Club News | 6th Feb 2023
A trip to sunny Ayrshire was on the cards for the Stewartry mini-section on Sunday, and a sizable contingent made the journey to Maybole to take on Carrick Rugby Club, clearly buoyed by the national team’s success against the auld enemy.
After separating into P6 and P7 teams the previous week, it was back to the more conventional combined team this week, with a blend of experienced and new players taking to the pitch for three 15-minute games.
With the sun on their backs, Stewartry started positively, and tested the Carrick defence early, but strong home defence kept them at bay, with some solid hits and well organisedbreakdown work forcing early Stewartry errors, enabling them to get turnover ball to start their own attack. The big Carrick runners took some tackling, but great physicality from Captain-for-the-day Jack, Freddie, Lily and Aiden kept them under control and the game was well balanced, with the defences from both teams staying on top. The deadlock was broken mid-way through the match however, when Lily tookthe ball in the middle of the park and drawing inspiration from Duhan van der Merwe the day before, scorched through the Carrick defence, scoring in the corner. From the re-start, the Stewartry defence absorbed the big hits again, forcing another turnover and allowing a virtually identical try for Lily in the same corner. The Stewartry tails were up now, and another try followed swiftly after with Freddie making it 3-0 in the same corner, using his pace to get outside the home defence after some good handling from Annie, Ciaran and Gregor. Although the scoresheet was in Stewartry’s favour, it was by no means a one-sided contest, and the team had to work hard in defence and attack. Fresh legs from the plentiful subs bench allowed Freddie’s twin brother Alfie to get on the scoresheet twice in quick succession, once again using the excellent pace and running lines to stretch the Carrick defence and allow Stewartry to take the first game 5-0.
Game two saw the Stewartry team play into the low winter sun, and saw a much better organised Carrick attackdominating possession and forcing Stewarty back towards their try line. However, positive work from Murray, Zander and Tyler and Ewan in knocking down the opposition runners, allowed Lily to pickpocket the ball from the breakdown, step through the defensive line and score from deep against the run of play. The Carrick team were not to be disheartened though, and from the re-start stretched the visitors defence, crisply recycling the ball and allowing a well-deserved score in the corner. There was more pressure to follow, after some over-enthusiasm in the ruck area incurred a series of penalties. Nevertheless, the team stood up to this and dug deep, allowing Arthur, Gregor and Tyler to advance up the pitch and release Rory to use his mazy running and pace to take the score to 2-1. With discipline in the breakdown restored, Stewartry managed to gain another turnover and release Sam to race away up the touchline and just stay in field to score in the corner. Another was to follow shortly, with great offloading and passing finding Jacob who gave a side stepping masterclass to ghost his way over for a superb tryrounding off a 4-1 victory.
The final game saw the big Carrick team starting to tire (but never give up) and the Stewartry team start to click more coherently in their playmaking, Alfie scored two in quick succession, with the second resulting from a great kick-chase which saw the ball pop up beautifully from Rory’s clearing kick. Carrick hit back though, keeping them in the hunt, but tries from Ciaran and Sam soon broke the home resolve and with Murray’s line break and pace adding a fourth, the match was more or less over as a contest. There was just time though for Murray’s younger brother Euan to add a brace of his own – a just reward following his excellent tackling performance throughout. The final match finished 7-1 to Stewartry.
Although the scorelines flattered the visitors, it was not a walkover by any means, and credit to Carrick for working hard throughout and making it a game played in a really positive spirit with smiles all round at the final whistle. Excellent refereeing from the Carrick development officer also helped the game flow and encourage the kids to have areally enjoyable match. Thanks to Carrick for hosting, and to all parents and coaches for supporting the players on the day.