Merchi Muscle In On Under-16 Cup Glory

Merchiston Castle School won the 2012 Brewin Dolphin Scottish Schools’ Cup U16s final with a bruising 10-5 win over Strathallan at Murrayfield Stadium tonight.

Merchiston Castle School won the 2012 Brewin Dolphin Scottish Schools’ Cup U16s final with a bruising 10-5 win over Strathallan at Murrayfield Stadium tonight.

The match was a classic example of pace and guile versus power and structure, with the latter earning the silverware at full-time.

Man of the match winning second-row, Alistair Middleton, said: "It's unelievable, it's unlike anything we've ever felt - the emotions are just runing right through all the boys.

"To be honest I think our fitness and sheer determination-to-win got us through it - it's a big pitch with a lot of running and needed a huge effort from everyone.

"It's been coming for much more than a season, we've been preparing for this for several seasons, we've woked so hard on our fitness, especially at the breakdown and winning ball.

"It just means so much."

The first period was a real half of two halves, the first dominated by accuracy and strength, the second by Strathallan's speed and dynamism.

Merchiston started strong, their direct approach getting across the Strathallan line after just eight minutes, when open-side flanker Benjamin Kenderdine powered over from short range to score.

Full-back Jamie Gillan missed the chance to add the extras, handing a life-line to their spirited opponents who, despite the difference in size, were never found wanting in the tackle and body-on-the-line department.

Ten minutes later the crowd was on their feet as Strathallan looked for the score they craved; full-back Callum Nicol burst through and on to a defence splitting grubber from John Henderon to be called back for offside.

With their tails up, the mobile Strathallan side identified the need to move the ball and not get sucked into an arm wrestle.

Twice this tactic got them back to the Merchiston five metre only for the last line of defence to hold firm and see out the half.


HALF TIME: Merchiston Castle School 5-0 Strathallan

The second-half started much as the first, with Merchiston exerting early pressure through second-rows Saunders Richardson and Middleton and the 10/12 axis of Fraser Ellison and Tom Bissett.

It was through sheer graft that Merchiston worked their way deep into Strathallan territory.

Time and time again Strathallan repelled the Merchiston machine, holding up a try before eventually conceding a second from short range as open-side flanker Jamie Maran crashed over on the far side for the unconverted score (10-0).

Strathallan’s attempts to chase the game appeared to be thwarted by the yellow card of open-side James Burdett though, despite the man disadvantage, second-row Alfonso Ramos showed great pace to touch down at the corner.

The pace and the combative nature of the match was clearly beginning to take its toll with ten minutes to spare and, with that, Merchiston were able to use their tactical nous and strength to see out the game for the memorable win.

FULL TIME: Merchitson Castle School 10-5 Strathallan

 Strathallan: Callum Nichol; Johnny Rutherford, Harry Tyson, Connor Holborn, Harry Thomson; Josh Henderson CAPTAIN, Pat Rumble; Rob Muir, Jack Waller, Hermes Manos, Fraser Buchan, Alfonso Ramos, Cameron Hirst, James burrett, Greig Meiklem
Substitutes: Lewis Steele, Michael Chan, Curtis Taylor, Finlay Stewart, Duncan Cook, Colin Gregor

Merchiston Castle School: Jamie Gillan; Alex Ogilvy, Tim Harvey, Tom Bissett, Alistair White; Fraser Ellison, Daniel Nutton CAPTAIN, George Tarr, Hamish Burns, John Lascelles, Saunders Richardson, Alistair Middleton, Jamie Maran, Bejamin  Kerderdine, Kyle Macormac
Substitues: Aled Evans, Tom Henderson, max Oliver, Jack MacDonald, Lewis Baird, Hamish Ellis, Louise Tang