Stornoway Rugby Teens toppled by Aberdeen Wanderers

Shaun Smith on the charge with David Campbell and Coinneach Smith ready to support
Shaun Smith on the charge with David Campbell and Coinneach Smith ready to support
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Aberdeen Wanderers U16’s 26

Stornoway RFC U16’s 0

STORNOWAY braved blizzard conditions to trek across the country and fulfil their Caledonia U16 Youth Cup tie against Aberdeen Wanderers last weekend but weren’t rewarded for their perseverance after slumping to a heavy defeat in Elgin.

The game kicked off with snow showers falling on an already soggy pitch. Stornoway set out to keep to a simple game plan, keeping the ball close to the forwards in attack and aiming to force errors from their more experienced opponents with pressure defence.

Even though they had only 30 minutes to change and warm up after a six hour journey it was the Stornoway side that started the stronger. Shaun Smith was on mission early on, charging into the Wanderers defence with great support from the rest of the pack.

The game was littered with errors, which produced an unusually large number of scrums to keep the forwards busy. Most errors were caused by the pressure being put on the Wanderers players by the Stornoway side. Skipper Alick Graham, as always led from the front. Getting a rare run in his more favoured position of backrow he was able to pressurise the Wanderers attack before they could get over the gain line, well supported by fellow back rowers Ross Morrison and David Campbell.

The rest of the team followed suit Mitch, Shaun and Ross all knocking opponents back while, when the ball did get wide, Calum Mackinnon, Jack Dunlop and James Morrison forced rushed passes and further mistakes. When the first line of defence was breached the back three pulled off a number of try saving tackles.

Wanderers proved to be just as organised in defence and Stornoway struggled to threaten their opponents’ line. The Stornoway side did create some promising positions for themselves but delay of the pass or poor decision making under pressure meant they were unable to build up sustained periods of pressure.

Best opportunities were a break for the line by Ross from a ruck 10 metres out, but when stopped short slow support allowed Wanderers to force a turnover and clear the danger. Then fly-half Calum Mackinnon evaded a couple of tackles but his pass that would have left Jack Dunlop with a clear run to the line was judged to be forward.

The long journey, heavy pitch and the loss of two players through injury took its toll through the game and Wanderers powerful strike runners eventually ran in four tries with three converted to run out winners 26-0.

It was a good performance from the boys, with forwards and backs linking well throughout. Some good spells of continuity with excellent rucking and ball presentation. The organisation in defence was mostly superb, though the boys will be the first to admit that it was missed tackles that ultimately let them down. The squad is progressing well and lots of positive signs for the future.

Squad: Iain Murdo Macleod, Calum Angus Macdonald, Shaun Smith, Mitch Thomson, Coinneach Smith, Ross Morrison, David Campbell, Alick Graham (Capt), Alan Farrell, Calum Mackinnon (Vice Capt), Jack Dunlop, James Morrison, Calum Morrison, Gregor Forsyth, Jason Guilmartin, Ashley Collier.