Boys' Rugby: Cargilfied U11 7s Tournament
The 4th annual Cargilfield U11 7s Rugby Tournament took place on Saturday with Belhaven returning to the competition as Cup Holders, on a very dreich day Edinburgh day.
There were six teams involved in a round robin format with three points for a win and two for a draw. Of the six teams taking part, five were very strong indeed, so it was all to play for. Fortunately, we had an ideal start with Ardvreck first up and thus a relatively gentle introduction to the day’s rugby. They could not match our pace and passing and were beaten 5 - 0.
Next up were Cargilfield and there was some history here! We’d drawn once to them in the Loretto 7s before beating them in the final of that competition and had then lost to them in a ‘friendly’ home match so honours were even. Today would be the last time we faced them this season so the boys were desperate to get one over them. In the end, after another competitive match which showcased some impressive skills by both teams, the honours went to Belhaven. 2 - 1.
Merchiston were next up and this too was a nail-biting match with both teams crossing the line a number of times. In the end, Belhaven managed to do so 5 times to Merchi’s 4. 5 - 4.
Our penultimate match was against St. Mary’s - a team we’d beaten previously this season but one who’d been u a couple of tries on us at one stage. We knew they were no pushover. In the end, our strength at the breakdown and relentless tackling was too much for them and we won the match 5 - 2.
And so to our final match of the day - Fettes. They had won three and drawn one which meant that if we could draw or win the match, the trophy would be ours for another year, but a defeat would see Fettes lift it. It was all to play for. Fettes had played well all day and were particularly strong in the wide channels, something they used to good effect in the first half, managing to score two tries while we failed to cross the line. With each half lasting just six minutes, the odds were certainly stacked against the boys, and just like the Springboks who’d been written off in a waterfall of hubris by a pompous and partisan English press, the time had arrived to stand up and show some character.
I asked the boys to dig deep, trust each other and their training and to push up hard in defence to try and put the pressure on the opposition. They responded well and forced a turnover right from the restart, which, after a couple of phases, led to a try. At this, Fettes slightly lost their shape and we capitalised, piling on the pressure and then scoring again to level the score with a couple of minutes to go. While a draw would have been enough, the boys didn’t let up and with a minute to go, scored the third and while Fettes certainly never gave up, it was enough to seal the win. 3 - 2.
And so, having ended the day unbeaten, in torrential rain, a wet, muddy, exhausted but happy team of Belhaven Hill boys were awarded the trophy for the third time in four years - impressive stuff indeed.
At times some of the boys got it wrong and a couple had to be spoken to by the refs and this led to discussions about character and respect but I believe they took the message on board and for the most part they played in the way rugby should be played, never forgetting what is really important about sport - integrity. They are, after all, just a bunch of 10 and 11-year-olds and this was another valuable learning experience.
Despite the conditions, it was a great day of rugby. With so many strong teams involved, there were innumerable moments of brilliance on show as well as bucketsful of passion and spirit. What sticks in my mind? Some try-and-match-saving tackles in the corner by Hugo; a 50 yard dash (?) by Henry; seeing Pedro hit the afterburners and race around the outside of a couple of teams; Josh timing a run on the wing to perfection and hitting a long pass like a pro to make important yards before offloading; James dancing around the opposition and threading his way through the smallest of gaps before accelerating to the line; Beets coming on and with his first touch, hitting the ball at pace, drawing his man and then laying off a beauty of a pass to James that eventually led to a try; Johnny scything down opposition player after opposition player like so much wheat; Saul pressing hard and harrying, forcing turnovers and wee George collecting the ball out wide before stepping in off the line at pace and linking up with his support runners.
Well done, boys.
Belhaven 5 - 0 Ardvreck
Belhaven 2 - 0 Cargilfield
Belhaven 5 - 4 Merchiston
Belhaven 5 - 2 St. Mary’s
Belhaven 3 - 2 Fettes
MOTM: Shared between James (9 tries) and Saul, whose effort and determination today was very impressive.