The team, who were to become known as the Barbarians were Captained by Martin Harper, boarded the ferry somewhat lighter in man power than expected (was it the weather was poor or the legendary reputation of isle men??)
After a quick breakfast of bacon rolls and coffee gratefully received from the Pierowall Hotel the group headed over to the School to don their combat gear, tape their limbs on and ready themselves for battle.
The pitch was in excellent condition and was marked expertly with only the finishing touches needing to be made to the football goal posts by taping some two by fours as extensions to form the conversion poles.
The Barbarians kicked to Westray under the authority of Ali "the bale" Linklater as referee. The kick went deep into the West half but despite the Baba’s efforts Edgar Thomson was able to make a kick to exit.
Westray Captain Adam Baird put in a blinding tackle and the resulting ball was knocked on for a Westray scrum. The game was a furious back and forth but Westray were given advantage for an offence at the ruck and the ball was shipped wide for Edgar Thompson to score the first try which went unconverted.
The Barbarians were camped out in Westray's 22 for some time and Westrays defence seemed impenetrable until Andrew Mulraine was able dodge through to score a try and confidently convert.
After a rousing pep talk from Captain Baird and Expedition leader Erlend Drever Westray replied with a try from Luke Rendall. Unfortunately the kicker slipped while attempting the conversion and the ball fell short.
Westray continued to turn the screw but a kick from The Barbarians went over the try line only to be touched down safely by a quick thinking Westray player.
What followed remains a mystery but Erlend Drever burnt down the 5 meter channel looking like he had a free run to the score zone only to be denied by The Bale's whistle. The Babas fought back from a scrum and Mike a visiting medical student bullied himself over the whitewash. Heal was unable to convert.
Both sides were keeping referee Linklater busy. Westray however were continuing to dominate and Colin Risbriger was able to chase a kick through and score for another 5 points converted to 7 before halftime.
HT Score 17-12
The second half continued with the same fire and passion from both teams and Adam Baird was first to bludgeon his way through the Baba’s defence and score in the corner for Westray.
Sadly Westray Prop Simon Owen who had been instrumental in several ground making carries sustained an injury to his ankle and had to leave the melee to receive treatment.
The Barbarians pushed on and Ryan Mooney looked likely to score sidestepping through the Westray line only to be denied short of the line. Quickly after Andrew Mulraine near took his second try but it was Mike med student who was successful despite Westray calling a double movement seemingly unseen by the ref bring the score 22 each.
The scrums and lineouts were furiously contested and Westray were going from strength to strength looking dangerous in a rolling maul but the ball was slippery and knocked on.
Later after some over exuberance at the ruck from Westray The Barbarians were awarded a penalty however they couldn't capitalise and Adam Baird was in possession of the ball before he powered forward to pop the ball across to Daniel Hourston for another 5 to Westray.
The game was reaching it's final minutes but spectators were still being treated to entertaining end to end rugby.
Owen Rendall who had been handy all game performed a dazzling kick and chase to touch down bringing the score to 32-22.
The Barbarians did not let their heads go down and looked dangerous with Liam medical student scoring in the final minutes but the clock was not on their side and Westray's defence was just too solid. The final whistle was blown after the Baba's final score attempt disallowed keeping the score at 32-26.
MoM went to Andrew Mulraine for The Barbarians and Edgar Thomson for Westray
Huge thanks must go to everyone who helped make this happen, not least Erlend Drever and the community of Westray for their hospitality.
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