A sunny day and a firm pitch set up a closely contested match between Deeside U18s and Perthshire and for much of the game there was little to choose between the teams. Ultimately, though, lapses of concentration, mistakes and apparent lack of knowledge of the laws let Deeside down.
A single score separated the sides at half time with Perthshire getting the ball to their strong running left wing and he brushed aside a weak tackle to cross in the corner for the try. Perthshire’s fly half was unable to kick the conversion, but with the wind at his back his lengthy kicks out of hand had kept Deeside in their own half for lengthy periods.
At a scrum within their 22 following such a kick, Deeside had the misfortune to lose fly half Glen Taylor when he fell awkwardly in making a clearance kick and damaged his wrist. Deeside rearranged their back line, bringing on winger John McGowan who proceeded to have one of his best games in attack and defence. Whenever he got his hands on the ball centre Calum Gordon looked dangerous and carried powerfully, whilst full back George Watt was keen to run out wide and made valuable yards. Strong tackles from flankers Chris Ballentyne and Tom Christie cut down the big Perthshire forwards, allowing the Deeside pack to form attacking pods to carry the ball and claim hard yards.
A penalty for offside allowed Perthshire to extend their lead at the start of the second half and this was further extended when the referee allowed a Perthshire tackler in midfield to keep hold of the ball. This failure to release should have resulted in a penalty for Deeside. Instead, the tackler found himself with the ball and an unimpeded run for the try line, to score under the posts.
Deeside’s cause was not helped by a further disruption to midfield when Tobias Cochrane-Dyet received a bang to the head and had to be helped off. However, Murray Hoare demonstrated his versatility to move from hooker to centre where his tackling was an example to all.
With a 15 point deficit, some Deeside heads went down. However, it was Deeside that scored next. Calum Gordon chipped ahead and with a good chase, the Perthshire full back fumbled and Deeside got the scrum. Number 8 Malcolm Diack picked up from the back and drove hard for the line. He was held up short, but the ball was recycled and Deeside’s captain Angus Wallace was not to be denied the try. Malcolm Diack added the conversion.
Having scored, Deeside needed to keep their composure and increase the pressure on Perthshire. Instead, they attempted to run from their own 22 and a wild pass missed all supporting runners. The ball was picked up by Perthshire with a clear run to the try line.
Deeside continued to look for opportunities to restore a more representative scoreline and it was when execution of an ambitious handling move broke down that Perthshire were gifted a further breakaway try on the stroke of full time.
Deeside: M. McAskill, M. Hoare, A. Wallace, S. Beattie, F. Gordon, C. Ballentyne, T. Christie, M. Dyack, J. Grimble, G. Taylor, K. Dawson, T. Cochrane-Dyet, C. Gordon, H. MacCauley, G. Watt, J. McGowan, S. Inglis.