There could hardly have been a better way for Tiree RFC to have ended their first full season than to have had four of our players represent Argyll and Bute against Uddingston RFC’s touring U16 and U17 sides.
It has been an excellent year that has seen the number of pupils attending the rugby club increase both at primary and secondary levels. We have had a couple of visits from Billy Thomson, the SRU’s representative for Argyll and Bute, which have been extremely useful and thoroughly enjoyed by the pupils. The skills of all of the youngsters who have attended the Saturday morning club have increase drastically and this was very evident in our four players that went to Mull last weekend.
Three of the four boys had never played in a rugby match before and I am sure that the thought of going into a full contact game against extremely experienced players must have been daunting but our boys never showed it. Jamie MacDonald and Daniel Hayes both played the first half of the U16 game and put in very solid performances.
Jamie was the first to put all his practice to the test by putting in a thumping tackle against a significantly larger opponent, who ended up landing on top of him, much to Jamie’s surprise. Daniel, not one to be upstaged, decided to take on two of the opposition and ended up at the bottom of an eight man ruck (pile-on). He did win the ball for his side but unfortunately ended up with a twisted ankle for his efforts and had to sit the rest of the game out. Bruce Thomson, the club’s only experienced player, was on for the full match as a wing forward and despite having never been in a scrum before seemed to know exactly what he was doing. He was the nemesis for the Uddingston team as not one player was able to get passed him and he seemed to be everywhere. His performance was so solid that it drew the attention of the Argyll and Bute county team scout. Ewen, unfortunately, only got onto the pitch for the last 10 minutes of the U16 game but still managed to stamp his mark. The first time he got his hands on the ball he made a great run, breaking through one tackle and making 10 yards on the ‘gain line’ before he was brought down but he retained possession for his team. He then went on to play for the U17 side where he was positioned in forwards and continued Tiree’s new but rising reputation of producing formidable tacklers.
All of our boys put in excellent performances and played a crucial role in securing a 19-5 victory for the U16s and an 18-5 victory for the U17s. A special mention should also be made to Sean, Finn and Jack who have attended almost every training session since the club started. Also to George, Joseph, Connor, Beatrice and Colin who have attended regularly as well as all of the others who have started to turn up.
The club is growing in numbers and ability and it would not have happened if it wasn’t for these youngsters coming along on Saturday mornings. Of course nothing would have happened at all if it hadn’t been for the time and effort that has been volunteered by Tiree’s rugby champion, Aurélie Stevens, and the coaches Steve Thomson, Bruce Kemp and Robert Trythall.
The rugby club would like to thank ‘Active Schools’ for the funding that they have provided which will help us get more equipment and subsidised last weekends trip to Mull. Also to Tiree School for making the premises available on weekends and the support we have received from the PE department.
The club has gone from strength to strength and will hopefully continue to do so as Tiree rugby has already started to get a reputation for itself and I am confident that this is just the beginning of great rugby achievements for the youth of the island. As for future Scotland players, watch this space……………