Lack of player availability left Newton Stewart RFC with no choice but to cancel their planned preseason match away to Melrose Storm on Saturday 13th August.
This was a great disappointment to all concerned, particularly the players themselves who had eagerly anticipated the opportunity to play at the famous Greenyards stadium.
Nevertheless, another opportunity presented itself in the form of a last minute invitation to compete at the annual Moffat 10s tournament. Ten players proved easier to find than fifteen, and the invitation was accepted. Six teams play in the tournament. Two pools of three were drawn and each team played the two others in their group before the top two teams from each pool progressed to the semi-finals.
Newton Stewart RFC drew Earlston RFC and Annan RFC in their pool. Annan RFC were dispatched 55-0 in the first game, followed 30 minutes later by a 62-0 thrashing of Earlston RFC. Neither team looked to cause Newton Stewart any difficulties at all, and indeed the Reds did little to no defending in either game. The score lines particularly impressive given that the early games were only ten minutes each-way.
Progressing through to the semi-finals, Newton Stewart now faced Langholm RFC. Once again the Reds were comprehensive victors, winning 60-7 despite losing two players to injury during this game.
The final itself was against old rivals Stewartry RFC. All the high scoring of the day had left nobody able to count anymore, and the final score remains a mystery, suffice to say that many tries were scored for Newton Stewart, and none against!
There was no real competition for Newton Stewart in this tournament to assess their readiness for the season ahead, however they played with confidence and good spatial awareness, offloading the ball well. There was also some powerful and direct running in the space a 10s game offers.
Next weekend Newton Stewart travel to the Annan 15s tournament for their final preseason preparation before the first game of the season at home to Allan Glens on Saturday 27th August.