Kinross 5, Carnoustie 20
CARNOUSTIE RFC under-16s were full of confidence on their trip to Kinross on Sunday.
From the kick-off the tackles were fierce and although Carnoustie had the advantage in the scrum, they were unable to breach the home defence. A full 20 minutes of excellent attacking rugby went by before the pack freed the ball to allow stand in captain Harry Lobban to come from the wing to power over in the corner.
The pressure from the visitors’ pack was taking its toll on Kinross. James Leslie awoke in the middle of a ruck to force his way to the line and get the ball down with several opposition players onboard.
Minutes later Kinross pulled a try back after poor discipline from Carnoustie surrendered 30 metres.
With the referee calling the last play of the half at a visitors’ scrum on the opposition five metre line, you might have expected a lapse in concentration, such as has happened a number of times this season. However, a solid shove and quick-witted scrum-half Jack Lowe was to end the half with an excellent try out wide after he pounced on the channel one ball and outstripped the defence.
The second half produced more of the same exciting rugby with the referee allowing flowing rugby and both teams trying to attack at every opportunity.
The Carnoustie backline was looking more dangerous with every move and a good supply of ball saw the Kinross line pounded, but not breached. Even with both sides bringing on a number of substitutes the pattern did not change and Harry Lobban finished off his captain’s performance with yet another powerful try after a good repost from full back David Nail. The final whistle saw a well deserved 5 – 20 victory.
In many ways this was Carnoustie’s best performance of the season so far. The attitude was excellent and even when attacks were thwarted the team remained focused, tackled hard and in the end were too powerful for the Kinross squad.
The previous week the under-16s had travelled to Forfar to face their Strathmore counterparts. From the kick-off Carnoustie looked in the mood and the ball was run back into the Strathie defence by Kevin Rice, who adjusted well to the flanker role.
The first scrum was always going to be a big test, and with a one-metre push all that is allowed, control was key. Once again the visitors’ pack was excellent in the tight. They secured the ball and then Jack Lowe released the backs but the slippery ball didn’t go far and a ruck in midfield resulted in a penalty for offside to the home team.
Defences held until Anthony Franco burst through after some good offloading to score and allow Matthew Burgess to add the extras.
Strathmore levelled 10 minutes later after poor discipline at the ruck saw Carnoustie penalised several times to lose good field position. The Strathie forward won quick ball and a missed tackle in midfield saw a score out wide which was not converted.
The visitors replied through Liam Rennie who was able to hold on to a long pass and forced his way to the line to maintain his excellent scoring run.
After the break it was more of the same with first Carnoustie and then Strathie pounding the try line.
More ill discipline on the ground by the visitors allowed Strathie to kick for touch and the pressure eventually told. After several phases of play the pack were able to force over their centre, who had been stopped short, to equal the try count at two apiece. The conversion was missed.
It looked like Anthony Franco had sealed victory with five minutes to go when he again stormed over the line, only to be held up for a five-metre scrum. The Carnoustie pack won the scrum and drove hard at the line but the defence held firm time after time. Only when James Leslie awoke in the middle of a maul was the line breached as he powered over for the winning try.
Squad: Franco, Tyrrell, Blackburn, Rice, Finlay, M. Burgess, Rennie, Dissel, Nail, McGowan, Lobban, Hay, A. Burgess, Lowe, Leslie, Noble, Howlett and Ienetta.
On Sunday, Carnoustie are at home to Blairgowrie with a 1 p.m. kick-off.