Scottish Schools Cup | U16 Shield, Plate and Bowl Finals
It was a busy afternoon on the back pitches of BT Murrayfield as the Schools Cup Final got underway with three thrilling matches. Edinburgh sides, Royal High School and Stewart Melville's College, claimed victory in their games and Galashiels Academy clinched a narrow win in an action-packed encounter.
U16 BOWL: Royal High School 49-10 South Argyll Schools
In the U16 Bowl on Pitch 2 at BT Murrayfield, Royal High took on South Argyll Schools.
Royal High’s Sean Calder opened the scoring with his sides first attack before Justin Akugbo doubled their lead with a great blind-side run to go over in the corner. Both conversions were missed.
Kyle Cargill brought South Argyll back into it with a try - much to the delight of their travelling support - but the conversion was also missed.
Royal High then took command of the encounter with three tries before half-time, courtesy of Ross McArther, Joshua Bain and a second for the impressive Akugbo, with the scoreboard showing 25-5 at the break.
HALF-TIME: Royal High School 25-5 South Argyll Schools
Conditions were testing for slick handling rugby, but Royal High put on a fine display as the rain continued to fall, with Justin Akugbo recording his hat-trick at the start of the second half powering over the whitewash.
Kasper Allan added another try for Royal High not long after Akugbo’s, to put the contest to bed before Alister Johnston ran in another. Cargill scored his second of the match as a consolation.
Royal High finished off the match on top with a further two scores by Sean Calder and Johnston ahead of the final whistle with the score 49-10.
FULL-TIME: Royal High School 49-10 South Argyll Schools
U16 PLATE: Galashiels Academy 17-15 Oban High School
alashiels Academy edged past a plucky Oban High School side to claim victory in the U16 Schools Plate final at BT Murrayfield.
It was a closely fought encounter which saw both sides battle in tough wintery conditions.
Gala were first on the scoreboard when centre Kerr Johnstone cantered down the touchline to score in the corner (5-0).
Oban’s response was prompt, however, as the west coast side rallied and scored two tries courtesy of Blair MacFarlane and Naithan McCulloch. Both conversion attempts fell short (5-10).
HALF-TIME: Galashiels Academy 5-10 Oban High School
After the interval, Oban continued to dominate the proceedings and with momentum growing, the side claimed their third try when Kenni Gray dotted down on the line (5-15).
Galashiels retaliated when Matt Reid burst through the defence to power over the whitewash. The score deficit was reduced to just three points as Reid converted his own try (12-15).
In the closing stages of the game, Gala launched themselves into action once again and it wasn't long until the ball found Gregor Collins who crashed over the line to bring the Borders side into the lead (17-15).
As the clock approached full-time, Oban mounted a last gasp attack and were agonisingly close to scoring but a knock-on brought an end to their attempted comeback.
FULL-TIME: Galashiels Academy 17-15 Oban High School
U16 SHIELD: Earlston High School 0-41 Stewart’s Melville College
It was a tough game for Earlston High School who put in a tenacious performance but struggled to contain the accuracy and attacking play of Stewart’s Melville College.
Earlston got the game underway, kicking towards the tram line, but Stewart’s Melville were soon enjoying possession and worked their way into the opposition’s 22. An accurate line-out turned into a rolling maul and the Edinburgh side got the first points on the board care of lock Gregor Thomson (0-5). Co-captain Matt Russell converted (0-7).
Stewart’s Melville looked in control following the restart and it wasn’t long before another line-out was the catalyst for a try, this time by prop Theo Marcus (0-12). Earlston stepped up a gear in defence but attempts to get on the front foot were stifled by the wet conditions and slippery ball. Stewart’s Melville’s attacking play created chances and into the second quarter centre Dan King touched down (0-17) with Russell adding the extras (0-19).
Earlston pressed into their opponents’ half, going through the phases to vocal support from their Borders fans, but Stewart’s Melville went from a scrum inside their own 22 to quickly shifting the ball to the opposite end of the pitch where full-back Robert Wilson crossed the whitewash (0-24) before Russell converted once more (0-26).
HALF-TIME Earlston High School 0-26 Stewart’s Melville College
Earlston returned to the pitch looking focused but couldn’t contain Wilson who powered through the defence to score his second try of the afternoon (0-31). There were no signs of energy levels flagging on either side and Earlston saw off a kick-and-chase to win possession and shift the momentum of the game in their favour for a period.
It was Stewart’s Melville who won the next score, with number 8 Robert Gordon getting over the line (0-36). Despite the widening scoreline, Earlston showed no signs of giving up and managed to win the scrum deep in Stewart Melville’s 22.
Possession see-sawed between the two sides in the closing quarter before Stewart’s Melville sealed the victory as replacement James Mather put the final points on the board (0-41).
FULL-TIME Earlston High School 0-41 Stewart’s Melville College