Bears and Llamas Run Wild In Banff
The Mackie Bears and their second string - the Mackie Llamas travelled up to Banff last Saturday to contest the Banff 7s.
Bathed in overcast weather, the Mackie squad arrived early to avoid a repeat of the previous weeks late arrival to the Highland 7s.
With an hour to spare before even warming up, the guys got the journey out of their leg by inventing the game of 'Crugby' - essentially a cross between cricket and rugby, this game is a sure fire hit and will be a beachside regular in the off season of 2013 for sure.
After 2 innings it was time to get ready and the teams were split into the Bears and Llamas. With late call offs there was 7 players per team and no substitutes - so thank the lord all 14 were such fit specimens!
In the Bears team were: Captain Michael 'Shaky' Levack, Mikey 'no tries' Kelly, Jason 'Buddha' Matehe, Rory 'Thatcher' Mellis, Cameron 'Django' Gray, David 'nice running style' Garden and 'Offshore' Ross Gray
In the Llamas were: Captain Ben 'Jammin' Newell, Jamie 'K' Kindness, Andrew 'Fingers' Dart, Adam 'Farrell' Hunter, Callum 'like a Baby' Reddish, Dean 'lily liver' Gerrard and .....Duncan Ross.
The tournament took a round robin format which would result in the Mackie teams playing eachother at some point - firmly putting the idea of subbing for eachother into touch...every team for themselves!
With the sun now beaming down, the Bears kicked off first against the home side Banff and ran out comfortable winners 6 tries to 2. A great improvement on the 21-17 winning scoreline when they met 3 weeks earlier. This was a very encouraging sign. Tries - C. Gray x 3, R.Gray, R. Mellis, J. Matehe.
Straight onto the pitch 2 for the Bears was a formidable foe...a team they knew well and there was no love lost. There was a hushed atmosphere amongst the support as the two captains did the coin toss...it was Bears vs Llamas!! in an epic clash where the poise, speed and skill of the Bears was met infuriatingly with hardiness, grit and determination of the Llamas. After a quick first try by R. Gray the Bears relaxed and the Llamas returned fire with passion and direct running and pressed the Bears back before Dean Gerrard broke the defensive line to score under the posts.
A half time quick regrouping and the bears began to fight fire with fire and defended in a much more resolute way and took advantage of their pace to run in 4 unanswered tries. The match finished 5 tries to 1 but the Llamas put a scare up the bears and was just what they needed to gain some focus after an easy first match.
Next up was the Llamas versus Banff 2's and somewhat surprisingly to those watching, but unsurprising to the Mackie team, the Llamas played some brilliant stuff and won by 5 tries to 3. It was the first 7s outing for most of the Llamas but they have been training with the squad and took in exactly how to relax on the ball, play the passing game, and crucially, make a break when it is on. Tries - A. Hunter x 2, D. Gerrard, D. Ross, J. Kindness.
The bears then played CP Allstars - a select squad made up of Aberdeen Grammar players. Last year the Bears played them in the final and were beaten 5 tries to 3. With arguably a better squad the Bears were confident and played great 7s rugby to score 2 tries before half time. Unfortunately, despite being less well drilled as a team, the Allstars had individual pace all over the park and scored 2 of their own. In the 2nd half they exerted a bit more dominance and scored a further 2 without reply. A disappointing result but when you are playing Premier 1 rugby players in a local tournament 4 tries to 2 is pretty good going! Tries - M. Levack, D. Garden.
The llamas then played Strathspey and Adam Hunter was having a blinding tournament at scrum half, scoring another 2 tries, Duncan Ross also showing a dramatic turn of pace to score a great try under the posts. Dean Gerrard also showing that he's a useful 7s player for next season with another try. In the end the Bears won 4 tries to 3.
The Bears then added to Strathspeys misery by playing them straight afterwards and scoring 5 tries without reply. The best try of the match coming from a great Ross Gray break who, when tackled, held the ball up for the pass to the on coming Mikey 'No tries' Kelly to burst onto as he scream YEEESSSSS. Hilariously at the last moment, miss passing him to Cameron Gray leaving the crowd in stitches at Mikey's despair...the prospect of a whole season without a try becoming ever closer.
Tries - j. Matehe R. Mellis, M. Levack, R. Gray, D. Garden
The bears last match was a rather uneventful romp for them, running out 11 ties to 0 winners. Tries - Levack x 3, Mellis x 2, Garden x 2 C.Gray x 2, R.Gray and very very sadly for the rest of the squad....M. Kelly x 1.
The Llamas rounded their tournament off with a loss to Peterhead and then a great match against the CP Allstars. Hunter and Gerrard scoring in the first half to really scare the Grammar men. Across the pitch the team defended extremely well and contested and disrupted each breakdown. although they lost eventually, this team did some brilliant work. Special mention goes to Jamie Kindness for displaying handling and skills to make breaks which seemed to come out of no where...long may this form continue! Also to Captain Ben Newell who had to go against his instincts to career about like an angry wasp and to play a calm passing game. The difference was outstanding after just a few training sessions for these 2 players. Out in the backs, Adam Hunter is showing why he will be in amongst the 1st XV for sure next season and Duncan Ross showing he's still got it after all these years and there is much more to come!