Shetland vs Deeside 1stXV
Deeside fall short after a gritty performance against a resilient Shetland
A frantic push for numbers in the final hours allowed Deeside 1st XV to make the voyage up to Lerwick on Friday evening with a squad of 15….Plus two coaching staff with boots can’t go without mention! The weather in Lerwick was rather pleasant on Saturday morning, however conditions were not so favourable on the field for either side with a strong prevailing wind creating waves upon the standing water across the flooded pitch.
Deeside started well out the gates with Shetland struggling to commit to tackles allowing some hard yards to be made by captain Iain Hay-Higgins down the middle. As Shetland began to settle, the big Islanders started to gain momentum with big carries off the back of rucks testing the Deeside defence. Deeside held up well to the Shetland attack with some fantastic hits put in by winger Cameron Randalls, who had stepped up as flanker for the day. Tight head Andy MacDonald also helped remind the team what intensity looked like after marching a Shetland player back the yards he gained in a big fronted up tackle.
Shetland found it difficult to get the hands going in the backs and a few opportunities were lost with the team only coming away with 3 points as Deeside’s discipline started to slip. For a short time, the heads remained up as Deeside carried out a strong back three counter attack with winger Matthew Horne taking control of a difficult kick deep into Deeside’s half. The offload was safely made to Fullback, Martin Kennedy who made his way down the park, and shipped out wide to winger, Benjamin Rees, who showed his blistering pace down the wing, beating several Shetland players to score under the posts for his first try at Deeside (No photo of the 'incredible' dive unfortunately!)
Shetland managed to get back up the park to put more points on the board. After initially being held over the line, the switched on Shetland no 9 took a quick tap and go to eventually see his team over the line, beating the tiring Deeside defence. The game was close at the end of the first half with Shetland leading by only a few points.
Poor discipline got the better of the team and a yellow card resulted in only 14 men at the start of the second half. Shetland became more organised and continued to put the pressure on with big carries from both the forwards and the backs seeing them over the line a few more times towards the end of the half. Deeside couldn't keep up - subs were depleted and injuries started to have a big impact on the defence.
Final Score 31-7 to Shetland.
Once again, Deeside struggled to get the numbers away and tired bodies fell at the final hurdle of the game. Credit to all players that made the trip, with a big thanks to Tom who joined Deeside for the trip after 9 years away from Rugby and to Don Ballantyne for getting on to the pitch supporting the tired team in the final minutes.
Man of the match goes to Flanker Cameron Randalls, his ability to step up to a new position and have such a considerable impact was commendable. New position perhaps…..?
Deeside enjoyed their trip up to Shetland and are once again thankful for the sportsmanship displayed by Shetland both on and off the pitch. We look forward to having the team back over in February.
Photo credit: Brian Gray Photography