The final home match across all age groups for Stornoway Rugby Club took place at the weekend when Bayhead played host to Stornoway U13’s match against a strong and, in comparison, far more experienced Highland side.
Highland have been competing in the Presidents conference against the likes of Ayr, Currie and Stirling while for more than half of the Stornoway squad it was their first ever game of rugby.
This most certainly did not put the boys off though and for large spells the match was very even.
The game started off very much in favour of Highland with their ferocious counter rucking and subsequent counter attack proving very difficult for the home side to deal with.
As the opening third of the match went on Stornoway’s tackling was much improved making the contest far more even, a big mention is deserved for young twins Lewis and James Mackay for their fearless defensive display.
In response to this Highland’s number 10 showed great maturity and skill to move the ball wide through the hands of his back line to great effect.
It wasn’t until the middle third of the game when things started to click for the inexperienced home side.
Hard running from Nathanael Millar, Duncan Macphail and Joshua Smith started to give Stornoway some go forward which was then matched by the support at ruck time allowing scrum-half and Captain Harry Bray to supply half back partner Jack Macleod with clean, quick ball.
The home side’s only try of the match was definitely worth the wait as it came in the final third of the game. Another strong carry by Nathanael from kick off got the team well over the gain line, which was then followed up with close support and great continuity to keep the ball away from the breakdown.
After drawing a couple of penalties the boys kept the speed of the move up and after getting themselves into a strong position in the far right corner of the pitch, Drew Maynard got his hands on the ball to bash his way over the line for the score. Harry’s conversion fell just short.
The game finished with Highland being the convincing winners, but it cannot be forgotten that considering their inexperience, just how well Stornoway played.
A big thank you to Highland for making the trip over at the end of a long season for them, we will definitely be looking to set up a rematch for next year.
A final mention for the sportsmanship displayed both throughout and after the game by both teams, especially for the fifteen minutes of extra time that was played when players from both teams swapped around for an exhibition match.
With this being the final home match of the season we would like to say one final thank you to all the supporters who have come down to Bayhead to cheer on the variety of age groups that have been on display this year.