Ross / Shetland combined kicked off and Orkney made a mistake from the start resulting in a knock on. From the scrum the combined team were penalised after struggling to take the pressure from the Orkney pack. The penalty was taken quickly and William MacDonald, on his debut, made a break deep to the opposition 22. The combined side managed to bring him down and Angus Brown was the first to the breakdown to secure the ball. The ball was worked well out by Christy MacLeod to Alex Scarth and then onto Aiden Cooper. Aiden ignored the two man overlap cutting back inside evading two defenders to score a well worked team try. Aiden converted.
Orkney were dominating the scrum and the backs were moving well. Another try was scored after good work by the forwards in a ruck with Angus Dougall particularly prominent with the ball worked through the backs well for Aiden to score again.
The third try was another well worked team try. From deep inside their own half Euan Knox broke two tackles and made a run to the combined side 22. Tacked the ball was swiftly won with quick support from Angus Dougall supported by Declan MacLeod, Sammy Laughton and Scott Craigie. The ball was moved quickly by Christy and William scored. Aiden converted.
This period of play was dominated by Orkney with strong runs by Thorfinn Sinclair, Alfie Copland, Angus Dougall and strong supported rucking by Euan Knox, Declan MacLeod, Sammy Laughton and James Braddock. With the pack winning lots of ball, the backs were looking dangerous everytime they attacked. Christy was moving the ball well from the rucks to Alex Scarth who was moving the backline well with Aiden Cooper, Angus Brown and Tommy Stockan well involved. Ryan Slater and Scott Craigie made some strong runs from the wing positions.
During this period Aiden scored two more tries with William adding another and Aiden converting two of them.
At this point the combined side suddenly started to run the ball more directly with their big forwards. They put Orkney under pressure for a good 10 minute spell and got to with a few feet of the Orkney line. Somehow Orkney managed to stop the combined side from crossing the line. Orkney were conceding a lot of penalties at this point for high tackles and not retreating 10. Penalty after penalty was conceded but Orkney held firm and prevented a score. The referee warned the Orkney side over the number of penalties being conceded. The pressure was finally released after the combined side dropped the ball due to the pressure tackling from the whole of the Orkney team and Alex Scarth cleared the lines.
Ryan Linklater and Robbie Adamson both came on as substitutes and made some good runs with Robbie fielding a number of kicks and making ground after them. The half finished with Orkney back in the ascendency with further scores from Aiden (2), Tommy and William (2).
The second half continued in the much same vein with Orkney pressing and the backs running well. There were another few penalties against Orkney and Declan MacLeod was sin binned for a seat belt tackle. Declan paid the price for the team warning against Orkney.
Further tries were scored from William, Tommy (3), Alex Scarth (2) with Aiden kicking most of the conversations.
All the players played well and Orkney attacked well both in the forwards and the backs. The big learning point still to be applied is being able to keep calm and do the right things when being pressurised and to “keep the heid” when under that pressure.
Thank you to all the coaches and to Ross Sutherland RFC for their usual excellent hospitality and Shetland for travelling down.
Back row (l to r): Euan Knox, Ryan Linklater, Scott Craigie, Aiden Cooper, Declan MacLeod, Tommy Stockan, Alex Scarth, William MacDonald, Thorfinn Sinclair, Angus Dougall, Alfie Copland.
Front row (l to r): Ryan Slater, Sammy Laugton, James Braddock, Christy MacLeod (cpt), Robbie Adamson, Angus Brown.
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