Dollar Academy 41
High School of Dundee 25
ALAN LORIMER @ Murrayfield
DOLLAR ACADEMY put behind them a disappointing set of results in the top tier Schools Conference by winning the Scottish Schools U18 Shield title on the international pitch at Scottish Gas Murrayfield with a powerful and muscular performance against a lighter and smaller High School of Dundee side.
“We had quite a lot of injuries earlier this season that affected our results so it was important to get something out of this,” reflected Don Caskie, the Dollar coach, who praised the Dundee side for their efforts. “They had a lot of energy and were full on intent. They were always a threat. We hadn’t played them this season so it was an unknown.
“Fortunately, a lot of this team will be back next season, about 11 in all. Most of the backs are S5. We’ll use the time after Christmas to develop them for next season,” added Caskie.
The weight and size advantage meant that Dollar always threatened near their opponent’s line but they also benefitted from the skill, pace and power of full-back Angus Crockett, who ended the game with a 16 points tally from a try, four conversions and a penalty goal.
Dollar’s beefier forward pack allowed the Clackmananshire school to boss the scrums, providing quick set-piece ball that allowed them to score a couple of tries.
For Dundee, who are in the second tier school conference, there was the challenge of competing against a side used to playing against the top schools and moreover used to the physicality required for such tests. But their staying power and their willingness to run the ball resulted in the Taysiders always staying in the contest, and at the end of a hard match losing the try count by only 6-4.
Colin Sangster, the forwards coach to the High School of Dundee side, acknowledged that the physicality element was perhaps the difference, saying: “As soon as they came at us and exerted a bit of physicality, we missed too many tackles and consistently tried to force the play. We threw the ball away, lost it in contact, but when we did hang on to the ball and gave short passes and played through the middle of their defence or on the wing a couple of times we looked very threatening.”
Arguably, Sangster was being a bit hard on his charges who at times played some subtle and delightful rugby and who had a backline and back-row full of running. But in the end they were always going to find the gap in physique too great to really trouble Dollar.
Yet it was High School of Dundee who grabbed the first points initiated by a 40 metre penalty goal from centre Fergus Hargreaves, their early momentum then producing a try by wing James Westwood after after a break from flanker Matthew Fryer.
But gradually Dollar, using their big forwards, worked their way into the opposition 22 and from a tap-penalty, skipper Rory Purvis forced his way over for his side’s first try, converted by Crockett.
A further muscular foray in midfield opened the door for scrum-half Fraser Keatch to cross for a try, Crockett again converting, before the full-back showed his pace by scorching through midfield for Dollar’s third try, before kicking a penalty goal that gave his side a 22-8 lead.
The margin widened when replacement Bobby Shearer scored a solo try from his own half and yet again Crockett converted, but the half ended on a brighter note for High School of Dundee when their impressive wing Euan Clarke used his pace and clever footwork to round three defenders, with Hargreaves’ conversion leaving the Mayfield team trailing 15-29 at the break.
Dollar, however, were intent on stretching their lead and did so after Max Garry had made the running for a try by flanker Kieran Pritchard. But, almost immediately, good handling by High School of Dundee allowed stand-off Euan Wade to add to his side’s try tally.
The physicality of Dollar then really told as prop James Ritchie powered over for an unstoppable try, Crockett’s conversion signing off Dollar’s points scoring.
High School of Dundee, however, had the final say in the matter of try scoring, underlining their staying power as Fryer, collecting a kick-pass from Wade, crossed for his side’s fourth try to round off the match.
Meanwhile, Musselburgh Youth defeated Dalkeith 36-17 in the U18 Bowl Final.
At Under-16 level, Hutcheson’s Grammar School ran out 35-22 winners against Fettes College in the Shield Final, Dunbar Grammar School beat Lomond & Helensburgh 50-o in the Plate Final and Lenzie Academy were 32-17 victors over Queen Victoria School in the Bowl Final.
Dollar Academy: A Crockett; M Garry, R Arbuckle, A Howat, J Lawrence; R Powell, F Keatch; A Wright, J Hulme, J Ritchie, B Smallwood, J Emslie, R Purvis, K Pritchard, D Riley. Replacements: M Haston, A Lumsden, E Moore, O Felton, B Shearer, S MacKay, T Allchin.
High School of Dundee: O Martins De Silva; E Clarke, F Hargreaves, J Smith, J Westwood; D Barrie, E Waddel; G Byers, H Lowrie, K Chalmers, A Samson, C Gray, F Doig, M Fryer, B Harris. Replacements: J Wallace, A Whitton, J Layton, R van der Kuyl, A Lowdon, J Leslie-Melville, A Brown.
Referee: John Smith
Dollar Academy: Tries Purvis, Keatch, Crockett, Shearer, Pritchard, Ritchie; Cons: Crockett 4; Pen: Crockett.
High School of Dundee: Tries Westwood, Clarke, Wade, Fryer; Con: Hargrieves; Pen: Hargreaves.
Scoring sequence (Dollar first): 0-3; 0-8; 5-8; 7-8; 12-8; 14-8; 19-8; 22-8; 27-8; 29-8; 29-13; 29-15 (h-t) 34-15; 34-20; 39-20; 41-20; 41-25.