Its also the time when the kids start to show off what they have been learning over the cold and wet winter months. At Aberdeen Grammar last weekend the Mackie P4 and P5 squads did this with aplomb running out victorious in separate age group competitions against some great opposition. The P6's also managed a very creditable 2nd place with the P7's coming 4th.
The Mackie P4 Reds were drawn in a difficult group with Howe of Fife, Grammar B, Deeside Wanderers and Ellon while Mackie P4 Blacks were drawn in another tough group against Grammar A, Dundee, Ellon and Deeside.
Mackie's Reds 1st challenge was against Howe and from the off it was clear it would be no pushover. Howe are a fast, skillful side with good spatial awareness and spin the ball wide at every opportunity. Not to be outdone Mackie more than matched Howe in the ruck and tackle and after pulling 2-1 ahead let Howe back in right at the end for a 2-2 draw...but they were to get another crack at Howe later with a very different outcome! The rest of the group games were also very hard fought affairs against good strong opposition with Mackie coming out winners in each mainly due to their teamwork and commitment in and around the ruck which won them so much ball it would have been difficult to lose.
At the end of the group stage in which Mackie P4 Blacks had put in some great performances and worked really hard together as a team they where unable to secure enough victories to allow them to progress further in the competition. Mackie Reds had topped their group and went into a semi-final against Grammar A.
Matches against the hosts are always tough and the Mackie Red boys knew they would have to be "in and about them" right from the off to make sure of progress to the final, and this they did with a great deal of enthusiasm and energy. The match was tight at first but strong tackling eventually started to turn the game in Mackie's favour and in the end Mackie ran out winners by a much larger margin than they would have dared to believe at the start.
Howe beat Deeside in the other semi to set up a rematch with Mackie in the final. It was tense from the start but again the Mackie boys commitment to "get in were it hurts" and win the ball gave them an early advantage and a quick score to take the lead. Then came a period of good Mackie pressure on the Howe line without the boys managing to extend the score and as a result, when Howe broke wide, the resultant try brought the sides back level. At this time the coaches were beginning to think that the all important "first try scored" rule which Mackie had achieved, might be all that would separate the teams at the end. However the Mackie boys had different idea's, and as Howe continued to push hard, aware of not scoring first, they left the door open to some great counter rucking and attacking that let Mackie run in a further 2 tries to give them some comfort and an eventual well earned 3-1 victory. Mackie Reds were Grammar champs 2012.
Mackie Reds: Jonathan, Rikki, Jacob, Liam, Zak, Finlay, Ian, Rhys, Harris and Cameron
Mackie Blacks: Dylan, Harris, Calum, Kieran, Owen, Lachlan, Sam and Andrew
Another success for for Mackie P5’s. Their run of victories in the northeast continues with a hard fought final win by the Blacks against Deeside at Rubislaw were conditions were perfect for running rugby on a soft but otherwise dry pitch.
This tournament saw Mackie Blacks pitched against Howe of Fife, Deeside, Grammar and Aberdeen Wanderers in the pool matches and the Mackie Reds were drawn against Ellon, Dundee and Grammar.
The Mackie Reds kicked off the tournament with a closely contested game against Ellon which swung one way then the other with tries from Cameron and Alex before the opposition clinched the match 5/3 with a late try. In the second match Mackie started well with Ross breaking tackles with a powerful run before expertly offloading for a try by Alex in the corner. In the end , however, the powerful Dundee side were just a bit strong for Mackie and ran out 4/2 winners. The Reds' final match against Grammar was the most exciting to watch with plenty of tries form both teams. Fergus, Cameron, Jamie and Alex all touched down but Grammar counter attacked well running in tries from long range to seal a 6/5 victory. The team had performed well but were unable to progress to the knock out stages on this occasion.
In their first game Mackie Black ran out winners against a very competitive Howe of Fife. Both teams tackled and rucked aggressively, but sharper running by the Mackie players allowed them to score twice unopposed. In the second game Mackie came up against their old adversaries, Deeside. Mackie played poorly and unforced errors and a couple of injuries thwarted their play. Deeside passed well out of the tackle and score twice to win more comfortably than perhaps the score line suggested. Not the P5’s best performance. In the next game Mackie got back to winning ways against a disjointed Wanderers team. Mackie kept the ball and used the space on the wings to score simple, but well crafted tries. Final score 7-0. In their final pool match Mackie ran out comfortable winners 7-1 against a tired Grammar team whose tackling was poor. With Deeside losing their final pool match to Howe of Fife, Mackie won their side of the draw on try count-back. This pitted them against Dundee Eagles in the semi-final, Dundee having been runners up in the other pool. While this match proved a rather scrappy affair, Mackie ran out comfortable winners 3-0. Dundee rarely threatened and while Mackie did not play to their full potential, they were too competitive for the Eagles.
The final saw Mackie Blacks play against Deeside once again. Before the game the Mackie players looked a little down knowing they had lost badly in their first meeting. However with boisterous support from the sidelines provided by the Mackie P4's and P6’s and the parents, Mackie raised their spirits and approached the final with much more vigour than the previous match. They took the game to Deeside right from the start tackling and rucking as if their lives depended on it. Two individual long range tries sealed the final but overall it was a great team performance shutting out what had been, until then, a free-running Deeside team. A roar of relief from watching parents and coaches and shouts of joy from the players when the final whistle was blown emphasised the commitment and passion that has taken them to success again this season. Well done Mackie Black P5s!