Quarter Final - Perthshire v Orkney
Perth, 13 March 2022
On Saturday morning a 21 strong Orkney under 16s team set off to travel South, stopping overnight in Dundee before travelling Sunday morning to meet Perthshire.
Perthshire, the winners of the Midlands Pool B section, hosted the Quarter Final knock-out Cup game at their grounds at North Inch, Perth.
Perthshire were unable to field an experienced front row for their scrum resulting in uncontested scrums, instantly changing the style of rugby that Orkney had prepared for.
Strong rucking from the forward pack and tight defence from the backs, both teams attacked and defended ferociously, each side turning over possession. Eight minutes in Perthshire seized an opportunity to make a break for Orkney’s line, scoring their first try, an unsuccessful conversion attempt followed.
Perthshire initial try tested Orkney’s confidence and they grabbed a second opportunity four minutes later running the ball in below the post to secure an easy conversion. This motivated Orkney and they knuckled down apply more pressure against Perthshire.
Perthshire were forced to defend vigorously as an unrelenting Orkney side dominated their 22. Orkney made many strong attacking drives at Perthshire line on several occasions the ball was either just inches away from the Perthshire try line or held up just beyond it. A frantic attempt from Perthshire finally managed to get the ball back down the pitch and heading towards the Orkney line.
Orkney’s defence stepped up a gear again and several turn overs regained Orkney possession however Perthshire would again then regain possession by a tactic of choke tackling the ball, winning the resultant uncontested scrum and resetting their attack.
Orkney fought back strongly in defence, winning turnovers until Tommy Stockan secured their first try, driving over the Perthshire’s line in the thirty-first minute.
Alex Scarth made a secure clean kick between the posts to gain the conversion.
Perthshire fought back in the last few minutes of the first half, a heavy clash resulted in players from both sides requiring attention unfortunately but following excellent play Angus Robertson was forced to retire to the bench with injury.
Perthshire made a hard final drive towards the line but a strong Orkney’s defence held them back before the halftime whistle blew with the scores sitting at Perthshire 12 to Orkney 7.
Now under pressure from Orkney determination, a kick from Perthshire started the second half and the battle for possession commenced again.
Orkney would gain several metres driving hard against Perthshire’s strong defensive line and when gaps became available
Orkney’s backs pounced on any opportunity, but Perthshire’s defence were quick to close in. Perthshire seized an opportunity and sprinted down the wing with a clear try in sight, Orkney in chase, Alex Scarth with an unfaltering tackle drove the player into touch saving the try.
Small errors on both sides were grasped by each other but then forty-two minutes in Perthshire would capitalise on an opening and ran in their third try, another unsuccessful conversion put only 5 more points on the board to move the score to 17- 7.
The contest for possession continued, Orkney’s undaunted defending and attacking found neither side letting up until finally momentum picked up for Perthshire when they ran two tries in the forty-ninth and fifty-first minutes of the game, converting only one between the posts.
Orkney remained focused on the game and responded with a hard attack against Perthshire, pushing them back and holding them in their half.
Orkney’s forwards continuously battered Perthshire’s defence Orkney releasing the ball out into the backs, with William Macdonald sweeping back around to join them he took the ball in and drove through Perthshire’s defence to secure the try.
While Perthshire tried to compose themselves from Orkney’s relentless determination, Alex Scarth set up for a difficult kick and sent the ball confidently between the posts.
With the score at 29-14 to Perthshire and the clock with only 10 minutes left to play.
Heads remained up and Orkney once again reset to take the game to Perthshire.
Possession battled back and forth, attacking and defending. Seven minutes left on the clock Perthshire snatched another opening to sprint down the wing securing their sixth try but again with a missed conversion.
With only 4 minutes left on the clock Orkney rotated players from the bench, Perthshire took advantage of the reorganisation and sneaked one final try over the line, again no conversion.
Still very determined Orkney made a last minute surge into Perthshire’s 22 with the ball finding touch Orkney’s attack was halted only by the final whistle from the referee.
Final score 39 – 14, a win to Perthshire.
As is often the case in Rugby the final score does not reflect the game. All of Orkney’s squad played exceptionally and this was reflected in the respect and praise they received from the Referee, Perthshire’s coaches and the spectators.
Special mention to the Players; Thorfinn Sinclair, Alistair Park, Alfie Copland, Angus Robertson, Angus Dougall, James Braddock, Declan Macleod, William Macdonald, Sammy Laughton, Ryan Linklater, Christy Macleod (capt.), Alex Scarth, Tyler Wolstenholme, Jake Ross, Tommy Stockan, Scott Craigie, Brogan Russell, Ryan Slater, Dylan Price, Angus Brown and Will Brass.
Players Player; joint 1st Christ Macleod and William MacDonald, followed by 2nd Alex Scarth and 3rd Tommy Stockan.
Coaches Players 1st William MacDonald, 2nd Angus Robertson, 3rd James Braddock.
Thanks to Perthshire RFC for their hospitality and to the referee for officiating the game.
Orkney U16 boys now enter the semi-final of the knock-out stages to play for the Saltire Caledonia Plate.