With a 7am start from Banchory, for an early kick-off in Inverness, Deeside U18 could easily have lacked focus for the Caledonian Shield final against Aberdeen Wanderers.
However, the team were determined to win this game and it showed both in attack and defence throughout.
Constant pressure from Deeside eventually resulted in the first points for captain Tom Christie, unconverted out 5:0. Scrum half Matthew Hillier use the wind to good effect constantly pushing play into the Wanderers half with well-placed box kicks. Douglas Park’s debut at inside centre was phenomenal, and when Wanderers tried to move the ball wide they we consistently closed down by some excellent tackling.
Angus Wallace also tackled well around the fringes of the rucks, and in the conditions Wanderers struggled to break the gain line.
Forward pressure and good interlinking produced Deeside’s second try from Chris Ballantyne, this time Sam Morris making a good conversion from wide out 12:0.
The front row trio of Melvin McAskill, Angus Hart and Dan Sutton held the scrums solid, and in the second row Peter Lamont and Jordan McDonald provided the power needed to put pressure on the Wanderers scrum.
No.8 Mathew Gordan picked up well from the base of the scrum, and soon the Deeside pack were putting pressure close to the Wanderers try line again.
Scrum half Mathew Hillier dummied the wide pass and sniped past the Wanderers guards at the ruck to score Deeside’s third try again converted by fly-half Sam Morris.
Play restarted and almost immediately Deeside were again in control and attacking, with a well worked overlap putting winger Connor McWilliam over in the corner for 24:0.
With play restarted again Wanderers rallied and with good phase play eventually crossed the Deeside line just before half time - 24:5.
In the second half Deeside found themselves more on the back foot. Kicking game was much harder against the strong wind, but Wanderers failed to use it to their full advantage.
Deeside tackling was crucial with Tswai Mweemba and Connor Bull tackling well on the wings and when Wanderers did try to use the wind, full back Liam Hutcheon was always well positioned to receive the ball and counter attack.
Wanderers upped the pressure and crossed the Deeside line twice, only to be held up, but the third time the score was good and the margin reduced to 24:10.
With half the Deeside team having played through to the semi-finals of the Lathallan 7s on the day before, and a smaller than normal Deeside squad, legs were clearly beginning to tire but Deeside managed to contain Wanderers for the remaining 10 minutes, even coming close to another breakaway try. Despite the difficult conditions this was a good game between two good sides.
Deeside: Melvin McAskill, Angus Hart, Dan Sutton, Peter Lamont, Jordan McDonald, Chris Ballantyne, Matthew Gordan, Angus Wallace, Matthew Hillier, Sam Morris, Tom Christie, Douglas Park, Tswai Mweemba, Conor McWilliam, Laim Hutcheon, Connor Bull.