1st XV Match Report
6th September 08
With a brisk northerly blowing down the pitch, Orkney, playing against the wind, controlled possession and territory for the first 10 minutes. Good support play and accurate offloading out of the tackle was rewarded with a try by Chris Guthrie in the 11th minute. The youngster took his score well after good lead up work by the forwards and Guthrie evaded despairing cover tackles to score. This synergy between backs and forwards, with slick handling interspersed with popping the ball out of contact was to lay down a pattern of play which produced some of Orkney’s best moments of the game.
Undaunted by the early set back however Blairgowrie gained some useful territory with two wind assisted kicks. The resulting gain coupled with poor Orkney midfield tackling led to a soft score by Blairgowrie centre Duncan and converted by Soutar. This galvanised Orkney into one of the best spells of the game. In the 25th minute good driving by Cuddihy let to Blairgowrie giving away a penalty in their own 22. The simple shot at goal was eschewed in favour of a quick tap and Watson created the space for Ross to cleverly cut in and sidestep his way to the line. Again the conversion was missed. Barely three minutes later superb handling by the backs and forwards, in which Moodie was prominent, lead to Cuddihy scoring one of the most entertaining tries seen for a while.
Orkney 15 Blairgowrie 7.
Blairgowrie enjoyed another spell of pressure and from a scrum Walker showed good vision and a deft touch for Jumbo to touch down from his through kick. In the 35th minute Orkney’s lead was extended by a Watson penalty after an offence at the ruck. The last minute of the half produced the gem try of the match with Russell at no.8 and Laughton at scrum half linking well at the back of the scrum to release Moodie into space before the ball was moved through many pairs of hands to Guthrie who broke the line before drawing the last man for the ever present Cuddihy to score, Watson’s conversion concluded the half with Orkney in a comfortable 25-14 lead.
With the wind behind them Orkney lost no time in extending their lead when a failed Blairgowrie clearance was fielded by Moodie who ran the ball back strongly. Experimental forays around the ruck again proved fruitful as this time Watson broke and offloaded to Drever who steamed onto the pass to drive over. Orkney continued to assert their dominance at this stage and upped the intensity of their defensive effort which had four Blairgowrie men prostrate on the turf at one time. In the 51st minute Blairgowrie failed to clear their lines from a scrum. Good work by the back row and quick linking saw Laughton feed Drever to crash over for his second try. Four minutes later with Blairgowrie beginning to fall off tackles a powerful run by Guthrie was rewarded with Watson crossing the line and converting his own try.
Orkney 43 Blairgowrie 14.
In the 59th minute a long relieving kick by Watson was followed up well by Thomson and Croy whose industry and tenacity forced Blairgowrie to concede a 5 metre penalty. Watson took a quick tap and sneakily dummied his way over. With the game all but won Orkney took their foot off the gas. To their credit Blairgowrie secured some quality possession and after several phases of driving forward play spun the ball wide for Duncan to score again. In the 73rd minute the scoring was completed when Blairgowrie trying to move their ball out of the22 were penalised. From the tap penalty again taken quickly a good angled run by Russell broke the defensive line and his offload sent the hardworking Linklater in under the posts. Up he bounced to convert his own try. Final score 59-19.
This was a very encouraging display by Orkney with secure set piece work, quick ruck ball and intelligent offloading being the particularly pleasing features. Russell’s ball carrying, Cuddihy’sx support play and Laughton’s decision making and control were particularly note worthy. However, the defensive aggression will need to be more constant against better teams. Captain Drever was understandably delighted with the result and seeks the same consistency of performance for the rest of the league campaign. With due deference to the science festival, coach Burton said “I don’t know where the combination of chemicals came from but we certainly got the right mix today, I hope we can bottle up that explosive combination and take in on our away games!”
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