Highland hurt

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Weather was a key factor in this top of the table clash between Deeside U18s and Highland with Deeside being forced to play into a strong wind in the first half.

Highland took immediate advantage and pushed play deep into Deeside’s 22. The Deeside defence was stretched and with only two minutes played Highland scored out wide, unconverted in the gale 5:0. For the remainder of the first half Deeside spend most time defending, with only rare incursions into the Highland half. For the most part defence was solid, but in the face of relentless Highland pressure and good use of the wind, Deeside conceded two further tries one converted 17:0.

Typical of the Highland weather, the wind dropped in the second half, and the toll of some minor injuries and changes put Deeside on the back foot again.

This so easily could have been a turning point in this game but Deeside failed to take control. Time and again they found themselves defending with little quality first or second phase ball to work off and Highland with more possession and good support lines crossed the Deeside line twice more.

As the wind picked up again in the final ten minutes, Deeside at last had some territory and possession. Eventually a quickly taken tap penalty by scrum half Matthew Hillier was finished by wing Tswai Mweemba and despite the distance out, and the breeze, converted by stand-off Struan Gordon 27:7.

Deeside finished stronger and played their best rugby in the last ten minutes crossing the Highland line once more, but judged held up, but it was too little too late.

In many games a little luck and small margins can make all the difference and a head rather than a tails at the start of this one might have resulted in a very different outcome; the return fixture will certainly be one to watch. Next week the U18s are away to Gordonstoun.