This Saturday past the U11 boys travelled down to Cargilfield for their annual 7s tournament, a very well organised and prestigious event.
There were two pools of four team each, Pool A – our pool- which consisted of Ardvrek, Loretto and Cargilfield A. Pool B involved Belhaven, Cargilfield B, Fettes and Merchiston.
Our first pool match was against Ardvrek, a side which has developed really well over the season, and have some very effective runners and are becoming ever more physical. The first half was steady and we played some healthy rugby, we could have offered more at breakdown, however, our strong runners made up for this scoring two good try’s in the first half. The second half was a tighter affair, and Ardvrek came back, all guns blazing and scored a really well earnt try to one of ours.
Final Score: St Mary’s 3 – Ardvrek 1
Our second pool game was the one that we really had to win, against Cargilfield, a very capable team across the board and who offer a significant challenge. We played some outstanding rugby, possibly some of the best I have seen so far in my career. Our team and individual game was excellent. All the boys were working had, tackling, well and running some great lines with super support. Geordie was a tackling beast, putting in strong textbook tackles throughout. Further to this, John I made a spectacular try saving tackle down the wing, tracking back a good 20 meters to do so! Tristan made a big impact coming on and running with strength and aggression, driving the Cargilfield line back. Mitchell was passing with such accuracy, and due to this made great use of the ball. Ed and Stewart scored possibly one of the finest tries I have ever witnessed. Stewart used great footwork to break through the Cargilfield line, and despite being caught with about 15 meters to go, made a perfect pass to Ed, who was supporting well, and turned on the gas and touched down his try right in the Corner. John T, was an ever present threat on the wing, making great tackles and rucking well, a strong wing is everything in 7s! Josh went on to collect a few tries with some juicy footwork and pace, cutting in rapidly, utilising his own talent and skills developed over many years.
Cargilfield though, played some beautiful flowing rugby, moving the ball from width to width and tackling very competently
Final Score: St Mary’s 4 – Cargilfield 2
Our final pool game was against Loretto, who played some very good rugby indeed. Their attack in particular was dangerous due to their nippy runners. However we came out on top, George working really well getting his hands on ball and making great yards, sucking in opposition players and providing us with the width we needed. Ollie demonstrated his lightning pace and ran some superb lines, culminating in his try of the tournament, a lovely screamer in the bottom left corner. We defended fairly well, and kept the scoring in our favour. It must be noted Stewart snaffled up a hat trick, before retiring with an injury.
This meant we progressed through to the cup semi-final, against the 2nd place team from pool B which turned out to be Fettes.
Final Score: St Mary’s 6 – Loretto 3
In the semi, we played a very able Fettes side, both teams were very even, but an early Fettes try put us behind. This was the only score of the game, both teams defended incredibly well, with some very consistent tackling. All the boys were making tackles and putting themselves on the line for the team. Unfortunately due to the sloppiness of the pitch it was very tough for both teams to use the width effectively as slipping was a constant adverse effect of the mud. I nor the boys really expected to loose and I believe it was a significant learning curve for us all, as with 7s, anything can happen and each game must be approached in a cool and logical manner. Despite this, ball skills were of a high level, and in particular the second half, where we tightened up our performance and played much more clinical rugby.
Final Score: St Mary’s 0 – Fettes 1
Our final game for the 3rd/4th playoff was against Merchiston, our fifth game of the year against these boys. Merchiston played some incredible rugby, as did our boys, just Merchiston played it better and went on to defeat us. After many hours of playing and standing in the cold, the boys were shattered yet never let their heads drop, they conducted themselves with such dignity and composure, playing strong rugby, moving ball well and competing well at the breakdowns.
Both teams are very equal, with Merchiston having won two against us, and St Mary’s having won two against them, along with a draw in the middle, it seems equilibrium has been achieved once more. In both teams there is incredible talent, and I am sure at U13 level there will be even greater contests between the boys, who have developed a strong bond on comradeship over many years of playing each other.
Final Score: St Mary’s 0 – Merchiston 5
Points to take away from Saturday; Keep the ball moving wide and re-setting when the space is not available. Other than that, credit to every lad for their commitment and work rate. There are two very proud coaches. A big thanks to all the boys and parents for coming to support.
Mr J Brown