Border’s rugby is renowned for its skill and passion, so travelling four hours south to play Selkirk in the National Bowl quarter final was a daunting prospect for Deeside U16. Caledonia regional training has also put heavy demands on the squad with four players admirably committing to the journey following a two hour training session in Stirling. With only ten minutes for the four late arrivals to warm up, the spectators may have expected a sluggish and disjointed start from Deeside but they got nothing of the sort with Deeside wanting to prove that their passion for rugby and their ability to play as a team for each other is second to none. Conditions were perfect for a fast open game and the width of the Selkirk pitch offered acres of space to attack. With only 8 minutes on the clock Deeside struck first with one of the best tries of the afternoon. The ball was moved along the backline from a lineout, handling was slick and as Selkirk put in the tackles Deeside offloaded keeping the ball alive and moving forward and as Angus Rennie joined the line for his second touch of the ball in this attack enough space opened up at last in the Selkirk defence for the first score of the game. Luke Earle-Wright converted. With continued Deeside pressure Selkirk conceded a penalty for not releasing and another three points were added. With a ten point cushion Deeside were settled into the game, but Selkirk also began to settle and their attacks and counter attacks began to grow in confidence and effectiveness. With all the width of the Selkirk pitch, Deeside were expecting many more attacks out wide, but when Selkirk did go for the space option Deeside’s defence shook but held with Kyle Dawson and Lewis Read marshalling the defence. Despite continued advice from the local spectators, most of Selkirk’s attacks took a more direct route but the speed of Deeside’s defensive lines in the centre prevented any build up of momentum. George Watt was in fine form at outside centre, cutting down space in defence and running some good angles in attack. Deeside’s tactical kicking was mostly on target, Selkirk’s less so and when a kick into the Deeside half was counter kicked by Sam Morris playing at full back, Rennie was quickly up to compete for the ball. Rennie out-jumped the Selkirk wing waiting to receive the kick and had the power and pace to evade a desperate tackle attempt by the Selkirk full back, to run in for his and Deeside’s second try, converted 0:17, with 24 minutes played. Selkirk finished the half stronger, at last finding the self belief to break through the Deeside defence, and a score with only six minutes of the half remaining was the last of the first half the sides turning round at 7:17
Low sun and a mild breeze we no longer in Deeside’s favour and Selkirk found renewed energy for their attacks. Scoring first, a comeback looked possible. Realising that they had to raise their game in order seal a win, Deeside response was immediate. A series of quick balls distributed right and left by scrum half Matthew Hillier moved the team to within striking distance and flanker Josh Gomez linked into the line to score the try. Scrummaging was much improved following the previous weeks work at the scrummaging machine and the front row trio of Melvin McAskill, Angus Hart and captain Angus Wallace had good control of most of the scrums. The final two scores were both Deeside’s, and both scored by Rennie, showing more than just luck to pop up in the right place at the right time. Although to be fair to Selkirk, the referee was generous to have a judged a fumbled ball as not knocked on in the last of the two scores. We thank Selkirk for their excellent hospitality and a tough and competitive game.
This win takes Deeside in to the semi-final of the National Bowl, with everything to play for to take the team and the club into its first National final. This coming Sunday 13th Deeside face Moray in the quarter final of the Caley cup in Elgin. Although they will be without their Caley players who will be called away to training once again, the coaches are confident that the squad has both the character and the ability to win.
Deeside: Alexander Taylor, Matthew Hillier, George Watt, Josh Gomez, Luke Earle-Wright, Angus Wallace, Bradley Buchan, Thomas Christie, Angus Hart, Melvin McAskill, Sam Morris, Lewis Reid, Angus Rennie, John McGowan, Kyle Dawson, Chris Ballantyne.