NATIONAL YOUTH CUP RUGBY, U16’s, DUMFRIES v MORAY, SUNDAY 26th OCTOBER 2008.
Moray took to the road on Saturday and travelled down from their stop off in Lanark on Sunday to face a strong Dumfries under 16 team who were hungry for a game after Kilmarnock failed to get a team across to Park Farm the weekend before.
The odd wet squally shower and soft conditions underfoot suited this squad of rucking and mauling orientated boys. The official scoreline of 67 unanswered points was a fitting testament to the coaching staff and boys commitment to this style of rugby and provided much entertainment for the loyal supporters.
Forwards domination, resolute backs defence and pace in attack from all positions meant the score line kept ticking upwards unabated. The first of eleven official tries came through linking forwards and backs at pace with intelligence culminating in Dodds squirming over from a close range sprint to line. Not long after the kick off, again after good forwards inter play and support the ball came out to Auld who first straightened the line of attack and then received at pace and with clever angle to his run romped over under the posts. The second of six conversions was kicked, kicking duties being shared between Auld, Steel and Kerr.
Tries continued to appear from all areas and at the end of the day ten boys crossed the line to score. Generally play was kept tight with Dumfries remembering not to commit too many to the breakdown situation leaving forwards and backs the freedom to come onto well fed balls by Steel with support players all around. Occasionally the ball was spun giving Auld, Armstrong and Wickes the opportunity to test the central defences of Moray. Moray could only come up with so many answers for these strong runs and clever angles and struggle to contain Dumfries.
To their credit, Moray never appeared to be heads down. A disciplined side with talented players, they always moved the ball through hands at speed and with ambition, thwarted only by a committed Dumfries defensive line which never looked short of players out wide leaving Moray little opportunity. Dumfries coach will, however, be asking why on a number of occasions his boys were rucked off the ball despite the power of the Dumfries forwards.
Steel got hurt at the base of the scrum after getting sucked in and the influential play maker took to the side lines. Dumfries were quick to reorganise and continued to provide quality ball to runners coming on to the ball from close in or indeed having it spun out to the centres. Dumfries seemed to have a move for every occasion.
Continued hard running by Goodridge at wing, but once coming from one wing to the other left him damaged and another substitution was required. Again this did not seem to affect Dumfries who continued to be hungry to score late on in the game.
Templeton at the back of the scrum was finding breaking with the ball and direct running quite profitable, scoring two tries for his considerable effort. Kelly was on as winger for long enough to go over twice also but could have had more if he had been fully awake to his potential. Olney continued to impress with committed defence and big hard gains when running with ball in hand and managed to crash over with power in reserve. Huxam had work to do for his try and it was a finger tip stretch that saw him get it, Moray players brushed aside before hand in his effort. Paterson poached a ball off the ground from the backs close in to step over for his score, but he had to be there to get it so probably deserved it after his running. Armstrong gifted himself his place on the scorers list, just breaking tackles with men out side to go over. Wickes crashed through players having taken the ball at speed and flat footed the full back for a good try. Steel was alert to every potential and gave himself the honours from a short run close to the breakdown of ball.
No boy should be discredited after this performance, Captain Graham filled his boots with honour again, getting a little frustrated at not getting a score but keeping the team focussed and thinking about the game to the end. Full back position was well and truly covered. Kerr looking comfortable wherever he is in the backs giving way to Hyslop at fifteen who was also equal to the job. Unflappable under the high balls and with vision out of defence, both players were up to the job. Front and second rows were tight all day at the scrum. The front row up against bigger boys but they made them look plain. Second row players
McGarracher and Murray solid all day, McGarracher fresh from an early morning flight picking off ball in the line out at will.
Final score officially 67-0, unofficially 72-0. Maybe one was scored on the wrong side of the referee. He will be let off, he allowed play to flow and for the boys to enjoy the occasion.
Dumfries will need a performance like this one and more if they are to overcome Ayr away next week when it is back to league duties. Forwards and backs coaching staff will be encouraged by this performance but will find enough to improve to make Wednesday training as demanding as ever.