Festival of Rugby, 25th March, Cumnock – Highlights
A beautiful spring day welcomed all to a fantastic festival of rugby kindly hosted by Cumnock RFC which came as the perfect prelude to the boys’ forthcoming trip to France. The whole team can take a massive amount of pride and great experience from this event in which they faced talented opposition from Dumfries, Helensburgh and Marr from their pool. Each match was 20 minutes in duration.
Match 1 – Strathaven 9 V’s Dumfries 10
Both teams started strongly in this first game although Dumfries, through their pacey wingers, took the early advantage scoring twice in quick succession early on in the game. However, as the Strathaven backs began to assert their authority with some strong tackling and incisive running, Strathaven found their form and a clean break by Gregor through their lines and on to touchdown saw Strathaven come back into this game. The backs and forwards pulled together well to keep possession which saw a strong break from Taylor Henderson finished off with a superb side-stepping run and try from Kyle Dixon. An outstanding game by Robbie Young saw him chase, tackle and score in a superb individual performance throughout. This was recognised in his being rewarded with the Man of the Match nomination by the Dumfries coach.
Strathaven were only piped at the post by the narrowest of margins, a single conversion.
Match 2 – Strathaven 7 V’s Helensburgh 3
The second match was a well balanced game with both teams matching each other in ability and technique. Strathaven backs, tackling well, saw a break by the terrier-like play from Sam Connery passed neatly down the line to Kyle Dixon to convert an excellent try in the corner. Strong tackling again from Strathaven was needed to hold the advancing Helensburgh backs right from the re-start which caught Strathaven napping. Lost possession in the forward play saw the ball quickly pass out to the speedy Helensburgh wing and touched down. However, another determined run following some strong Strathaven rucking saw a superb back move finished again by Kyle; a Man of the Match performance from the outstanding Mr Dixon! The kick was successfully converted by Gregor Lamb who was unlucky in an earlier attempt that hit the bar.
Match 3 – Strathaven 4 V’s Marr 16
The third and final game saw Strathaven struggle to find their form and usual fluid movement in what was their most challenging match. A well organised and disciplined performance from Marr saw them dominate most of this game with Strathaven finding themselves caught out in failing to react quickly enough to Marr’s breaks. A great individual display by Sam Connery with fierce tackling and great pick up and run in for a score saw him nominated for Man of the Match by the opposing Coach. The momentum remained with Marr for much of this game however with Strathaven having lost their shape. By this point Strathaven looked tired and slowing in the unusually warm conditions and Marr ran in several relatively easy tries. However, the boys will learn from this as they prepare for the forthcoming Six-Fournaise tournament in April.
Overall, an excellent team effort from our boys today against strong opposition that made this a hugely enjoyable day for players, coaches and supporters. The objective for today was to ensure all teams observed fair play and professionalism in their games and the Strathaven boys demonstrated this throughout. The hard work in training continues to show in improving technique, particularly in improved rucking and game awareness with some stand-out performances from Sam Connery, Kyle Dixon and Robbie Young . Well done all the boys!!