Stornoway youngsters overcome strong challenge from Garioch

NORTH UNDER 16 LEAGUE

Garioch 3 Stornoway 12 (H.T. 3-5)

A junior side from Stornoway Rugby Club marked their continued development in fine style last Saturday when they travelled to Inverurie and defeated their Garioch counterparts by 12-6 in a competitive encounter.

The under-16s from Lewis made the long journey knowing that they would likely face a tough challenge, but in the end they edged possession and territory and it was only tremendous defence from the home side that prevented the margin of Stornoway’s victory from being more comfortable.

Conditions were perfect overhead but a heavy morning dew meant that handling was going to be difficult.

Stornoway began the game stronger and were soon building pressure in their opponents’ 22. In a frenetic start Fraser Martin, Calum Campbell and David Campbell were all stopped just short of the try line.

It was the islanders who scored the first points of the match through Ronan Sinclair after 15 minutes. From a solid scrum, Callum Nicolson fed stand-off Iain Murdo Macleod and he drew the defence before feeding Ronan Sinclair on the scissors to cross the line for a fine try. The conversion was missed.

A mistake from the restart allowed Garioch their first opportunity to attack. Stornoway held them out with some solid tackling, with Calum Campbell in the forwards and winger Lewis Macdonald to the fore. However, the island youngsters conceded a number of penalties, one of which the Garioch outside centre slotted over for three points.

Stornoway were soon back on the attack, thanks to a long clearing kick and from the resultant lineout the forwards put together their best piece of play. A series of offloads took them close to the line, where somehow Garioch managed to hold up Jonny Macdonald when he looked certain to score.

The second half was similar to the first, with Stornoway having the edge. Garioch continued to defend well but rarely threatened.

Stornoway battled away but for much of the half turnovers, infringements and lost ball due to the slippery conditions meant they struggled to increase their lead.

As the half progressed, the islanders pushed Garioch closer and closer to their line and only brave defence held them out as the bigger Stornoway ball-carriers started to break a few tackles.

The match ended as it finished, with Stornoway threatening the Garioch line. A series of attacks from free kicks and scrums were thwarted before Iain Murdo Macleod eventually broke through a couple of tackles to score near the posts. Iain Murdo successfully popped over the conversion to put Stornoway clear with only seconds remaining.

his was a rare and welcome away win for the island lads, and was well deserved. Man-of-the-match was Calum Campbell, who has excelled at wing forward since switching from the wing.