- To read Under-16 Cup Final match report click HERE.
Under-16 Shield Final:
Howe of Fife/Bell Baxter High School 14
North Berwick High School 14
FINDLAY MACINTOSH scored and early try and Ross Maitland adding the extras as Bell Baxter HS set the early pace, but North Berwick bounced back almost immediately through Cameron Fyfe, with the centre converting his own try to bring the scored level. However, the Fifers had the final say of the first half thanks to a Murray Clunas which was once again converted by Maitland.
North Berwick, sporting bleach blonde hair as part of a fundraising effort for My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, squared things through a Callum Perry and Fyfe conversion after the break, and they thought they had snatched the lead when Fyfe went over with about five minutes to go, but the ball was deemed to be lost forward in the act of scoring. Howe also threatened to snatch the win late on with a break from deep, but in the end the honours were shared.
“If it had gone to extra time and the game had been decided by a mistake from one team or another, I don’t think it would have been an enjoyable experience for either side, so it is probably a fair result,” reflected North Berwick head coach Ian Macintosh. “We’ll invite Howe of Fife down to North Berwick and have an unofficial replay down there!
“I’m really proud of the boys, they’ve been fantastic all season – they’ve grown and matured. Today we just asked them to express themselves and have fun, and just play enjoyable rugby, and they did.
“It was a bit tense at times with it being the first time both sets of players have been on a stage like this, but I think they handled it really well. It is just really good for a couple of state schools to be in the Shield Final, representing great youth set-ups. I’m sure both teams will kick on from here.
“Unfortunately, we could only select 22 players out of a squad of 36 for this game, so it was a real shame for those who missed out, but it is great to see so much great talent coming through at North Berwick.”
Bell Baxter’s lead coach, Gavin Anderson, echoed those sentiments. “What’s really good from a Schools’ Cup perspective is to see North Berwick and Bell Baxter as the lowest ranked teams who could qualify for the Shield go all the way to the final, beating private schools in conferences above them along the way.
“We’re really fortunate with our club-school partnership with Howe of Fife, particularly at under-16 level,” he added. “We’ve got a fantastic squad, and that goes beyond today’s 22. We’ve got 40 boys at this age-grade so we’re putting out two teams on a weekend, and that’s testament to the work being put in by the coaches, and to the commitment of the boys.”
Howe of Fife/Bell Baxter High School: Logan Finlay; Jamie Akers, Frase Greig©, Ross Maitland, Brandon Seath; Murray Clunas, Ethan Williams; Rohan Jones, Alfie Adam, Laughlan Bayne, Findlay McIntosh, Callum Gillespie, Jamie Cloy, Cameron Jack, Jamie Syme. Replacements: Ewan Manzie, Rory Duncan, Adam Garnett, Reeve Kelly, Thomas Pickard, Rory White, Ben Black.
North Berwick High School: Fergus Kinnaird; Charlie Gill, Finlay Milne, Cameron Fyfe, Struan Leitch; Finn Ryan, Gregor Macintosh; Archie O’Brien, Rhoan Fraser, Angus Waddell, Adam Little, Stan Watson, Jake Hetherington, Jamie Rowse, Callum Perry. Replacements: Keir McMullan, Innes Taylor-Williams, Perry Angel, Jamie Perry, Ross Napier, Joseph Gerald, Daniel Smith.
Under-16 Plate Final:
Loretto School 15
Linlithgow Academy 13
LINLITHGOW’S captain Ruairi MacLeod opened the scoring after 15 minutess with a penalty. Griff Williams led Loretto’s response scoring a nice try in the first half which captain Kaylen Martin duly converted. Martin was on the scoresheet again soon afterwards knocking over another three points to take the lead to 10-3. Despite some strong Linlithgow carrying led by prop Cameron McHardy, Loretto took a seven-point lead into the break.
Loretto opened the second half physically, attacking the breakdown hard and setting an aggressive defensive line. The game turned when Loretto lost a man to the sin-bin, with Linlithgow coming forward in waves led by McHardy and Finn Alexander, while they were well conducted by outside centre Rory Marshall and looked to have won the game when inside centre Alfred Muir dived over in the corner. But Loretto came back hard and held the ball deep into injury time, turning down a kickable penalty which would have tied the match, before releasing Williams for an outstanding game-winning score, with the outside-centre bouncing through a series of tackles to dot down.
“I am absolutely delighted with performance,” said Linlithgow coach Dougie Thomson. “It was hard to accept such a close loss, but we are proud of all 30 boys in the squad and the effort they have shown. Looking forward, we are determined to continue our growth into under-18s with a strong player base built by the coaching staff.”
Loretto coach Max Outram said: “Linlithgow played really well and tested us in the forwards. Our back-row was superb, which was key, but at the end of the game it could have gone either way, they got a nice score in the corner, then we got a penalty in front of the posts and I’m so glad that the boys held their nerve and had the courage to go for it.”
Loretto: Mitchell Clark; Edward Cardwell Moore, Griff Williams, Struan Talac, Oliver Little; Kaylen Martin©, Benji Bone; Ollie Shanks, Josh Robertson, Sam McCreery, Rory Lang, Hunter Crooks, Tristan Ballantyne, Cameron Hastie, Charlie Robbie. Replacements: Felix Schneider, Nicolai Tourneau, Graham Lamb, Matthew Hastie, Alex Mitchell, Archie Borthwick, Rory Ligertwood.
Linlithgow Academy: Rory Donald; Robert Mulla, Rory Marshall, Alfred Muir, William Turpie; Ruairi Macleod ©, Finlay Bisset; Cameron McHardy, Kyran Lee, Jack Wallace, Lewi McGill, Euan Johnstone, Alex Hall, Lewis Smith, Finn Alexander. Replacements: Adam Philp, Harley Monaghan, Miller Binnie, Colum Cameron, Ethan Sargeant, Cyrus Knox, Finlay Shaw.
Under-16 Bowl Final:
BERWICK started the game in the ascendancy with the back-row trio of Anthony Burns, Charlie Smith and Ayhan Yilmaz leading the charge with heavy carries. Ben ‘Hamish’ Wilson opened the scoring and that try was quickly followed by two tries from player-of-the-match Smith. The scoring continued through combative inside-centre Will Moor and his live-wire scrum-half Alfie Taggart. Knox/Haddington did well to stay in the fight adding a try before half-time through Hamish Maidstone. A largely under-15s team from East Lothian showed no shortage of heart against their much physically imposing opponents.
Haddington started the second half brightly with Bruce Brownlee the first scorer after half time, but Berwick regained control with further tries from William Swales and Yilmaz. Oliver Byass mwho was at the heart of Berwick’s endeavour, secured 10 points from the tee and was an excellent catalyst to feed captain Ethan Craze for the final Berwick score. Knox/Haddington never gave up and continued to push forward with captain Aiden Smith capping off a fantastic performance with two consolation tries.
“To go down by that score and come back and score two tries late is huge for us, it’s a great experience for them and hopefully we are back next year,” said Grant Haggart, the Knox/Haddington coach.
“We played a really good game today, used our width well, put the ball in the hands of our fast wingers and played some rugby that was really enjoyable to watch,” said victorious Berwick coach Phil Craze.
Berwick: Finlay Valentine; William Swales, Ethan Craze ©, Will Moor, Ben Wilson; Oliver Byass, Alfie Taggart; Max Godridge, Jack Allison, Leo Wier, Berry Mwachilenga, William Brewis, Anthony Burns, Charlie Smith, Ayhan Yilmaz; Replacement: Oliver Dakers, Jacob Butler, Evan Youngman, Oliver Blake, Oliver Shiel, Tyler Stevenson, Charlie Dunse.
Knox/Haddington: Tobie Craig; Ethan Rettie, Fergus Allan, Aiden Smith ©, Issac McNally; Andrew Millar, Rory Webster; Thomas Hopkins, Hamish Maidstone, Finlay Patterson, James Jack, Sam Leach, Murray Calder, Luke Mercer, Archie Rettie; Replacements: Bruce Brownlee, Fraser Bennett, Oli Harrison, Rory Burns.