1st XV v Earlston High School
Wednesday 13th September 2017
St. Mary’s 1st XV put in a fantastic performance to beat Earlston High School by 48 – 24 out on Front Field.
We fielded a strong team with Dicken and Jake either side of Oliver E ahead of Thomas and Mac in the second row and Matt B at Number 8. Caelan started at 9 with William T at 10, Will S and Jamie in the centres and Alex and Archie Mo on the wings. Tommy slotted in at full back. Archie Mac and Antony dG warmed the bench but were soon pitched into the fray.
Mr Whitelaw started the match with a shrill pheet of his whistle and the green machine flew into action. Their Coach had asked for a strong start and they took the game to the opposition right from the very off. The ball was crashed up and the ruck set before quick hands spun it through William T to Alex F and back inside to Will S. The big Form 8 speedster handed off the despairing clutches of the last tackler and zoomed through to score. Tommy slotted the conversion.
St. Mary’s gathered the restart and pushed hard up the right flank. Caelan was working his forwards with short balls from the base of the ruck and the big boys were making yards. They showed a considerable amount of guile to go with the grunt as the ball was worked left through Jake, Thomas, William T and Alex F to set up a ruck on the far left. The ball was rucked back and Dicken thundered on to a short ball. The big lad was held up just short but forced his hands out of the tackle to pop a lovely basketball pass back inside to Jamie who crashed over. The conversion was missed but St. Mary’s were very much in control.
Matt had been scrapping hard since the start of the match and I was delighted to see his efforts rewarded by a super score as he burst through the middle of a ruck for a great try. Tommy converted before some excellent turnover work by Thomas, Archie Mo and Oliver E put quick ball through Caelan, William T and Jake and into the hands of Will S. There can be few better broken field runners in Scottish prep school rugby than this lad and the opposing defence barely laid a hand on him as he ghosted through. Will S was removed at this point. His match was over but he had made a great impression.
Caelan scored a great try wide and right as he sniped around, Jamie scored before Oliver barged over for a great score. Tommy slotted the extras for both tries but it was Earlston who closed out the half with a great try. A couple of week tackles out wide allowed a very fast boy to zoom through for a great score.
Half-Time Score: St. Mary’s, Melrose 45 – 5 Earlston High School
Reinforcements were sent for at half-time and Hamish R, Fergus H and George B joined the team on the touchline.
The second half was a very different affair as a reshaped backline of William T, Tommy, Archie Mac, Alex F, Fergus, Caelan and George played behind a reworked pack comprising Dicken, Oliver E and Jake with Mac and Hamish R in the second row and Archie Mo at Number 8. The new line-up worked very well and despite the sinbinnings of Matt and Thomas for team infringements they stood up well against an Earlston side that refused to bend the knee.
In fact, it was Earlston that opened the scoring in the second half with a fine effort down the right to reduce the deficit before they scored again after a fine individual effort by Tommy.
Having worked so hard throughout a tough afternoon it was fitting that Earlston should round out the match with the final score.
Final Score: St. Mary’s, Melrose 50 – 26 Earlston High School
Coach’s Notes: The most pleasing thing from a coaching point of view was the intensity of the effort from every boy in the first 5 minutes. This did not allow the visitors to gain a foothold in the game. Coupling this to some really slick hands from backs and forwards alike meant that the ball was always just out of reach for would-be tacklers. In future fixtures we must make sure that the ball is the only thing moving laterally. Make sure that you straighten up in attack to draw defenders and not cramp your teammates on the outside.
Man of the match: There were a number of contenders this week but Thomas stood out for his relentless determination in defence both as a tackler and as a turnover scavenger.
Mr T Rawson
Photographs by Mrs Harvey
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Mrs M Harvey/Mrs Birdsall, 14/09/2017