Weather conditions were near perfect for rugby as Orkney U14's got their first opportunity at a competitive game this season with Caithness making a welcomed trip over the Firth. In fact it was a first taste of full 15 a side rugby for many of the 22 Orkney boys who turned up, with a large majority of the players moving up from the mini's this season. Three 20 minute sessions was the format, with S1 rules employed for the first third then S2 rules for the remainder.
From the kick-off Caithness took the ball and ran hard at the Orkney defence - a tactic they employed for most of the game. With several players who were physically much larger than any of the home side this looked like a good tactic. The defence from Orkney was on the whole very good with excellent tackles being made. Three of the "old heads" Gibson, MacArthur and Siderfin in particular set a great example to the younger lads, who put in some good work themselves. In possession Orkney did however show a real lack of experience. Handling errors, decision making and positional naivety are areas that will have to be worked on for the future.
Caithness scored 3 well worked tries in the first period through better passing and good support play after their initial charge was stopped. Orkney responded with a flowing passing move through the backs to winger pace man Oscar Stout who outpaced the remaining Caithness defence to score.
With all players needing game time substitutions were made throughout the match and this contributed to a lack of shape in the Orkney side during the second period. Unfortunately this led to Caithness putting a further 19 points on the board with only one try from Orkney with Oscar Stout showing he had the pace to beat his opposite number on the outside
The final third was more evenly contested, if somewhat scrappy, with infringements making the game stop/start. Orkney competed well at set pieces, which was encouraging given size and experience differences. Caithness exploited breakdowns with better drilled rucking, which led to their final 2 tries, as Orkney tended to have too many players in or around the ruck and wide open spaces on the flanks. Rhys Davis did a good job at fullback on more than one occasion, with last ditch tackles on players much larger than himself. Orkney's final try came from the same formula that had worked before, but not often enough - ball through the backs to tries hero Stout who dived over the try line to claim his third try.
Final score Orkney15 Caithness 46.
The boys would like to extend thanks to Adam Baird who did an excellent job of refereeing and game coaching and John Rendall and Bruce Ruthven for coaching and organising he game.
Match Report by J.Rendall
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