U14 v Watsonians
This game started off late, due to the inability of the opposition to field a full strength team, and Stirling had to oblige with the donantion of two players, just to get this to a 14 a side contest. The day was warm and overcast, with good underfoot conditions on pitch three, and when it got going, it was fast and furious.
From kickoff, James Snowie fielded the high ball, and fed it inside to the well aligned backs, who put it immediately wide, and Andrew McLean ran it into the opposite corner from halfway. Sharp contrast from last week, and a joy to see the ball being moved quickly outside to exploit the space available.
Watsonians took the restart tap, and obviously did not get the memo about the tackle wall. Their strike runner was stuffed 5m into Stirling territory, and then unceremoniously carted back and dumped well into his own half. This set the tone up front, and Watsonians thereafter moved the ball wide at every opportunity.
Stirlings' forwards then took control of the midfield, and good rucking set up Wallace Nelson for a pick up and stride into score out wide emphasising the cohesion of the county packs' interplay.
The third try came from great improvisation and rush defence in the threequarters, when Fergus Fitzpatrick disrupted the opposition, then hacked through to scoop and score again in the corner. The three tries were unconverted from the three players who attempted the long conversions.
Number four was converted by Cameron Moore in front of the posts, after the forwards provided good and quick ball out the backlline, where Tommy Johnson cut in from fullback, and sidestepped the defence going in untouched under the sticks. The lesson was repeated with more good quick ball out to Andrew McLean, who felt the space, and ran deep from halfway, committing the defence, before offloading the scoring pass to Charlie Dineen who stretched his legs to run another under the posts. Moore duly obliged with the conversion.
At halftime, the score was 17-0 in Strlings favour, but Watsonians started the second half with renewed vigour, which manifested itself with some overzealous rucking, and niggling off the ball. Cameron Blakemore sorted this out, with help from Marshall Cuthbertson and the boys in the front row, while the back row kept the reinvigorated opposition from gaining yards with good midfield tackling. Watsons changed tactics, and tried to kick behind Stirling, only for Tommy Johnson to return the ball back into the opposition half several times.
The first score came from hard contested ball in the midfield, moved with speed and precision to Charlie Dineen who went in under the posts. Cameron Moore kept his 100% conversion rate up.
Stirling forwards then upped the pressure, and forced Watsonians to concede a penalty under the shadow of the posts, which only delayed the inevitable, as a quick pass and run by Blakemore set up Fitzpatrick to go over in the left corner.
Watsons scored with a power run through the forwards, in reply, and converted to give them renewed impetus. They repeated the medicine again a few minutes later, with a carbon copy score, which was also converted. Watsons kept up this late pressure and scored out wide through their backs, for another unconverted try, before James Snowie had the final say with a textbook tackle that stopped the oppositions revival, and any further scoring.
Final score Stirling 24-10 Watsonians.
The man of the match award is for a unit that did the hard work in setting the tone and keeping up the workrate to provide the platform for the rest of the team to operate from. Ross Murray, Bryce Robertson and Angus Coopers contribution cannot be overlooked as the starting point of so much good play. Special thanks, on his first game refereeing ,go the Neil Mclean, who handled a sometimes unneccessarily volatile game, with fairness, born of experience at a high level of club rugby.
report by Paul Johnson.
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