Undies win at home against Craigclowan
Belhaven Hill's U11As survived an early scare to run out winners against a brave and physical Craigclowan side.
Matches do not usually start like this for the Undies.
When Thomas "Big D" Dewar was absolutely melted with a huge tackle straight off the kick-off the boys in sky and navy blue (both teams!) knew that they were in for a tough afternoon.
Craigclowan turned over the ball immediately and streaked through via their rapid centre for a super opening score. Fortunately, Captain Campbell Mack calmly steadied the ship and his powerful pack of Thomas, Tom Leckie, Oliver Reynolds and Jonty Fraser turned the screw on their opponents. This brought field position and momentum for a big and pacy backline of Freddie Jack, Joe Townshend, Max Thomson, Archie de la Hey and Freddie Stuart to play from.
A bullocking run from Tom Leckie was stopped just short of the line before quick recycling served up a short ball for Captain Mack to crash onto. It was a peach of a try and showcased the sort of disciplined, aggressive and organised rugby that we have been trying to play this season.
The home side were all over Craigclowan for the next few minutes but the visitors managed to come very close to scoring with a super run up the right flank. The speeding winger was just brought down by a superb cover tackle in the far corner. This set up a Belhaven move that brought play right back down the slope toward the Craigclowan line. Joe and Max were orchestrating things beautifully with the former punching the ball through tackles and the latter straightening the line of attack and spinning passes wide to the deadly attackers; Archie de la Hey and Freddie Stuart.
Archie was really putting in the big bosh in the wide channels. This set up quick ball again and scampering scum half Freddie Stuart scooped up the loose ball to dart over.
You are never more vulnerable than when you have just scored.
A loose pass to a player wearing a near-identical shirt let Craigclowan level the scores against the run of play.
Freddie scored a super try wide and left to restore the lead after sumptuous play from the Undies backline. Archie finished the half with a further score to put the Undies into a lead that they did not look like surendering.
Half Time Score: Belhaven Hill U11A 4 - 2 Craigclowan U11A
The second half began with the Undies looking to squeeze the Craigclowan defence into a small area of the pitch before spinning the ball wide. Captain Mack was the grateful recipient of one super ball off a ruck to crash over for his second try. Thomas ran the Crazy Buffalo perfectly for a special try at the right corner flag. Jonty Fraser rampaged over after a wonderful "Maori sidestep" in the midfield.
Craigclowan were not done yet and two well worked scores bookended tries for Freddie Jack and Wilfred Tomlyn. I was delighted to see subs Will Barlow and debutant Ruaraidh Oliphant in the thick of the action with the latter coming very close to scoring before offloading for Wilf.
Overall, this was a very pleasing performance that showed how well we can work as a team. The tries scored were excellent but the way that we took control of the game at the breakdown and in defence was even better.
Final Score: Belhaven Hill U11A 9 - 4 Craigclowan U11A
Man of the Match:
Max Thomson; Max is an outstanding rugby player. Max plays entirely unselfishly with ball in hand and tackles as well as any player on the team. We really missed Max last week and I am delighted to have hime back in the team.
Freddie Stuart; Freddie has been the find of the season. He has taken his chances brilliantly and has developed into a superb backline player. Freddie has added excellent passing to his teak-tough tackling and scorching jinky gas.