The Wee Reds Minis were at their final tournament of the season on Sunday at East Kilbride. The P7s playing in their last matches before stepping up to secondary school rugby, won their age group to cap a great day.
Linlithgow Wee Reds P7s Win Their Final Mini Rugby Tournament!
Sunday 12 May 2019
Report by Gordon Muir
After a lot of great rugby from our P7s this year, usually leading to a silver medal, the Wee Reds went one better and picked up the trophy at East Kilbride today.
The team have been known to start slowly and improve through the day, but today they were straight out of the blocks with pace, intensity and accuracy that our first opponents, Cumnock, couldn’t cope with. Superb passing and support lines led to three sumptuous tries in the first couple of minutes and the boys kept the pressure up right through the game to run out 7-0 winners, finishing the game puffed but with big smiles and loads of confidence.
Unfortunately we then had a wait of over an hour to our second game, against home side East Kilbride to decide who would win our 3 team pool and go to the final. Any worries that the boys would have gone to sleep were quickly dispelled as a breathless first few minutes culminated in a couple of Linlithgow tries. EK came right back with a score of their own and it was game on. The Reds stuck to their game plan and were working hard, competing fiercely all over the pitch, keeping their focus and keeping their head in the face of some tough calls from the ref and finishing 3-2 winners to top the group.
There was a cohesion and energy about the team as they warmed up for the final and they were pretty determined to come first this time. As their coach said “Now, a word about that before I take you through the play-by-play excitement of the final game! The most important thing by far, and the only real measure of success as far as the coaches and the club are concerned, is having as many kids as possible participating, playing and most of all enjoying their rugby. There is a load of evidence that shows that the negative feelings and pressure caused by an excessive emphasis on winning leads to less enjoyment and ultimately drop outs in Primary age sports. That said, I think our group has a great balance, team spirit and a real focus on development and enjoyment above medals (maybe that’s why we keep coming second!). It is also obvious that the boys are getting bigger, older, a wee bit teenagery and definitely more competitive, which we even see in training. So if the pressure to win is coming from within the team, in the form of a desire to do their best and get into the trenches for their teammates, then I think it’s fantastic!”
And so to the final, where the P7s faced another East Kilbride team. The game began in hectic manner as both teams threw everything at it. EK were quickly up in defence and the fluidity that had marked the first game had disappeared as Linlithgow scrapped to get ahead, which they did midway through the first half. East Kilbride came back into it with a well run in try of their own and it was 1-1 at the break.
The bench was emptied for the final time as the boys began their final half of tournament mini rugby knowing that the win was there for the taking. Once again it was tense and frenetic stuff. A line break and great support line saw Linlithgow take the lead only for EK to equalise again. With a minute to go, celebrations were cut short as a Linlithgow try was disallowed for a forward pass.
With time up, the teams played on with the golden try (Next Try The Winner) rule applying. A game that had been ragged and at times desperate just got a lot more ragged and desperate! The final passage of play was a chaos of offloads, steals, interceptions, knock-ons, a charged down kick and dropped balls with bodies on both sides being thrown in to rucks until eventually the ball came out on the Linlithgow side with a wee bit of space and over for the winning try. SCENES! (as the boys would say.)
It was brilliant teamwork, with every single player making a huge effort and everyone contributing in defence and attack. The coaches were really proud of the team, the way they played and the way they conducted themselves.
There were 15 great performances today, and none better than Finn Alexander who picked up the Player of the Tournament award!