Match Report 6-10-12
Final Score – Highland 8 Orkney 7
The team travelled away to Inverness on Saturday and were keen to continue from their excellent performance in their last game against Aberdeen Grammar. Highland were currently top of the league and unbeaten so it was going to take a huge performance to come away with a win. The team was missing a couple of players but Sean Wood was returning to add his defensive strength to the midfield.
Highland kicked off and straight away Orkney were on the attack keen to show that they had not just made the long trip to Inverness to make up numbers. Fantastic rucking up front and strong running from Darren MacLean, Wood and Jack Siderfin got us right into the Highland 22 early on and after a period of continuous pressure Euan Dunnet drove over from close range under the posts. Aiden Drever added the conversion and Orkney had a 7-0 lead. Highland looked a little shell shocked and Orkney came straight back at them after the restart and Joey Fischler was unlucky knocking on right on the try line. Highland came back strongly and the game was starting to open up a bit both sides looking strong on the attack. Aiden Milne who had come on for the injured Jack Stout had a good break down the right wing but just ran out of room to get around the full back. It became clear early on that the team with the strongest defence would probably be the team to win. Highland had the better of the final 10 minutes but the Orkney side managed to hold them to just a penalty and the sides turned around at half time Orkney leading 3-7.
It has been an element of the U18’s game this year to start strongly then drop off in the second half but the guys were determined to not let this happen this week. Highland started the second half the best and soon had Orkney deep in their own half but some determined strong defence was holding them back. Up front the versatile Scott Russell was everywhere tackling anything that moved and it was looking like the Orkney team would hold out. Orkney were giving away a lot of penalties and captain Robbie Firth was warned that the next offender would be sent off for constant infringement and it was Ben Sutherland left the field early. Playing the last 10 minutes with only 14 players against the best team in the league was going to be tough but Orkney Were holding out but with eight minutes Highland drove over from a close line out to score a try and take the lead 8-7 after they missed the conversion. Orkney did have a couple of attacks late on but could not keep the ball and the final whistle went for a gut wrenching loss by one point.
A fantastic defensive performance from a fully committed Orkney team with Dunnet and Russel being the stand out performers, Dunnet just beating Russell to the man of the match award by one vote. Again the midfield pairing of MacLean and Wood looks very strong and Joey Fischler also had a very good game along with Linklater and Siderfin. So Orkney are still with only one win for the season so far but there will not be many teams that have a record of losing three games by a combined total of 11 points.
This weekend sees the team have a free weekend but Moray are expected up here the following weekend for their game.
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