The Dumfries S1/S2 development squad has expanded throughout the year. Last weekend the squad split and took two separate teams to the Glasgow Warrior sponsored S1 and S2 Festivals in and around Glasgow. 45 teams took part from the West of Scotland at four different venues.
Dumfries S1 (U13) played three games at East Kilbride RFC against Kilmarnock, East Kilbride and Cumbernauld
The thirteen boys in the team put in a fantastic performance. They won two games and lost one against physically much larger opposition. They put a game plan together aimed at keeping the larger opposition moving and it paid dividends. The recent weeks of rucking practice were excellently executed in wide positions. Passing and support were the key skills of the day backed up by tenacious tackling.
Best try for Dumfries came from a scrum against East Kilbride. Two passes later a quick ruck set up by Fraser Lethardy led to a Donald Kennedy break, another two passes and a super offload by Duncan Blandford put Sean Wicks over in the corner to score his first try for Saints in his debut game.
Tackle of the tournament came in the same game. Ben Wicks covered about 30 meters to perfectly execute a side on driving tackle in another great debut performance.
To top off the afternoon Dumfries were awarded the Fairplay and skills trophy which was presented to team captain Ian Carlisle by the 6 foot 8 inch Glasgow Warrior and Scotland lock, Richie Gray.
Team coaches were delighted with the overall performance. This feisty U13 team are gaining confidence and skills as the season progresses. To return from their first foray into the central belt this season with a trophy is an admirable achievement which brought several requests from other teams for fixtures next season.
Meanwhile the U14’s headed to Whitecraigs under the guidance of Rab McHenry and Sharon Gracie (Connor’s mum) and were drawn against Biggar, Lomond (Helensburgh) and East Kilbride in 3 15 minute games.
With only 14 players due to a late call off and injury to Kyle Lindsay. Saints changed some players round in positions but with key players in the correct positions the coaches were confident of the boys doing well.
In the first game v Biggar, Dumfries tactics were clear secure the ball and get it to our wingers Jack Pybus and Russell McQueen. With Callum Fitzpatrick moving to 10 within the first minute the ball went through the hands for the aforesaid winger RussellMcQueen to run the full half to score. Callum converted. Biggar had no answer to the pace Saints play at and Callum Fitzpatrick was next to break away to score. Ryan Sarahs converted. Biggar did not learn from that move so Saints did it again for the same result and scorers.
The other teams watching this game had taken note of Dumfries strengths as Biggar were favourites to do well in the tournament but never made it into the Saints 22 during the game.
The way the draw worked, Saints had an hour to wait before playing Lomond and were caught cold by a large pack and they scored in the corner. Not to be out done the determined young Saints stormed back with a sprint away by Jack Pybus, followed swiftly by a sniping run by Paul Gibson at scrum half and Callum again completed the scoring at the end, one converted by Ryan Sarahs.
A lot of the Glasgow Warriers players were now over talking to the young Saints and interacting with them. This gave them great encouragement against the unbeaten East Kilbride large side. But Saints stuck to their game plan and when EK kicked deep into Saints 22 Russell McQueen ran the full length of the pitch inter weaving tackles to do a switch move with Jack Pybus to score under the posts, this try was applauded by the Warriors players. Ryan converted. Paul Gibson scored a typical scrum half try in the corner from a well worked ruck in the corner. Russell finally got on the score sheet with a well worked move with the ball going along the line and Russell cut in to score under the posts for Ryan to convert.
What a fantastic result for the boys and it was great to see the Warrier players interacting with the young Saints and when it was announced that the Saints also won the Fair Play and skills Trophy and Callum Fitzpatrick won the player of the tournament everybody was delighted. Callum received the trophy from Alistair Kellock the Scotland Captain, a great moment for Callum.
Squad; Jack McHenry, Conner Gracie, Ben Herries, Ben McCrudden, Josh Ferguson, Declan O’Donnell, Edward Jackson, Paul Gibson, Callum Fitzpatrick, Jack Pybus, George Nairn, Ben Hyslop, Russell McQueen, Ryan Sarahs.
Any S1 or S2 boys wanting to join these successful Saints squads and try out rugby please contact Duncan Kennedy on 07860 474001; firstname.lastname@example.org or Rab McHenry on email@example.com 07795 552701.
The S1squad after winning the Fairplay and Skills cup at the East Kilbride event with Scotland star Richie Gray
The S2 Squad at Whitecraigs event with Scotland player Max Evans