Outnumbered boys are just pipped

Wigtownshire Youths 27

Moffat Youths 35

On Sunday the ’Shire youth section played host to Moffat RFC at London Road in Stranraer.

The game kicked off in bright sunshine with no wind to speak of, making it a a great day for running rugby. The spectators who gathered on the touchline were not to be disappointed.

This deadlock was broken by Kerr Hannah, who burst up the middle of the field, avoiding the covering tacklers to score under the posts. Scott Haazen stepped up to add the conversion.

From the kick-off, Wayne Doyle fielded the ball near the touchline and set off up the pitch. Despite the best efforts of the Moffat players, they were unable to stop him and he crossed in the corner for a fine solo try. Haazen added the conversion.

Moffat came back into the game, exploiting some weak rucking from the home side to win the ball. They then pressed home this advantage to score a try, which was converted. The home side were stung into action and made their way up field once more, pressing on the visitors’ line. Some inexperience was displayed in their attempts to maul, with upright body positions, resulting in a failure to capitalise on their possession. This was also evident when they faced a 22 dropout a short time later, allowing Moffat to break out and put pressure on the ’Shire line. A score was only prevented by great chasing back and using the touchline as an extra man to halt the advance.

With 25 minutes played, the home side were reduced to 12 men as Kerr Hannah had to leave the field through injury. Despite this, the ’Shire boys battled on and their efforts were rewarded when Paul Reid kicked from a defensive position. Kyle Knotts sprinted upfield and recovered the ball to continue on to score in the corner. The conversion attempt went wide and the referee ended the first half with ’Shire leading 19-7.

From the restart the home side continued where they left off, fielding the ball they set off up the pitch, good passing and support play resulted in Reid scoring a try in the corner, though the conversion slipped wide.

Moffat came back immediately, showing good ball retention and an ability to move it around. As time passed this was having an impact on the tiring ’Shire side. Eventually Moffat broke through to score under the posts, with the conversion added. From the kick-off they gathered the ball again and passed it along the line and fine side stepping skill put them clear to score again which was also converted. The score difference had been narrowed to three points.

From the kick-off, the home team set off towards the Moffat line again and were awarded a kickable penalty. Hazeen stepped up and added three points to extend the lead. As the game continued the gaps in the home defence grew as the boys tired from their efforts to close down the opposition. Moffat broke through again to score, with the conversion taking them into the lead for the first time. With the final play of the game, Moffat added to the score with a converted try and a final score of 27-35 to the visitors.

This was another spirited performance by the ’Shire boys, who continue to learn and grow with each game. They now progress into a league format for the remainder of the season and should do well if the effort shown on Sunday is anything to go by.

Team: W Doyle, T Birkett, E McCulloch, K Aitken, B Ross, L McCracken, N Wilson, P Reid, K Hannah, E Jamieson, S Haazen, S Henry, K Knott.