Mainland 22 - Westray/Isles 38
A strong Westray/Isles side ran out comfortable 38 – 22 winners against a youthful Mainland side on Saturday.
Referee Fraser MacNaughton got the Isles Shield Challenge first leg match got underway just after the scheduled 12 Kick off time, with a tricky breeze, bright and dry above greasy underneath and both sides fielding full fifteens and replacements a keenly contested match was anticipated.
Both sets of forwards looked to keep the ball tight, and the early exchanges saw some strong drives, and equally resilient defence around the ruck. The Westray/Isles squad retained possession slightly better and managed to build several phases eventually creating a gap behind the ruck for Ross Howe to pick up the ball and drive through to find himself unopposed with 20 metres to go, Lee Thomson converted.
Both sets of forward continued to probe and search for weaknesses, the Mainland scrum winning several scrums against the head despite being pushed back on several occasions. Line-outs were a bit disjointed in part due to the awkward breeze and in part due to lack of cohesiveness between thrower, lifter and catcher. Loose play was eagerly contested with several players making turnovers on both sides.
The second score again came from the Westray/Isles side. A good break from Colin Resbridger found the islanders deep inside the Mainland twenty-two albeit without the scrum feed. A slight shove, and pressure around the fringe from Ben Scott forced a mixup at the base of the Mainland scrum, the resulted loose ball was pounced upon by Ben for the score.
The Westray/Isles side increased their lead through Edgar Thomson, playing stand off, who found a cracking angle off the back of a ruck to go through and run half pitch to score under the post. Edgar converted his own try.
The Mainland side controlled the remainder of the half and were unlucky only to score one try for their efforts, a quickly taken tap penalty by David Bruce allowed him to outflank and duck under the scrambling defence to score in the corner.
Half time: 19 – 5 to Westray/Isles.
The Mainland side got the second half under way with the ambition to start the second half the way they finished the first. The Westray/Isles looking to regain the control they experienced early on. As a result the match see-sawed, back and forth, end to end – really testing the players fitness. Murray Inkster made a couple of strong runs into the Mainland half, from one of these quick recycled ball found its way out to Edgar Thomson who again picked the scoring line to extend the islanders lead. Edgar converted his own try.
Edgar scored his hat trick after some loose play from the mainlanders allowed turnover possession to Westray/Isles, and with loads of room to run into Edgar had no problem crossing the line.
Edward Russell closed the gap for the mainlanders, as again from another quick tap ball he crashed over. David Bruce converted.
Both sides were showing no small amount of skill and ability, in patches, and a good example of this was Edgar Thomson’s fourth try. The number of players involved in the build-up, the accuracy of the off-loads and the quality of the passing saw Edgar reap the reward for a good team try.
The next Westray/Isles attack was not quite as polished, as a loose off-load allowed Gary Farquhar to race away under the posts for the Mainland. Edward Russell reduced the deficit again taking a good offload from Alan Pirie’s break.
From the touchline it looked light a (very) late comeback and that the Westay/Isles players were running out of steam, and the Mainland side were on the charge. However, despite their better efforts some loose mainlanders play allowed Westray/Isles to kick through and for Kyle Robb to score deep into the dead ball area, which turned out to be the last meaningful act in the half.
Final score: 38 – 22 to Westray/Isles.
It was great to have full sides and deference to Alan Pirie and Erland Drever for getting players along, and to Fraser MacNaughton for keeping order over the proceedings.
The return leg is now scheduled for 4 November out in Westray. With the Westray/Isles squad crowing a bit, and with the likes of Andy Mcgill and Adam Towrie to come into their squad perhaps with good reason, the Mainland squad cannot rest on their laurels.
Mainland squad: Trevor Johnston, Ian Rushbrook, Michael Allan, Neil McCartney, Derek Nicolson, Mathew Lynch, Tom Spence, Stewart Spence, Pete Moss, Brian Inkster, Edward Russell, Magnus Currie, David Bruce, Kyle Robb, Gary Farquhar, Alan Pirie, Keith Garrick, Paul Johnsone.
Westray/Isles squad: Stewart Rendall, Lee Thomson, Heddle Drever, Angus Firth, Murray Inkster, Ross Howe, Ali Thorne, Kristian Cooper, Billy Brown, Calum Rendall, Ben Scott, Colin Resbridger, Kenneth Kent, Scott Cooper, Edgar Thomson, Trevor Spence.
This weekends’ match is Over 35s v Under 35s, KO 2pm at Picky Outfield, players are asked to meet at 1.30pm. Please contact me on 07881 505765 and make yourself available.
Match Report: E.K.
More photos from the match can be found here.
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