Shortly after the restart, a long kick from well inside the Caithness half was expertly scooped up by David Bruce close to the Orkney try line, but a failed defensive kick immediately following the breakdown saw possession fall back to Caithness, who capitalised and took another try from the back of the ruck. The conversion again fell short, leaving the score at 10-0 to Caithness
The next period of play saw possession sit predominantly with the home side, resulting in them narrowly fail to catch and exploit a long, flat kick to the wing at Orkney’s five metre line, where they had an extra man overlap. The ball rolled out, ending the first quarter.
Orkney started the second quarter, this time with the wind advantage. Orkney managed to keep play deep inside the Caithness half for a number of minutes, however a series of quick penalties saw Caithness quickly retake territory, pushing right into the Orkney half. A long kick from Bruce saw play pushed straight back into Caithness territory, the pressure resulting in a penalty to Orkney which was expertly kicked to the corner again by Bruce.
A neat lineout ball by Kris Gunn to Simon Owen at the front saw the big No.3 debutant drive across the line to open the scoring for Orkney, claiming his first try for Orkney in the process.
The resulting celebration from Owen would leave no doubt as to just how committed an Orkney side had travelled to Thurso! The try, again in the corner left a very difficult conversion which didn’t quite meet the mark.
The score now 10-5 to Caithness.
The next period of play saw both sides take yards via their respective forward packs, with a number of knock-ons resulting in regular switching of play. Owen again demonstrated some powerful running, as did Omar Mcmahon.
Captain Trevor Spence retained a tightly organised back line that forced Caithness to kick-over in order to gain yards. A strong Orkney scrum enabled Bruce to kick long from the back of the scrum, taking play right deep into the Caithness half.
A penalty thereafter, kicked into touch resulted with another successful front ball to Owen at the lineout from Gunn. This time he couldn’t reach the try line, but strong performance in the breakdown set in motion a series of rucks that resulted in Niall Campbell powerfully crossing the try line. This time the position was a little more straightforward, and Mcmahon successfully converted.
Orkney took the lead by two points, the score 10-12 at half time.
The third quarter again saw Caithness with the wind in their back, and the majority of play remained within the Orkney half as a result for the first period of the quarter. A Caithness penalty fell short of the posts, and a change of referee around the same time saw play become less fraught.
This quarter again saw some good defensive lines from the Orkney backs, with turnovers in play being exploited. Campbell again stretched his legs on a few occasions, bursting through and offloading to Steven Tait in support at one point taking play well into opposition territory.
The score at the end of the third quarter saw Caithness sitting with a narrow 15-12 lead.
The final quarter saw the wind advantage again sit with Orkney, enabling them to secure the majority of play in the Caithness half. A slightly slower, more settled last session saw Orkney play some excellent slow forward ball, with the Orkney backs seeing less ball action as a result. Notwithstanding this, there was still some intermittent impressive backs play, a standout Scott Smith running some sharp lines, supported well by Justine Pizon.
A series of slow balls from the forward pack five minutes from full time concluded with Niall Campbell crossing the line in the final score of the day. The unconverted try saw Orkney win 15-17 against the home side.
Simon Owen was voted Orkney’s Man of the Match, and a fantastic team-spirited celebration continued for the duration of the journey back to Orkney.
Match report: Stephen Kemp
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