RBS Caledonia League Division 1
Millbank, Thurso – Saturday, 26 October 2013
Caithness 52, Orkney 26
Last Saturday, Orkney’s 1st XV made the short trip across the firth to take on their nearest rivals Caithness. Buoyed by back to back victories and a strong week of training the team were confident of taking the points in this local derby.
The game couldn’t have started any better with Orkney having complete ascendancy in the opening exchanges. The 1st try followed very shortly, with some superb broken field running being followed up by composed play by the Orkney pack enabling scrum half Gregor Porteous to claim the score in the bottom corner.
The start got even better a few minutes later when the whole Orkney back line combined well to release Marcus Guthrie who beat away a few would be tacklers to score a superb try. At this point is was looking like the Orkney side were going to run away with the game. Caithness chipped back with a try of their own to get themselves on the board before Former Scotland Junior international Kris Hamilton who plays scrum half for Caithness threw a wild pass, which Graham Poke gratefully intercepted to run under the posts to claim the score for the Away side. A special moment for the centre who was been a key performer this year against his former side. Linklater added his second conversion to extend the lead to 19-5.
This was to be as good as it got for a long time as Caithness started to take control of their game. Their experienced forward pack combined superb offloading and powerful mauling to consistently gain territory and points. Their kicker had a good day, punishing the Orkney side’s ill-discipline.
There was a growing frustration amongst the Orkney team as they were consistently penalised at the breakdown, without the ability to compete and slow down the Caithness attack, it became increasingly difficult for them to be contained. Caithness continued to pile on the points, with verteran second row Andy Morris scoring two tries. Special mention must go to Andy who was playing his 300th game for Caithness, an incredible achievement for someone playing rugby in the Northern Outposts.
The frustrations continued in the second half when replacement Craig Slater was sin binned for not rolling away at the tackle, this alone didn’t deserve a sin bin but was the result of consistent team offences.
Although Orkney had some moments of success Caithness continued to dominate proceedings, with about ten minutes to go Orkney winger Tom Croy, who had a strong game with ball in hand received a red card for an alleged spear tackle. The Caithness retaliation was ignored and Orkney were down to 14 men for the final exchanges.
Credit must go to the Orkney boys who never gave up throughout and gained a fourth try late on, scored by Captain Alan Brown. This proved to be vital as it gave Orkney the try bonus point, a point that could prove critical in a very tight league. The final score was Caithness 52- 26 Orkney.
The team would like to thank Northlink ferries for their continued support and also to spectators who made the trip across the firth to add their support. This Saturday, Orkney entertain Gordonians at the Pickaquoy centre, with kick off scheduled for 12.30.
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