A young Stornoway side were given food for thought last Saturday when they went down 31-7 to Ross-Sutherland RFC in Invergordon.
As the two sides left the field at the end of the game there was little doubt that the final scoreline probably flattered the home team a little.
The islanders boasted a very young squad – apart from veteran scrum-half Colin MacIver and Angus “Og” MacArthur in the pack – and a number of them showed up well to provide a little boost for the months ahead, particularly debutants Kieran Walker and Johnny Henderson.
Stornoway played some great rugby and at times dominated proceedings, but Ross-Sutherland were just that little bit more ruthless at taking their scoring opportunities.
At half-time it was all to play for, as the score stood at 12-0 and Stornoway well in the game.
However, in the second half the home side ran away with the victory after scoring several times to deny the opposition even a losing bonus point.
The islanders consolation try was registered by young Callum Nicolson who intercepted a pass deep in his own 22 and showed terrific pace and athleticism to go the whole way and dive over the Ross line. Iain “Fish” Mackinnon kicked the extra two points.
Stornoway should have come away with more from the game, but they showed enough to have every confidence of reversing the result when Ross come to Lewis for the return fixture in Caledonia Division Two North in October.
Coach Angus Mackay was pleased with his sides performance.
“The boys started well and looked good with ball in hand but lacked a little bit of experience when it came to defending,” he commented after the match.
“It is fair to say that after conceding an early try, they seemed to get things together and for such a young side they really gave it a go, which is hugely encouraging and bodes well for the future.”
This weekend Stornoway are due to cross the Minch again, this time to play Highland 2ndXV in Inverness – who beat Ross 28-10 earlier this month - with the islanders looking to get back to winning ways.
This will be a difficult challenge for the rejigged Stornoway outfit but there have been shoots of promise and recovery shown in recent weeks.