Sunday 22nd Jan 2017 Stewartry U14 XV 54 v 5 Newton Stewart U14 XV
After the winter break these two protagonists resumed their competition but this time without their U15 players. It was time for the younger generation of players to stand up and be counted.
Newton Stewart kicked off and the pattern of the next two periods of play was established fairly quickly. Stewartry fielded the kicks and without a pressing kick chase had time to run the ball back and look for gaps in the Newton Stewart defence. Invariably the Stewartry runners broke the first line of tacklers and then it was a case of whether they could find a way to the line or be hauled down by the retreating defence.
The big Stewartry runners made good ground with almost every carry, Fin Telfer and Fin Baillie sharing 6 tries between them. Other tries came from Peter Young with and a maiden score from Zak Hunter.Connor Clanachan will be disappointed to miss out on the scoring, having followed the ball carrier over the line several times and never getting the scoring pass despite the lung busting distances covered.
Peter Young had his kicking boots on and converted 7 of the tries, only struggling with the distance when kicking from near the touch line.
Huge amount of support work was done by Thomas Unthank, Paddy Traynor and Fraser Gibson as well as good attacking runs from Kerr Dalrymple and Murray Connor. Max Phillips stepped up to play scrum half and eventually adjusted well to the pace of the game.
For once the scrummage was a source of Stewartry strength, with several takes against the head, and testament to the technical training that the players have done in the winter break. Next week they will have the opportunity to test their new lineout ploys.
Credit must be given to Newton Stewart for their scramble defence which often scragged players down who thought they were through. Despite being on the back foot for much of the match, when the opportunities arose they were keen to exploit them. The best effort being a long arcing run to score which exposed the Stewartry tackling.
In the third period of play it is customary for the teams to be more experimental with players and positions and use the opportunity for a bit of training.
Stewartry took off two of their stronger runners and moved Peter Young into scrum half from where he used the opportunity of a stable scrum in the Newton Stewart 22 to break blind and beat the cover to score a try. Newton Stewart then had their best period off play, frustrating the Stewartry attacks and turning the ball over on the halfway line. This gave them the opportunity to move the ball to the left and, after a good kick chase, dot the ball down for an unconverted try. From the subsequent kick off Stewartry failed to press as a line and the Newton Stewart number 13 collected the ball on his own 22, evaded several tacklers by running round them and then went the length of the pitch to score a try. Boys must remember to keep switched on regardless of it being a development period.
With pressure coming from the coaches, Stewartry started to try to pass the ball and created two tries on the right after moves that involved numerous pairs of hands.