Rab McHenry organised a team of P7s to go to this tournament at Scotstoun Stadium on Sunday 20th October. Our team was made up of regulars (Aaron, Adam, Alex, David, Dean, Ewan and Kyle) and a couple of new starts (Cammie and Matthew). The eight teams participating were arranged into 2 pools of 4 with the winners and 2nd in each pool getting the opportunity to play at half time in the Heineken Cup game between Glasgow Warriors V Exeter Chiefs on the main pitch in front of 6500 spectators.
We drew Oban, West of Scotland and Newton Stewart in our pool and our squad soon proved they were up for the challenge.
Dumfries dominated the first game against Oban and spent at least 7 minutes of the 8-minute game well into Oban’s half. Frustratingly we struggled to finish as Oban defended well. Our new player Cammie eventually found an opening with an inspired run and put it over the line. Unfortunately our eye came off the ball and we almost immediately conceded a try to Oban. This was the only time we let them into the game which was frustrating for all. The game ended 1 – 1.
The second game we knew would be hard against a well-drilled and well- supported West of Scotland 8 (with at least 8 subs!). From the start Dumfries had to defend well, with some solid tackling. Eventually the pressure told and West of Scotland made it across the line. Despite some good spoiling play and some well-supported runs the Westies defence just would not crack. To lose to West of Scotland 1 – 0 was not a bad result but it did not do justice to the effort our lads put in.
The pressure was on for the 3rd game. Dumfries had to make it count if we were going to enjoy the half-time limelight. Determined play saw tries from Cammie, Dean and a full length run from Alex. David also made a good run all the way to the try line but much to his dismay dropped the ball after crossing the line. Good supporting play from Aaron, Kyle and Ewan kept Newton Stewart on the back foot. A good result at 3-0 left us looking forward to a half time show down.
The game for 3rd place at half time on the main pitch was against Strathendrick and the boys were not overawed by the TV cameras. We started so well it looked like the Warriors might need to stay in the dressing room and let Dumfries finish the tie for them. After 6 minutes we were 2-0 up following tries from Ewan and Cammie. However we then sat back and let Strathendrick back into the game and lost 3-2 to a try in the final seconds.
The team should take heart that when we play well as a team we are up with the best. With Dumfries only having only 1 sub for each game everyone in the 9 man squad contributed with good support and solid tackling. Cammie and Matthew had outstanding debuts with Cammie scoring a try in all the games where we scored. Both players would be more than welcome to join the team on a more permanent basis.
The Warriors win was the icing on the cake to a good day. The fact that they got their act together in the second half was a lot to do with having watched Dumfries at half time.
Big thanks to Rab for organising and driving.