Mackie Shield Winners 2017
By Richard Cochrane
Mackie Shield Winners 2017
Report on Mackie U15 rugby match, 30th April 2017. The Shield Final
The long-awaited final match of the U15 season saw Mackie playing Ross & Sutherland for the Caledonia Shield. The second tier prize for teams who had lost early in the cup competition. The match was played at Madras rugby football club, St Andrews, after the cup final had been played. It was a sunny but very windy day and while the hard ground favoured fast flowing rugby, the strong southeasterly played its part in testing the passing skills of all the teams playing. Conditions were difficult with the gusting wind disrupting play. It was important to gain while you played with the wind, and survive the onslaught against it. Mackie won the toss and wisely played into the wind in the first half. They had not played Ross & Sutherland before so they were something of an unknown entity. What was clear though was their physical presence, particularly compared with the relatively small Mackie forward pack. However Mackie put up their characteristic strong combative performance tackling hard and using their line speed to disrupt the Ross & Sutherland play. The ploy worked. And while the game was marred by numerous wind-assisted fumbles and knock-ons, it was Mackie who showed the greater skill with ball in hand scoring 3 tries to 2 and running out worthy winners 22-10. A fitting riposte to a very successful season in which Mackie U15’s have only lost 1 game.
Mackie started strongly and for the first 5 minutes Ross & Sutherland failed to touch the ball. This period of play culminated in Captain Alex Dunlop scoring from a penalty 15 m from the Ross & Sutherland line. He drove hard into the Ross & Sutherland defence and weak tackling allowed him to get almost to the line. A drive from supporting forwards took him over under the posts. Tom Meyer converted. Ross & Sutherland gradually came more into the game the longer the half progressed, capitalising on their strong forward play, and outplaying Mackie in the loose. Eventually they were rewarded with a try from the blind side of a scrum. The second half saw the Mackie forwards continuing to toil and giving away numerous penalties. However they had adapted their play and were able to gain more ruck ball. With the wind at their backs Mackie could press more and kick for position. It was from a kick and chase by centre Logan Grant that Mackie set up their second try. Quick recycling of the ball and characteristic slick passing enabled full back Findlay Rhind to go over on the overlap from a Tom Meyer pass. From a wide position Tom Meyer nailed an excellent conversion. A further penalty by Tom Meyer stretched the score to 17-5. Ross & Sutherland still continued to press but their play invariably broke down due to incomplete passes or bruising Mackie tackling. Having just come on as a substitute, centre Calum Queen was given a rather unlucky yellow card for being offside a ruck, a function of the infringements perpetrated before he was brought on. Although now a man down Mackie were still able to score through their back line. Again it was the slick passing of Logan Grant that released Findlay Rhind who was able to skilfully sidestep two Ross & Sutherland cover defenders to score another well-worked try. Ross & Sutherland scored a late consolation try after scrappy play and tackling by the tiring Mackie team gave them an overlap. However it was too little, too late and the final whistle sealed a well-deserved Mackie victory. The cheer at the final whistle from proud parents and player alike showed what the victory meant. A nice piece of silver ware for the trophy cabinet an added bonus.