U15s Win in Tight Encounter
The U15s start their Conference season with victory in a ten try thriller
The U15s opened their Conference season with an exciting 36-33 victory at Gordonstoun on Sunday.
In a game that went one way then the other, it was a penalty kick from Innes that made all the difference on the scoreboard at the end.
After a relatively quiet start to proceedings, the game sparked in to life with a Gordonstoun try after ten minutes. This seemed to give the boys the required kick up the backside, and they responded brilliantly - firstly with a great solo try from Aedan who dummied a pass to the Alex on the wing, and then cut inside the two defenders to win the race to the line. Innes converted successfully. A second score followed shortly after; it appeared we had butchered a chance from a short tap penalty as the ball was shuffled wide through some shaky hands, however Ross J took control of the situation, stepped cleverly inside two covering defenders and dived over to give Shire the lead. Again Innes converted and we were 14-7 to the good.
The boys were doing well at the breakdown with some aggressive counter-rucking giving the opposition really untidy ball to play with. We were also on top in the scrum and line-out. So it was disappointing to concede two tries before half-time, mainly due to some missed tackles, particularly around the ruck, where Gordonstoun were starting to have some success with their ‘pick and go’ game. Just before the break both our half-backs retired injured (albeit temporarily); Aedan with a shoulder injury and Innes with bleeding nose. Half-Time: Gordonstoun 19-14 Perthshire
The second half started well with Jonathan going over in the corner following a nice offload from Junior, the conversion came agonizingly off the bar, and the scores were level at 19-19.
Perth picked up the pace again from the kick off; Ross P was putting in a power of work at No 8 with some strong carries - always getting over the gainline, and Aedan was back on again and looking really sharp at scrum-half. Innes was also able to return to the game and continued to control the game well from stand-off - and it was from his clever cross field kick into space that Jonathan was able to outpace the cover and touch down. With the conversion sailing over, Perth were leading 26-19.
The boys continued to make good in-roads into the Gordonstoun half, but frustratingly we lost the ball in contact too often and found ourselves on the back foot again. There was some good covering tackles from Alex and Angus, but eventually the home side levelled the scores again through using their big runners to pick and go around the edge of the ruck. We had numbers there, but our body position often wasn’t right and we were too passive in the tackle (guess what we are doing at training on Wednesday night!)
With the game poised at 26-26, Perth pushed up the field again; Ross J, Keir and Alex all using their feet well to get beyond the first man. Our ‘bullet’ clear-out work was also much better, and with Junior attracting two or three defenders on each carry it was creating space for others.
When Perth were awarded a penalty just outside the 22, Ruaraidh and Innes made a sensible decision to go for the 3 points, and Innes put it between the sticks for a 29-26 lead. The boys then followed this up with a well taken try as the ball was fed through the hands, and Ross J put Jonathan in for his hat-trick. With Innes nailing another conversion, we were leading 36-26.
There were only seven minutes to play, but for the coaches and parents it felt like 70! The boys were really starting to tire, and despite their best efforts the constant tackling of the big runners was having an effect. Alex went off after sustaining a head wound, and we had a number of boys playing out of position. With just over two minutes remaining, the home side scored under the posts, and they were within three points of us.
Shire wisely took their time with the kick off, chased the kick aggressively and then turned over Gordonstoun in their own half, Aedan picked up the ball from the base of the ruck and kicked it in to touch to signal the end of the game and a hard-fought and nail-biting 36-11 victory.
The boys should be proud of their performance; it was full of effort and commitment, and above all their game management and determination to win the game was outstanding. We will need to work on handling under pressure, looking after the ball in contact and ruck defence as we prepare for the newly formed Granite City to visit us next Sunday. Given this is an amalgamation of clubs, they will present really strong opposition - so well done all, but it’s back to some hard work on Wednesday evening again!
Final Score: Gordonstoun 33- 36 Perthshire
Team: Saul Bayne, Euan Glen, Josh Wilkie, Junior Soqeta, Barnaby Brown, Daniel Maclaughlin, Ruaraidh Harris©, Ross Phillips, Aedan Milne, Innes Chalmers, Ross Jackson, Keir Barbary, Jonathan Dodd, Alex Smith, Angus Denison-Pender, Tom Whamond, Adam Greaves, Scott Kettles
Man of the Match:
1. Jonathan Dodd – three tries and a constant threat on the right wing
2. Innes Chalmers – great game management and 5 out of 6 successful kicks
3. Ruaraidh Harris – loud encouraging and challenging leadership