Ross Sutherland V Montrose Caley Plate Semi Final
Montrose End Dreams of Final By Narrowest of Margins!
Huntly u18 players joined their counterparts from across the Highlands for their Cally plate semi final on Saturday at Invergordon v Montrose. A classic tight semi final ensued with both teams having chances to secure their place at the finals at St Andrews in a month and it was Montrose that prevailed in a see-saw battle that went right down to the final kick.
The early exchanges saw both sides trying to find out their oppositions weak spot. Ross were keeping the ball tight in the forwards and making good use of the wind behind their backs while Montrose tried to unleash their talented backline but were met with stout defence at each attempt.
After 17 minutes Ross Sutherland took the lead after a tap penalty on half way saw their prop make ground before the second phase ball was taken further up field by Rory Hands. Quick ball was moved down the backline to wing Mark Coursar who went over in the corner to open the score. Fraser Mohun landed the conversion from the 5 m line to make it 7-0. On 20 minutes Ross were back in their opponents 22 and form a scrum moved the ball to their centre who scored in the opposite corner. Fraser Mohun again landed a testing conversion for a 14-0 lead.
From the restart a great catch by Morgan Page led to a ruck on half way. Quick ball again went down the backline to Mark Coursar who rounded the defence to score a converted try giving the home side a 21-0 lead after 25 minutes.
Montrose were facing a mountain but they pulled themselves together and changed their tactics by going to their pack for a pick and drive which took them deep into the home teams 22. They were held up over the try line and form the resultant scrum switched play to the blind side and got on the scoreboard just before half time with an unconverted try.
The second half saw Montrose playing with a stiffening breeze behind them and they pulled closer after 45 minutes when their influential fly half picked up a clearance kick and ran the ball back through the defence to score a converted try to make it 21-12. On 60 minutes Montrose again went to their pick and drive game and took the ball from a line out up to the Ross line. Their flanker broke the defence to score and unconverted try.
Ross were not making things easy for themselves when a short restart was picked up by the Montrose 10 who used the advantage being played to waltz through the on looking defenders and score another unconverted try.
Ross now had to pull their game together and refocus after all the good work in the first half but Montrose extended their lead shortly after when a good grubber kick by their fly half got them deep into the home sides 22. From the lineout they won a couple of scrums before finally going over to extend the lead to 22-27.
The home team finally got their forwards back into the game and used the pick and drive tactic to force their way back into the contest with a converted try for a 28-27 lead.
Montrose were not going to lie down though and took play into the Ross 22 with 5 minutes left. Their fly half snaffled a loose pass that bounced off the goal post and scored a converted try for a 28-34 point lead with just 3 minutes on the clock.
Ross also were determined to play to the death and forced their way into the visitors 22 from the restart with some good ball retention by their pack. Winger Mark Coursar crossed the line but the try was chalked off for a knock on, but with an advantage for offside Ross again forced their way over the line with a fine break by centre Angus Mohun. Fraser Mohun had the unenviable task of kicking a conversion to win the match and the home team’s hearts were broken as the ball drifted just wide in the breeze and the final whistle blew for a 33-34 win to the visitors.
This was a sterling effort by the whole squad on the day and the boys only just came up short against a talented Montrose team. 6 clubs from across the North were represented in Ross colours on the day and given that training together is virtually impossible the team spirit and effort that was shown was impressive.