Final Score – Orkney 20 Strathmore 7
Orkney took on Strathmore in the first round of the Caledonian Cup last Sunday. This was the first ever visit of the Strathmore youth side to Orkney and it was encouraging to see a South team make a real effort to come and fulfil a fixture in Orkney. Before the game started both teams stood for a minutes silence for a girlfriend of one of the visting players who had passed away recently.
The game started encouragingly for Orkney who kicked off sending the ball deep into the opposition territory and immediately putting Strathmore on the back foot. Orkney’s forwards were putting pressure on the Strathmore line but the visitors were very good a turning over possession when the home team players got isolated. From a resulting turn over by Strathmore they kicked the ball down field but it was caught by the Orkney back line and the ball passed to Louis Wright on the wing who sped in for the first try of the game, Aiden Drever missed the conversion.
The boys talked at half time about trying to slow the pace of the game down a bit as it had been frantic at times. Strathmore came at Orkney hard at the start of the second half and got a try back along with the conversion and it was game on. The game was very tight and both teams had chances to add to their scores but as mistakes were coming more common and a few missed passes went astray. Both teams defences were very strong and as the second half went on it looked like it would take something special to win the game. With the game being so tight and competitive tempers became strained and Craig MacLennan became the first player of the day to be yellow carded he was quickly followed by Aiden Drever and Orkney were up against it being down to 13 players. A Strathmore player followed them minutes later though luckily for Orkney. The something special that would win the game came 5 minutes from the end when scrum half Liam Sharpe playing his first game since injuring his wrist back in October pressured the opposition number 9 into a mistake and picked up the ball and ran in for a try, Aiden who was back on at this stage missed the conversion and the final score was 20-7 to Orkney.
A great win for the home side who now wait to see who they will play in the next round. Man of the match on the day was the returning Liam Sharpe who was a constant thorn in the side of Strathmore and was exceptionally strong in defence. Other notable good performances came from Robbie Firth and Darren MacLean who were both playing their second game of the weekend after playing for the 1st XV on Saturday against St Andrews Uni. Along with them Euan Dunnet put in his usual non-stop graft until the final whistle and Scott Russell who put in some fantastic cover defence tackles.
A final thank you must go to Strathmore though for coming the long distance to play us, it was great to see the guys who all seemed to enjoy their experience and were a credit to their club on and off the pitch. Hopefully in the future we will get the chance to return to play them in Forfar
Match report: Y.S