Belhaven Hill School

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

Boys Rugby U11A v Merchiston

Boys' Rugby: U11A v Merchiston

Belhaven U11 Rugby team draws again but the boys show courage and determination in the face of a large Merchiston team.

Another away match and the inevitable slow start to the game that comes from the bus journey. The boys were asked to focus on the game and to ensure that they had everything they needed. We ran out to the pitch after a quick team talk only to realise that three players had to return to the pavilion to collect their gum shields and another had forgotten their shorts. Not a great start, but surely it would improve.

It did, but the spectators had to wait a little while to see the Belhaven spirit come through. Merchiston had some strong boys that proved too big for us at the ruck - numerous attacks were disrupted and turnovers made. It required Charlie J to come on to manage the breakdown for us. He soon controlled the breakdowns, giving quick pops away from the ruck to runners coming at speed. However, our defensive structure cost us time and time again and we went into the half time break four tries to two down.

The defence in the second half improved and the attack was the best I have seen all season. With it being a 10-a-side match rather than 8s, there was less room for players to run around the outside, so it required good team tries to break through both defences. The tries scored were well-worked and the fact that many tries were scored in the corner is testament to both defences.

The game was on a knife edge, with one try in it and 3 minutes to play. Merchiston after some continued pressure scored in the corner for Belhaven heads to drop with a loss looking inevitable. However, the referee soon realised that the scorer of the Merchiston try should have been substituted off earlier and they had been playing with 11 men! As such, the try was disallowed and Belhaven restarted with one try needed to tie the game again.

The passion from the boys was exactly what was needed and after some fierce tackles and multi-phase play, Alfie touched down in the corner to level the scores. It was a fitting end to the season; Alfie has led the boys well throughout training sessions and matches and has racked up a quite ridiculous number of tries along the way. However, the strength in this team lies not in individuals, but in the collective. There is a core bunch of boys, both A & B players, that will prove to be a formidable force at U13s level. I just hope they remember their gumshields and shorts!

Result: Merchiston 6 – 6 Belhaven

Tries: Tommy, Archie R, Eck (2) and Alfie (2)

Man of the Match: Charlie J