Inverness / Invergordon - 28th & 29th March 2014
As part of Scottish Rugby`s development in the north there was a boys and girls festival held last Friday which saw clubs and schools from across the north come together for training and competitive games at Highland RFC in Inverness.
Orkney had sixteen girls and twenty one boys take part in the festival which saw the teams have mixed results but ultimately enjoy their experience and go away with a greater understanding of the game and some much needed competitive rugby.
Orkney S1-2 teams played against Shetland Schools, Nairn Academy, Invergordon Academy, Alness Academy, Dingwall Academy, Granton Grammar, Wick High School, Stornoway and Inverness RA. Games were 10 a side with fifteen minutes a game. Total games won by the two Orkney teams was 5 and losing 3.
Team 1 - Arron Gibson, Glen Brough, Brydon Pottinger, Josh Rendall, Ronan Gray, Jak Craigie, Frazer Merriman, Andrew Mulraine, Cameron Frazer, Ben Johnston.
Team 2 - Jacob Mowat, Tyler Mackenzie, Gregor McLeod, Jack Marwick, Oscar Stout, Harry Siderfin, Nicol Harcus, Rhys Davies, Henry Gordon, Connor Hancock, Ali Morgan.
The girls played a series of games versus Caithness, Granton GS, Culloden Academy, Shetland and Kinlochleven HS. Due to varying numbers, games were made up from various schools with coaching sessions taking place for teams not playing. The Orkney girls proved to be a class above most other schools with exception to local rivals Caithness who also were strong throughout the afternoon. Orkney squad was Amy Kent, Hannah Peace, Hannah Stead, Amber Gray, Alana Leslie, Jenny McElroy, Erina Brown, Shannon Drever, Jennifer Peace, Claire Rendall, Anne Groat, Daria Byers, Kelsay Harvey, Beth Thompson, Keri Johnston and Ara Schofield.
On Saturday players travelled to Invergordon for a tournament versus Ross Sutherland and Shetland for boys games and the girls played an internal 7s match with two Shetland players adding to the squads. All players appeared to be a bit stiff and soar after the previous days festival but they had no time to feel sorry for themselves with Ross Sutherland U14s preparing well for kick off.
Orkney kicked off with Ross Sutherland receiving and making several strong runs into the Orkney half. The Orkney scrum looked solid with Mowat, Macleod and Pottinger giving a solid platform for Gibson, Fraser and Gray to attack from. For the first ten minutes the game was very evenly contested with both teams tackling well and moving the ball into space quickly, however it was a half break from Arran Gibson who set up the impressive Ben Johnston to fly up the touch line to score the opening try which Andrew Mulraine converted easily, (0-7). Soon after a the tap and pass Orkney showed great line speed and put the Ross Sutherland players under a lot of pressure which led to counter ruck possession for Gibson to pick up and sprint to score, (0-12). Orkney continued to dominate possession with strong runs from Henry Gordon, Jak Craigie, Alistair Morgan and Ronan Gray and the possession Ross Sutherland did get was quickly effectively slowed down by Cameron Fraser, Harry Siderfin and Oscar Stout. Half time (0-12).
Ross Sutherland started the second half much brighter and were beginning to win their share of possession using their big ball carriers to pile through the Orkney defence and scored the first try off the second half. Orkney soon replied with Oscar Stout who stepped inside two defenders and then burst through a gap to score which Mulraine converted, (5-19). Orkney were soon on the charge this time with the forwards pick and go gaining twenty metres until a sloppy pass into the midfield allowed the Ross Sutherland winger to collect and run seventy metres to score despite being chased all the way by Johnston, the try was converted, (12-19). Orkney bolstered their team with substitutes Jack Marwick, Glen Brough, Tyler Mackenzie, Nicol Harcus and Rhys Davies making immediate impacts on the game with strong forward play and swift passing. Orkneys final try came after Davies fielded a kick and made thirty metres only to be scragged just short of the line but managed to get the ball back for Harry Siderfin to plough over. Final Score (12 - 24).
The girls played two matches which were nine a-side using the two Shetland girls also. They played eight minutes each way and showcased their skills which were met with huge appreciation and also surprise at the quality of the games from the touchline supporters. Despite the open spaces this did not detract from the bruising tackles both teams were putting in on each other resulting in very competitive matches. Another aspect of play which was great to see was the close support play and use the offload to keep the ball alive. Erina Brown, Daria Byers, Ara Schoefiled were the try scorers.
The Orkney boys played their last game versus Shetland who also had a hard fought game with Ross Sutherland with Shetland narrowly losing that game. Orkney dominated most of this game with tries from Jak Craigie, Oscar Stout, Henry Gordon, Ben Johnston, Andrew Mulraine and Ronan Gray with Mulraine on target with four conversions bringing the final score to 38 - 15. Shetland will be looking for revenge in the official Inter county fixture later next month in Orkney.
Orkney Development officer Bruce Ruthven commented on the two days of rugby by saying:
"The boys stepped up a gear versus Ross Sutherland and Shetland and worked hard for each other, we really dominated at the breakdown and our defence was pretty good throughout which was the main difference between the sides.
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