On Sunday 2nd February a smaller than usual squad of U 14s headed across the firth to Caithness for matches against Caithness and Ross Sutherland. The squad had players missing due to other sporting commitments, injury and illness so a squad of 11 headed over.
A beautiful day for rugby and with Caithness and Ross Sutherland both having full squads it was agreed to play a round robin format and the other teams would provide them with the players to bring them up to a full compliment of 15. It was agreed that it would be youth scoring rules with 3 points for a try and 1 for a conversion.
Front row l to r : - Angus Brown, Isaac Deerness (captain), Scott Craigie, James Braddock, Sammy Laughton, Kadyn Harcus, Dougie Manson (Caithness).
Orkney then lined up to play Ross Sutherland. Both sides started by making strong runs and Orkney scored first with Lewis Mackie from Caithness scoring for Orkney from a strong run. Isaac Deerness captain for the day converted.
Ross struck back with some strong running and weak Orkney defence resulted in a equalising try.
Orkney from the restart showed some good passing with some good passing from Declan MacLeod, Angus Brown, Thorfinn Sinclair and Sammy Laughton which resulted in Isaac getting some space and running a well worked try in. Isaac converted his try.
Ross struck back with a well worked try of their own with two strong runs from their power players. The score at half time was 8-8.
From the kick off Scott Craigie caught a well taken ball and ran from the edge of his 22 to the Ross 22 slipping past at least five defenders. Unfortunately he was tackled and a lack of support meant the ball was lost. The match settled into some tough rucking with James Braddock trying to steak the Ross ball. The ball was stolen and some hard running from Alfie Copland, Thorfinn and Scott ended with Isaac being put into space for a try which he converted.
Alfie, Thorfinn, Declan, Ryan Linklater and Sammy were all rucking hard and an excellent counter ruck drove Ross off their ball. After a period of the play being stuck in the middle of the park Ross made a surge down the middle and laid siege to the Orkney try time. The best defence of the game from Orkney resulted in them holding out for drive after drive before stealing the ball. James Braddock stole the ball, Declan passed it out, Angus moved it through the hands to Isaac who saw the space ahead and outpaced the Ross defence running it in from inside his own 22. Isaac was tackled in the middle of scoring his hat trick try and was winded ending his involvement. Dougie Manson stepped up and converted.
There was time for Ross to strike back with a quick try and the game ended with an Orkney win 16-11.
Next up for Orkney was Caithness so the Caithness players returned to their team and 5 Ross players joined Orkney as Isaac hadn’t recovered from his winding.
Orkney started strongly with some good passing and tackling from the team. Sammy, James, Thorfinn, Alfie, Declan, Scott, Angus and Ryan were all well involved and from some good work James scored a good try. From the restart Orkney showed strong defence and forced Caithness back and eventually forced them to touch. From the lineout the ball was worked to Alex Thomson who took off and showing real speed and a mean swerve outpaced the entire defence to score from 35 metres out.
Orkney again dominated from the restart and worked all the way down to the Caithness line but were held up short. The ball was recycled well by the pack and Sammy drove over from close in. The half time score was 11-0.
The start of the second half and Orkney continued attacking and Jordan (from Ross) drove over the line. Caithness started making some strong runs and eventually broke through to score.
Orkney finished the game by another run by Jordan to seal a 18-4 win.
A very performance from Orkney and especially pleasing to see some of the younger players stepping up and playing well.
The Players Player was Declan with the Coaches players being 1st Angus , 2nd Declan, 3rd Ryan. S1 Player was Sammy with James runner up.
Thanks to the Caithness and Ross players, the Caithness hospitality and all the usual help from coaches.