Deeside U18 continued in their winning ways on Saturday with a home win against Orkney by 29 points to 15. Orkney had a big pack and with Deeside starting with two flankers in their second row, Orkney were expected to have an advantage in the tight. However, Chris Ballantyne and Jack Duncan made up for their lack of bulk through sheer effort and Deeside's front row of Scott Beatie, Angus Hart and Angus Wallace provided a solid platform to win good possession. In open play, Deeside had a clear advantage with good runners in both the backs and forwards who linked up and supported each other to keep the ball alive. Tom Christie particularly stood out with his ability to get in support of the ball carrier, take some difficult off-loads and continue the move, while Rob Hessell was first to most breakdowns and won good possession on the ground. In the backs, Glen Taylor had a lively game at scrum half with half an eye for the break and any number of tackles around the fringes. Glen claimed the opening score, breaking close to the scrum and squirming over the try line, after several phases of attacking play had taken Deeside to within ten metres of the try line. Malcolm Diack kicked the conversion.
Throughout the game, George Watt looked comfortable at fly half, generally launching his back line, but with some good kicks to relieve pressure and half breaks to challenge the defence. Tobias Chochrane-Dyet and Harvey Macaulay provided a solid mid-field partnership and gave John McGowan opportunities to show his paces on the wing. However, it was Deeside's best attacking player, Nick Harper at full back, who scored next. His pace and lines of running challenged the defence all game and when he spotted a gap in the middle of the pitch no-one was going to catch him before the try line. Nick Harper also set up the third Deeside try with another pacy run. Winger Lewis Reid tracked the run and when the cover defence caught Nick, his off load allowed Lewis to cut back against the direction of play to score under the posts, from which the conversion was a formality. A forth try was the reward for further good interplay, with the ball passed out to the right wing and centre Harvey Macaulay looped around to create the overlap and touch down in the corner.
The second half was more even as Orkney shook the long journey from their limbs and started to make progress through some powerful ball carrying by their hooker, tight head prop and outside centre. A number of changes of personnel disrupted Deeside's rhythm and they struggled to combine as effectively as in the first half. There continued to be good individual performances, though. Replacement prop Melvin McAskill made his presence felt in both the tight and defending the breakdown, Murray Hoare was lively in open play and wings Chris Long and Kyle Dawson stopped several attacks with telling tackles, as did lewis Reid who was called on to step into the centre. However, Orkney were allowed to open their account through a silly penalty for back-chat; and they followed this up with a try on the wing when the Deeside defence ran out of numbers. Despite this set back, Deeside took play back up towards the Orkney try line where repeatedly they drove for the line only to be tackled just short, before Chris Ballentyne drove through the defensive wall for the try. Orkney came back from this to claim the final score with a short range try which was converted, but it was too late to alter the result.
Deeside from: Beatie, Hart, Wallace, Duncan, Ballentyne, Christie, Hessell, Diack, Taylor, Watt, Reid, Chochrane-Dyet, Macaulay, McGowan, Harper, McAskill, Hoare, Long, Dawson