Last Saturday the 8th of November the Orkney U14’s travelled across to Thurso to play against Caithness and Ross Sutherland. The morning sun was shining and it was good weather for rugby although 2 days of rain had left the pitch rather heavy. After a warm welcome from the opposing team, the game against Caithness began.
Caithness kicked off and right away Orkney attacked with powerful running play. Orkney scored their first try within the 4th minute scored by Jak Craigie, followed in quick succession by Scott Swannie, two tries by Glen Scott and another by Rhys Davies. Three were cleanly converted by Andrew Mulraine and one by Glen Scott. The team were playing some excellent rugby at this point with hard tackling, good rucking and quick ball out of the breakdown by scrum half Nicol Harcus providing plenty of opportunity for the backs to run. By half time the score was 33-0 to Orkney.
It was evident by now that the Caithness team were not as powerful and experienced as their teams of the recent past and the Orkney coaches rang the changes with Murray Simpson and Jacob Urgias going on into the forwards and Euan Dougall onto the wing.
Orkney took the second half in their stride with Connor Hancock scoring the first try, Ronan Gray scored the second with Connor Hancock once again scoring a third. Jak Craigie scored his second try of the game, finished of by Glen Scott scoring Orkney’s 10th try, four of which were converted by Mulraine. The game ended 66-0 to Orkney who had dominated both halves of the match and were now pretty shattered. It probably didn’t help that they had all got up before the sun.
But there was still one more match to be played so Orkney walked back onto the pitch to face Ross Sutherland in their second game.
The squad started poorly, drunk with fatigue and they conceded two tries in the first half of the second match. Unfortunately moral became quite low towards the end of the first half, but a stirring pep talk from Coach John Rendall and some sound advice from Huw Davis and Thorfinn Rendall at half time raised the boy’s spirits and sent them back onto the pitch with their heads held high.
Connor Hancock helped raise the boy’s spirits further, quickly securing two converted tries. Orkney were performing much better now and it showed as Ross Sutherland conceded a third try from the wing, scored by Glen Scott. But they tested the Orkney pack, scoring another try and conversion a few minutes later. The Backs were advancing throwing the ball wide as the forwards rucked the ball on each tackle. Orkney were now well up the pitch with the ball in Nicol Harcus’ hand. He passed to Glen Scott who dashed down the wing to score a try which was then converted by Andrew Mulraine.
After a well thought out scrum the ball was thrown down the wing to Gavin Sinclair who ran forward into the Ross Sutherlands 22 and passed to Andrew Mulraine who threw himself over the line. This was followed by a perfect conversion from Glen Scott. Orkney then clinched the game with a great try from Scott Swannie which was again converted by Glen Scott. All in all a great performance from all the players, forwards and backs taking the game to Ross Sutherland. The final score was 33 – 21 to Orkney
A special mention should be made of Coach John Rendall, who along with Mark Sinclair, have coached the lads over the last few months. Their hard work and dedication are clearly evident in the performances given by all the players. Thanks should also be made to ORFC Coaches Thorfinn Rendall and Huw Davies who travelled with the team.