U15 Win 1st Game of League against Perthshire
Great start to League for U15's
Sunday 6th September saw the SRU Red League kick off with Mackie playing away at Perthshire. The U15's had limited squad numbers and traveled with only 16 players which carried a risk only having 1 sub. Perthshire were expected to be a big, physical and skilled side, and Mackie knew they wanted to put down a marker for the start of the league in what was perfect playing conditions as the sun was shining in Perth.
The game kicked off at 1pm and both sides took a few minutes to settle into the game, a knock on in the tackle from Mackie resulted in a Perthshire scrum. On the put in by the Perthshire scrum half, a pattern of the day quickly emerged with an outstanding scrum from Mackie and hooker Euan Robertson stealing his first of many Perthshire balls. Mackie suffered an injury early on with Max Nehring having to come off after landing awkwardly on his right shoulder, Harry Grant went onto the wing with some apprehension as not a position he is used to playing, this left Mackie with no subs for the remainder of the game. Some hard work from the forwards for a few phases and a break from Drew Christie quickly saw Mackie close to the try line, some quick hands to Ben Morrison and a pop back to Harry Grant as Ben was tackled saw Harry then tackled right at the try line but quick support again from Ben saw him dive over the line for Mackie 1st Try. Robbie lined up for the conversion and despite his kick being accurate it fell just short on distance. A penalty soon after to Perthshire saw them kick for goal and taking their 3 points. Mackie's next score came from a penalty being awarded and a tap and pass from Fin Jacobs to Liam Dreelan saw him hit the line hard, good work at the breakdown by Liam's fellow back row players Fraser and Drew saw the ball quickly recycled and out to Ben Morrison to see him score his 2nd try. Robbie lined up the conversion and again, accuracy was good but falling short. Mackie 3rd try came again from some great work at the breakdown as a break from Liam almost saw him clear of the Perthshire defense, a pop to Fraser Lindsay from Liam as he was tackled, and a further pop from Fraser to Robbie, saw Mackie ending up 5 yards out from the try line. As Perthshire scrambled their defense and likely expected another hard running forwards ball, Fin Jacobs saw a gap as poor guard and shield from Perthshire on the blind side, a pick and go from Fin as scrum half saw an easy and clever finish to some great play, Robbie again lined the conversion accurately but from the touch line he needed more distance on it. As the end of the 1st half was approaching it was obvious that Perthshire were getting rattled, Mackie however were not complacent and knew they needed to keep up the intensity. Just before conclusion of the 1st half, we saw another break from Liam with the Perthshire defense unable to stop him as Liam went over to score Mackie 4th try, Robbie lined up the conversion and both accurate and distance saw the conversion scored.
The half time chat was about keeping up the intensity, maintaining the shape and organisation on the pitch, and continuing to work for each other. The Mackie lads were upbeat but by no means complacent. It wasn't long before the Mackie boys continued their efforts from the 1st half, a penalty to Mackie in the Perthshire 22 saw Fin tap and pass to Nathan who had a driving run and taking a lot of defenders to stop him, great support at the ruck saw the ball move quickly out to the backs for Robbie to go over for a try, and soon after land his conversion. The intensity of the game maintained and Perthshire rolled through some subs, Mackie were putting in some big tackles and a knock on from Perthshire came from a tackle by Ethan again in the Perthshire 22. A solid Mackie scrum saw controlled ball and Fin coming right and a pop from a quick peel off the scrum by Liam saw the Perthshire defense expecting a crash runner with Liam drawing the defense with Aidan holding his line on the wing saw a perfect score in the right corner by Aidan. Robbie lines the conversion from the touchline but couldn't land it, his try scorers couldn't have made the conversions much more difficult if they tried. As the game started to look like it was running away from Perthshire the Mackie boys kept the pressure on as much as possible. Some great distribution of the ball as seen all day from our newest player Finlay Sweetnam at No 10 saw Aidan make a break and despite being tackled he was not held, quick work from Aidan getting back to his feet and making another few yards before the Perthshire defense could stop him gave time for Mackie support to get there, first arriving player Liam made a quick pick and go gaining further valuable yardage and a pop to Drew as he was tackled saw Drew take the ball at pace and run straight through the middle to score under the posts which Robbie easily converted. The next score came from Perthshire after a clearance kick and chase, Ben secured the ball but as tackled Ben's top was pulled over his head and completely off him, Mackie were unable to scramble quick enough and Perthshire scored but missed their conversion. Perthshire were doing everything in their power to try and get back into the game but after a high tackle on a Mackie player and a penalty, we saw Drew making another trademark break and timing his pass perfectly to Harry on the left wing to score in the corner, this time Euan Robertson had a go at the conversion as a drop kick from the touch line but just narrowly drifted right of the posts.The link up of the back row forwards and the back line which was so effective all day was again shown in the final score, good forwards ball and distribution from the 9/10 pairing for the two Finlay's saw Liam drift to take the ball from Finlay S, as Liam made a break a Perthshire chaser managed to catch Liam's jersey but a pass out to Harry on the wing looked like he would be clear but as Perthshire closed in on Harry a pass back inside again to Liam taking the ball at pace was too much for the Perthshire defense to cope with, try scored and nicely converted by Robbie afterwards. The final phases of play did however see Nathan go down injured with a nasty knock to his shin, both Max and Nathan later too a trip to hospital to get checked out but the sportsmanship showed by Perthshire at the end of the game where they each came over to shake hands with Nathan before he was helped off the pitch demonstrated the mutual respect between players, only in Rugby was said later !!!.
Final score 51 - 13 to Mackie
The coaches praised the players their dedication and intensity throughout the game, every player put in a phenomenal effort. Certain parts of the game saw Perthshire camped on the Mackie try line but excellent efforts saw them unable to breach the defense and either knocking the ball on, or being turned over. The front row of Nathan, Euan and Josh were excellent in their dominance of the scrum and greatly assisted by 2nd rows Fergus and Levi, with Levi also the main threat at line out. The back row combination of Liam, Drew and Fraser hunted at the breakdown, were powerful runners in attack, and really showed their maturity as players. The combination of the two Finlays at 9/10 for their 1st game together showed real potential. The centre pairing of Robbie and Ethan had pace, physicality, and were as threatening in attack as they were in defense. The back 3 variation of Ben with wingers Aidan, Max, or Harry held their positions well, attacked from good lines, defended and communicated well. All in all a great team effort from the team..