Belhaven Hill School

Co-ed Boarding & Day School for ages 5-13

Boys' Rugby: U11A v Craigclowan

Boys' Rugby: U11 a v Craigclowan

Opponents: Craigclowan
Date: Wednesday, 16th October
Time: 2.30 pm
Venue: Craigclowan, Perth

The last match of the 1st half of term away to Craigclowan, was not a vintage effort by the team but, nonetheless, saw a number of tries being scored and ended in an exciting finale.

After a fairly long trip north and a quick warm-up before the match began, the boys did not get off to the best start, indeed, Craigclowan, who started with the tap ‘n pass, had dotted down within two minutes! And then did so again a minute later when they intercepted a pass. At this stage, it looked almost like a Scotland performance – disaster!

A few words from the sideline and some gathering of wits and mettle by the boys saw things improve somewhat to the extent that we managed to string a few phases of play together allowing first James and then Josh to score -  Josh’s, in particular, was a good team try.

Craigclowan passed the ball well and had some strong runners, much as we do but, in the first half, we lacked real drive or ‘go-forward’ when we had the ball in hand and they ended up scoring six for the half. Hugo evened things up a bit with two of his own but these were more opportunistic, individual efforts and, while needed and well taken, did not include the type of open, structured play I like to encourage at this age.

At half time we spoke about line speed and go-forward as well as support and I am pleased to report that the boys responded well to the advice.

We, by-and-large, outplayed Craigclowan in the second half and we needed to as we had a two try deficit to overcome. I was most impressed with our tackling, which was very good, and our defensive line pushed up quickly and effectively, leading to a number of turnovers. James took advantage of a couple of these to bag a brace of tries and leave us two tries down with about eight minutes to play.

Before I get to the finale, I would like to take a moment to raise an important issue: behaviour towards referees. The referee (a 1st XV player from Strathallan) did a fine job today. He may well have judged certain things differently to what the boys were used to but there is never an excuse to whine, argue, wave hands in the air or in any other way show disrespect towards the referee. This tenet is key to the spirit of rugby and distinguishes it from most other sports. Unfortunately, a few Belhaven boys got that wrong today. They’ve been spoken to, apologised and it will not happen again. It had better not.

Now, to the final eight minutes. Well, the boys had finally woken up and were playing with more passion and determination, none more so than Henry who went charging into the opposition like a rogue bull elephant flattening players like so many acacia trees before him and scored to bring us within one. A couple of minutes later and a few phases of play saw the ball being spun out to Josh on the wing who was brought to ground only to pop it beautifully into the hand of the elephant who went over again. Scores tied.

Into the final couple of minutes, and a tap and pass was given to Henry who set off, looked to James on his left and then swept the ball across his body to pass it, but didn’t, much to everyone’s surprise (including his own!) and having sold the dummy, he saw space open before him and made the most of it scoring his hat-trick and taking us into a lead which we clung on to for the final minute.

As I said at the start, not a classic, but I was pleased with a number of things. Little Charlie had a good debut, getting stuck in, making some tackles and giving some good offloads; Saul played his heart out making numerous tackles and securing rucks; George was effective out wide; Johnnie tackled (as he does) effectively and relentlessly and the boys showed some grit to improve as the game  went on and fight back. Well done.

Belhaven  9 - 8  Craigclowan

MOTM: A hat-trick of tries in the final eight minutes to take the team to victory, means it goes to Henry. What a dummy!