1st Rugby Festival
Wednesday 6th September 2017
After just a single training session the U13s were thrown into the fray at the Merchiston Festival. We started the day with a tough game against a good Loretto outfit. The team in red had just played their opening fixture, a 12 minute 13 a side game against Merchiston D2s, and were well warmed up.
However, it was St. Mary’s that were on fire as they forced the Nippers back in ruck and maul and effected turnover after turnover (by legal means and otherwise).
A strong starting pack of Dicken and Jake either side of Oliver E with Mac and Ollie C in the boiler room and Jamie at Number 8 won good ball for William T at scrumhalf, Tommy at 10 and Will S and Matt in the centres. Thomas, Caelan and Alex F formed a rapid back three.
We were also fortunate to have a powerful bench of Archie Mac and Archie Mo, Callum, Antony, Fergus and Hamish. William Mac was also on hand to provide some much needed moral support.
As St. Mary’s turned the screw the pressure built on the Loretto defence. William T sniped and darted before Matt offloaded perfectly out of the tackle to set Jamie free for the opening try. Alex F followed this soon after as he hit a lovely flat pass from Tommy with an audible smack.
As the game wore on we lost our shape a little and, with more robust policing of the breakdown, conceded far too many penalties. Two quick taps led to two carbon-copy tries and the match was drawn.
St. Mary’s 2 – 2 Loretto
With Loretto winning by a 3 try margin against Merchiston D2 we knew that we had to better that spread to top our pool and get into the final.
The second game was a much improved team performance with a more disciplined approach at ruck time. This led to better defensive shape and fewer penalties. With a reshaped backline of Caelan at 9, William T at 10, Thomas in the centre with Will S, and Jamie, Archie Mo and Alex in the back three we looked very dangerous. Possession turned to points and the tries came for Jamie, Tommy and a belter each for Thomas and Archie Mo.
St. Mary’s 4 – 0 Merchiston D2
This strong result put St. Mary’s into a final match against Merchiston D1s. The home team had come through a tough pool including Ardvreck and Mr Mill’s Fettes and contained some sizeable individuals.
Like all Merchiston sides they had pace and hands to go with the power and were soon pulling the green and gold defence across the field.
An outstanding pass and take put the Merchie winger through a hole out wide and St. Mary’s were under the cosh.
This group of boys do not lie down and they came roaring back into the game with powerful forward play setting a solid platform for the backs to play off.
Tommy dinked a cultured chip over the top of the rush defence and Will set off in pursuit.
The bounce was kind and Will turned on the afterburners to streak though for the leveller.
St. Mary’s 1 – 1 Merchiston D1
With St. Mary’s pushing hard there was not enough time for a winner. A draw was a fair result but one that satisfied neither side – future encounters between these two teams are likely to be spicy affairs!
Overall, this was a superb squad effort with all 21 boys playing their parts well. There is plenty to work on in training but Mr Whitelaw and I are delighted by such an encouraging start to a long season.
Well done to all involved.
Mr T Rawson and Mr A Whitelaw
Jules Birdsall, 08/09/2017