Orkney Under 16s away v Caithness U16s
Thurso, Saturday 25th September
On Saturday a squad of 14 players headed over to play Caithness. With Caithness having 11 it was agreed to have a 12 a-side game with Orkney rotating players in and out of Caithness.
It was a lovely sunny morning but with a strong breeze blowing down the pitch. The original plan was to play 3 x 20 min period but with the wind blowing strongly and wanting to rotate players we moved to 2 x 20 mins followed by 2 x 10 mins.
Orkney tackled strongly and forced a knock on. From the scrum, Will Brass took the ball and with Caithness rushing up strongly held the ball long enough to thread a lovely pass to Alex Scarth. The backs passed well along the line making good ground. With some strong running Christy MacLeod broke the defensive line and scored the first try. Alex converted.
From the kick off the game ebbed and flow with both sides working hard. There was some good defence shown from Sammy Laughton, Christy and Angus Brown. Orkney made a series of handling errors which resulted in a number of scrums. From these Angus “Dougall” was striking the ball well from hooker and won a number against the head. From one strike against the head the backs made good ground and put Tommy Stockan into some good space. Tommy ran well but was tackled within the Caithness 22. From a quick ruck Thorfinn Sinclair went close but was tackled well and Alfie Copland drove over from 5 metres to score. Alex converted.
During the next period of play Orkney attacked but lost a ruck inside the Caithness 22. Caithness passed the ball well out wide and found some space. Caithness charged inside the Orkney half when Tommy managed to make a tackle. Caithness supported their player quicker and from a disorganised Orkney defence scored their first try in the corner.
From kick off Orkney retained the ball well in their own half. Alex decided to use the wind and attempt a long kick with Tommy chasing. Unfortunately the kick was slightly too by about two metres as it went dead with Tommy clear of any defence but a great effort.
From the scrum inside Orkney half “Dougall” one another against the head and the Orkney backs worked the ball well inside the Caithness half. Will, Alex, Angus, Scott Craigie, and Christy were all involved showing good running and handling skills. Stopped inside the 22 there was a quick series of rucks with Ryan Linklatter, James Braddock, Alfie and Thorfinn all involved. From these Thorfinn powered over from close range. Alex converted.
After a period of play Orkney won a ruck ball inside the Caithness half about the 10 metre line. Alex did a chip over the defence with a bit of height on it, Angus chased and caught it well on the full, evaded two tacklers and popped the ball to Christy who challenged two defenders and slipped a good pass to Alex who scored the final try of the first period.
Score at end of the first period of 20m – Caithness 5 – Orkney 26.
Orkney now playing into the wind struggled initially to adapt to the change of conditions with some passing which was too long and some poorer kicks. From this Caithness managed to out Orkney under some sustained pressure in their own half. Orkney did manage to make a break and Ryan Slater made some good ground after being put into space by Scott. Once Ryan was tackled the Caithness support was a bit quicker to the ball and managed to score a good long range try.
Caithness were using the wind well but Orkney were getting used to playing against the wind. Robbie Adamson made a great catch but from a high Caithness kick. With the ball recovered Tommy attacked from deep and some good attacking play from all the backs led to Angus scoring.
Orkney now back on the front foot attacked well with a good mix of forward drives from Alfie and Thorfinn at the fore well supported by James, Sammy and Ryan L, with Will releasing the backs at the right time. Working their way up near to the Caithness left hand corner the ball was worked well the centre of the pitch and Angus Brown battled over from close range from a good pass by Christy.
A similar pattern established itself and again a good mix of forward drives and good back play linked well by Will, Sammy burst through from about 15 metres out to score.
Caithness responded well and made a break from an Orkney mistake to score and convert the try despite a good effort from Tommy to prevent the try.
At the end of the 2nd 20 min period the score was Caithness 17 – 41 Caithness.
In the 3rd 10 minute period, Orkney with the wind again attacked well. From a Tommy break, the backs and Ryan L passed the ball well and Alex scored.
From the last play in this section of the game, Will, Angus and Christy made a good break after some good work from the forwards and Tommy finished it off with a try. Alex converted.
Score Caithness 17 – 53 Orkney.
In the final 10, with Orkney against the wind they remember the lessons from earlier in the game and played well into it. From some good work Robbie was played into space with Ryan Slater contributing well and Robbie scored. Alex converted.
From the restart Orkney won the ball and worked their way up and from some good back play Scott made a great side step and scored a well worked try.
Caithness had the last say in the match and made a good break through the centre of the defence to score. The try was converted.
Final score Caithness 24 – 65 Orkney
Both sides played well and the coaches were especially pleased in the improvement of interaction and communication between the forwards and the backs. Every single player contributed well during the game.
Well done to the Orkney players who took a spell with Caithness as they all played well with Christy and Sammy contributing.
Players Player. Angus Dougall
Coaches Player: Angus Brown
Back row (l to r) : Tommy Stockan, Alex Scarth, Alfie Copland, Thorfinn Sinclair, Angus Dougall, Angus Brown.
Front row (l to r): Ryan Slater, Will Brass, Christy MacLeod, Scott Craigie, Ryan Linklater (cpt), Sammy Laughton, Robbie Adamson, James Braddock.