Wee Reds P5 Minis Win at Gala Tournament
Galashiels – 22 April 2018
The day in Galashiels started with drizzle and a cold wind in stark contrast to the preceding few days. The pitches were large regulation format 30x40m and in great condition for expansive running rugby.
Our Linlithgow boys have had the benefit of training indoors each week through the poor weather, this investment paid off when we finally got to play competitive games for the first time this year.
P5 training sessions have concentrated on holding our defensive line positions, making the tackle to counter ruck and regain possession. In attack the focus has been on ball speed passing quickly away from the breakdown, creating options for teammates to run onto the ball at pace, to exploit overlaps and attack open space.
The Wee Reds P5 team used this advantage to get off to a flying start against Hawick, commanding possession for the first 5 minutes with great passing inter play to run in tries from positions all over the pitch. Hawick to their credit reorganised and came back strongly but the game ended with a 6-1win.
Next was a stern test against Melrose. Linlithgow were first on the score sheet, however that didn’t last long as Melrose were more assertive at the breakdown, there was a lot of committed tackling required testing the fitness of both squads. After a period of sustained pressure on our line the try was conceded. Some excellent off loading and support play from both teams created consecutive scoring opportunities at either end, but the Wee Reds held on to finish with a 4-3 win.
Then straight into our last group game against West of Scotland. Perhaps fatigued by the previous game, organisation of the defensive line or concentration slipped as we found ourselves down from the start. However the boys were disciplined, recovered composure and the scoreline to complete a 4-2 win and top the group undefeated.
The semi final against Selkirk was another confident 6-2 squad performance with chances created for 5 different players to cross the try line and earn a place in the final. It was to be against Hawick again but this time a much tighter contest.
Hawick won the toss and from the start the Wee Reds defended well, regained possession and edged in front with a couple of tries scored from well-timed passes out wide to exploit the last defender. Hawick with incentive or a point to prove responded with strong direct running and rucking to get one back. The game changing moments for us were a great cover tackle at full pace into the corner to save certain score, followed by a line break and run-away try to make a more comfortable cushion at 4-2. Exciting play continued with Hawick recovering a try 4-3, before a tense period leading to the final whistle – the Wee Reds were uncertain of the result but had fought off complacency to hold out!
All the boys worked well together as a team contributing in both defence and attack. The spirit, respect and sportsmanship with which each of the games was played is to be commended. The difference today was perhaps in our attack, instead of losing possession with solo runs into traffic or touch we became aware of space out wide on the big pitches. Pace, support runners and ball handling skills meant we were capable of putting our team mates into scoring positions.
Scotland’s all time leading points scorer Chris Paterson presented the medals and trophy, later during photos he commented on our offloading play, well done boys!
There are a number of tournament opportunities coming now in the next few weeks, weather permitting, where we will look forward to seeing the depth of our squad demonstrate their skills.
Finally a big thank you from the boys for all the support.