aberlour boys. He is a fine player and will be utterly dominant next year.
With Harris and Lachlan subbed off the field it was an excellent opportunity to field a Form 7 backline. Will and Jamie filled the centre slots and looked very comfortable running the show from midfield with Tommy at 10 and Alex, Matt and Antony filling the backfield slots.
Overall, Friday’s match was a fine performance and sets the team up nicely for a spicy encounter against local rival Earlston High School.
Final score: St.Mary’s 1st XV 46 – 27 Aberlour House 1st XV
Men of the match: Lachlan and William T; Lachlan was unstoppable with ball in hand and tackled like a steam hammer. He was a rock in the midfield. William T passed superbly off both hands and controlled the tempo of the game beautifully from the base of the ruck. He tackled well and turned over the ball at will
Honorary mention: Joseph; Tackled superbly and did the gritty work in the darker recesses of ruck and maul.
Mr T Rawson
Jules Birdsall, 08/03/2017