The competitive rugby season got under way last Saturday in Invergordon
with the Ross annual 10's competition, sponsored by Ardgay Game. Highland
Greens and Caithness who both played in National Division 2 last season
were favourites to win the competition, with Ross Sutherland Stags and RAF
Lossiemouth expected to run them close. Highland Reds who won the
divisional North West league last season were the dark horses of the
competition and Craig Dunain and Ross Wild Cats teams were expected to
offer lively and competitive opposition. Following the recent poor weather,
on the day of the event the sun shone throughout for a most enjoyable
Group A brought the first surprise of the day when Lossiemouth beat
Highland Greens to the top spot and went through to the semi finals as
winners of the group, Highland Greens playing in the other semi as runners
up of Group A.
Group B brought further surprises when first Ross Stags beat Caithness, but
then Highland Reds lived up to their reputation as dark horses by beating
both Ross and Caithness to go through to the semi's as Group winners.
This brought both Highland teams together in the first semi final and
although Highland Greens were firm favourites, the Reds team ran out
comfortable winners playing with a mix of youth and experience along with a
pair of Fijians who were in impressive form. Ross Sutherland Stags had a
difficult game in the other semi final against a strong Lossiemouth team
but tries from young players Michael Gordon (2) and Jake Eaglesham helped
the hosts reach the final with a 17 - 12 win. Ross had won the competition
for the past two seasons but it was clear this season would be a more
difficult task. Caithness had some consolation when they beat Ross Wild
Cats in the bowl final prior to the main event.
In the final, Ross Stags go off to the best possible start with another try
from Jake Eaglesham but the Highland Reds soon hit back with two tries to
take a 14 - 7 lead which they held until the last few minutes in a close
and tough final. The Highland stand -off then worked a dummy scissors with
his Fijian centre and turned on the accelerator to score an outstanding try
that killed off the Ross resistance and gave the Highland team a deserved
21 - 7 victory.
10-a-side games are popular with the coaches as preparation for the
15-a-side game and the league programme opens up on Sat 3rd Sept when Ross
Sutherland Stags play Lochaber and Ross Sutherland Wild Cats play Moray
II's, both games in Invergordon. The leagues have been restructured for the
coming season and the Stags team, with continued sponsorship from JP
Knight, will play in the Caledonia Division 2 North while the newly formed
Wild Cats team, sponsored by MF Marine will play in the Caledonia Division
3 NW league.
Next Saturday (20th August) Ross Sutherland Stags travel to Blairgowrie to
compete in another 10's competition. Meanwhile the Wild Cats will play a
friendly away to Craig Dunain. The Club have a target of 50 squad players
to run two teams and will be actively recruiting to reach this number.
Training takes place in Invergordon on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 7pm
and new players are welcome.
The Junior Club start back to training on Saturday morning (20th) and all
ages from 8 to 18 are invited, 10am - 12pm. The competitive season gets
under way early this season with U18's due to play their first game on Sat
27th August and U16 and U15 teams due to play on Sunday 28th August.