Tough opener for U-16 side

The Galloway News - - SPORT -

New. Ste­wart U16s..............47 Ste­wartry U16s......................5

On a blus­tery but fine Sun­day af­ter­noon at Blad­noch, the new sea­son kicked off.

It was the first chance for this year’s teams to find out how the mix of last year’s ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers and this year’s new re­cruits would gel.

Un­for­tu­nately for the Ste­wartry, it be­came clear quite early on that it was the New­ton Ste­wart side that were play­ing as a team and, with a num­ber of ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers dom­i­nat­ing pos­ses­sion and ter­ri­tory.

They scored four unan­swered, but un­con­verted, tries in the first half keep­ing pos­ses­sion well and work­ing over­laps, seem­ingly at will. There was some stal­wart de­fence by Kerr Dal­rym­ple and Gul­liver, but New­ton Ste­wart played the num­bers game well, re­claim­ing pos­ses­sion and scor­ing with sig­nif­i­cant over­laps.

The sec­ond half was a more in­ter­est­ing con­test. New­ton Ste­wart scored more tries than in the first half but the Ste­wartry made a much bet­ter game of it, learn­ing from some of their first half mis­takes. Cal­lum McClure and Ciaran White kicked as­tutely, us­ing the wind well, and putting the de­fence on the back foot. Buoyed by the ter­ri­to­rial progress, the Ste­wartry tack­led harder forc­ing mis­takes from New­ton Ste­wart.

The set piece be­gan to dom­i­nate. The Ste­wartry scrum, es­pe­cially the front row of An­drew Bo­den, Paddy Traynor and Murray McKen­zie was dominant, se­cur­ing their own ball and win­ning the ball against the head with ease. The li­ne­out also worked well for them, es­pe­cially the short throw. With this new pos­ses­sion the lack of prac­tice be­tween White and McClure at half back was ex­posed and the out­side backs got lit­tle ball to run with.

What progress the Ste­wartry did make came from the pick and go, with Zac Hunter, McKen­zie, Rory Sin­clair and Alexan­der all mak­ing telling runs. When the Ste­wartry got sup­port to the rucks they made good ground with this one out tac­tic, White fi­nally cross­ing for a well de­served try.

For the next quar­ter the Ste­wartry con­tin­ued in the same vein, mak­ing good progress when they held on to the ball, but on too many oc­ca­sions New­ton Ste­wart picked up loose ball, or stole it from unat­tended rucks, and used their su­pe­rior backs to out­flank the tir­ing Ste­wartry lines.

In some cases, des­per­ate cover de­fence from Fraser Gib­son, Dal­rym­ple and Euans Con­nor and Young saved the day, but in oth­ers the en­ergy faded away and New­ton Ste­wart scored eas­ily.

At the fi­nal whis­tle, the Ste­wartry were up­set with them­selves for start­ing too slowly, run­ning out of steam and not mak­ing the most of sev­eral other scor­ing chances in the sec­ond half. Con­grat­u­la­tions must go to a well drilled New­ton Ste­wart team who were de­served win­ners.

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