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MUNTLY U15S FLATTERED BY SCORE-LINE AFTER ERRATIC PERFORMANCE IN STOP-START CALEDONIA SHIELD QUARTER-FINAL
Wed 21st Feb 2018
Muntly U15s took on Dunfermline U15s at Huntly last Sunday in their Caledonia Shield Quarter-Final and secured victory despite an inconsistent performance.

Opening exchanges were dominated by errors from both sides with Muntly enjoying the slightest of advantages in terms of pressure and territory.

Muntly tackling pressure was reaping rewards and turnover ball; however infringements at the breakdown and over-complication when moving the ball was promptly handing possession back to Dunfermline.

As the half approached the third-way point Muntly started to grow into the match and with better Muntly discipline at the ruck, it was Dunfermline who found themselves on the wrong end of the referees whistle.

As play was brought back for an off-side infringement on the left, quick thinking full-back Tom Letch caught the Dunfermline defence napping and he quick tapped and darted over from short range to break the deadlock.

Still not quite firing on all cylinders, a similar pattern continued with Muntly pressure not being converted to points due to some sub-optimal decision making.

Muntly’s continuity was further disrupted after the early departure of back-rower Gregor Clark due to injury and a forced re-shuffle that saw centre Frankie Gillespie take on the No8 role.

With Dunfermline enjoying a better period of possession they started to enjoy some go-forward ball and use their backs to spread the ball wide to their speedy wingers.

Sharp defence and powerful tackling, particularly from Markus McBain saw them repelled backwards and even when Dunfermline did manage a line break, the Muntly cover was equal to the task of thwarting the attack.

Once again Muntly made good ground into the Dunfermline half and with pressure mounting, a defensive infringement at the ruck saw another Muntly short range penalty.

This time it was scrum-half George Lunn with the quick tap and pop to 2nd-row Jai O’brien, who squirmed his way over to score.

Muntly should have further stretched their lead when slick handling, after a McBain break down the right and, a switch left set, winger Ross Arnott away; a desperate lung by the Dunfermline cover saw a high tackle that resulted the full-back receiving a yellow card and spending 10 minutes in the sin-bin.

Once again a swift tap and go saw Muntly cross the line in the shape of prop Archie Wilson, only for him to be dispossessed in the act of touching down.

The loss of their full-back to the bin seemed to galvanise Dunfermline and they subsequently enjoyed their best period of pressure and territory.

Whilst camped deep in the Muntly 22, it was only desperate cover tackling, ground-work and scavenging, particularly from forwards O’Brien, Price, Gillespie and man-of-the-match John Rodwell that kept the attacking effort at bay.

Eventually, despite a series of infringements at the ruck (for which Muntly were quite lucky not receive a yellow card themselves), Muntly managed to secure a turnover and clear to touch to bring the half to a close.

With Euan Willetts having successfully converted both tries, Muntly led 14-0 at the break.

Dunfermline, back to full strength just before the break, showed that they were in no way going to lie down at the start of the second half.

Again, using width to try and stretch Muntly, they made in-roads deep into the 22 and had the Muntly defence scrambling, until an excellent jackal by Willetts secured turnover ball that was popped to Letch; spotting a gap on the breakdown fringes, he accelerated through and had sufficient pace to outstrip the defence from 90 metres to score his second of the afternoon.

Sensing that the game was now coming their way, Muntly landed a quick fire double to put the tie beyond doubt.

Better continuity, starting to work well through the phases and making better decisions at the breakdown, Muntly were starting to create space for the backs to run free.

Fly-half Innes parkin set Arnott free once more, and but for a last ditch Dunfermline cover tackle in the 22, he was in.

The subsequent scrum, an area where Muntly had struggled for most of the afternoon, saw Gillespie pick up at 8, whilst going backwards and still manage to find a gap to burst through and touch-down.

Subsequently, Letch collected the ball directly from the restart and once more spotted a gap, in the now weary Dunfermline kick-chase, to accelerate and run in from long range, to complete his hat-trick.

With the tie all but settled and Dunfermline now starting to fatigue, Moray ran in a further 3 tries in the last quarter of the match to somewhat flatter with regards to the score-line.

Firstly, after more assured counter-rucking and more turnover ball, Parkin set the younger McBain, Mylo, away on the left wing and he had pace to burn as he raced in from 80 metres.

Soon after, with Dunfermline trying to move the ball wide once more, but from a ragged breakdown, O’Brien picked off a pass to intercept and sprint in under the posts.

Finally, and with the bit now well and truly between their teeth, Prop Callum Hall hit a sublime short line on the fringe of the ruck to burst over under the posts with the last play of the game.

Willetts added 7 of 8 conversions to give a final score of 54-0 which was not a fair reflection of the quality and effort displayed by Dunfermline; whilst Muntly were deserved winners, there was plenty to work on and to take forward into the semi-final on the 11th of March.

Most pleasing for the Muntly coaches was a secure win whilst not playing at their best and the defensive effort across the entire squad of 22. In particular, the hard graft of the back row drew plaudits from the Dunfermline coaches.

Muntly U15s: Alex Logie (C), Archie Wilson, Callum Hall, Jai O’Brien, Charlie Anderson, Dylan Price, John Rodwell, Gregor Clark, George Lunn, Euan Willetts, Ross Arnott, Frankie Gillespie, Scott Cousar, Markus McBain, Tom Letch, Innes Parkin, Mylo McBain, , Fraser Whitecross, Roddy Manson, Lewis Hay, Iain Stuart, Josh Austin


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Caledonia 2 North

(2017/18 Results)
TEAM PLD PTS
Garioch 17 70
Ellon 18 66
Highland 2nd XV 16 64
Mackie Academy FP 18 63
Moray 18 53
Ross Sutherland 18 50
Ab'deen Gram 2XV 17 39
Shetland 15 19
Deeside 17 14
Stornoway 18 11

Last 1st XV Game

1st XV Season (2017/18)
Ross Sutherland 57 - 17 Moray
12th May 18 - KO: 15:00
Venue: Naval Grounds

Next 1st XV Game

Caledonia 3 North

(2017/18 2nd XV Results)
TEAM PLD PTS
North Police 18 83
Ab'deenshire 2nd XV 18 74
Kinloss Eagles 18 70
Huntly 19 58
Inverness CD 18 50
Gordonians 2nd Xv 17 49
Peterhead 17 35
Fraserburgh 18 19
Ab'deen Wdrs 2nd Xv 14 18
Moray 2nd XV 18 15
Dyce 18 7

Last 2nd XV Game

2nd XV Season (2017/18)
Inverness CD 48 - 10 Moray 2nd XV
12th May 18 - KO: 15:00
Venue: Canal Park

Next 2nd XV Game


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