Saints – reach Plate Final at Islay Beach Rugby
Last weekend Saints sent a strong team to the Islay Rugby Club’s “Eat Sand 4 – last man standing” Beach Rugby event. .
The team resplendent in their new customised strips did extremely well over the event finishing runners up in the Plate final.
This event, which comprised of a total of 20 men’s teams and 10 women’s teams, is growing in stature yearly and comprises of an 8 minute game on beautiful silver but strength sapping sand and a pitch 15 metres wide by 25 metres long.
With only five players per team on the pitch at a time the hits are big and spectacular and the Saints Fijian contingent proved the biggest hitters of all. Playing in a natural amphitheatre at Port Ellen beach the baying of the crowd makes the playing area feel like a Roman Gladiator arenaâ€¼. As a result thirty players were treated by the on-site medical team but thankfully no one from the Saints team was involved!
Drawn in one of the strongest groups Saints started by beating Strathendrick 5 -3 before overcoming last year’s finalists Loch Lomond by 5 – 4. Oban Lorne were next up and comprehensively beaten 8 -2. In the final group match Saints came up against the eventual runners up Stirling University who fielded an extremely mature looking squad. With Saints losing that tie by 5 – 1 they progressed into the plate event as the group runners up.
In the Plate semi Final Saints disposed of Greenock Wanderers by a 4 – 1 scoreline paving the way for the Plate final where Saints came up against the event sponsors big boys Bruichladdich Distillery aka Premier 1 team Melrose including two U 21 internationals and eight premier 1 regulars in their midst.
Despite a gallant effort Saints, viewed as underdogs, and cheered on by the entire 1500 crowd, inevitably but courageously went down to the superior fire power of the Bruichladdich outfit by 12 – 5.
It what was a squad performance it would be unfair to single out individual performances but the younger players, Davidson, Burgess, Minty, Lethardy and Riddick showed their potential which augers well for next season.
Saints squad; Richie Davidson (Captain); Gil Leyva (Player coach), Andy Clanachan; James McDonald; Stuart Burgess; Graeme Minty; Stevie Lethardy; Keith Riddick; Vili Sitala; Peni Asholo; Zorro Dikolo
For the record Ardbeg Distillery aka West of Scotland won the main tournament beating Saints group winners Stirling University in the final.
Squad with Sunrise Conservatories representative David Buglass (bottom left)