Another five points on the road for NSRFC
By Jo firstname.lastname@example.org
Young players excel in Orkney
Newton Stewart RFC travelled a staggering 600-mile round trip last weekend to play Orkney RFC up in Kirkwall, where a stiff breeze and a warm welcome awaited them.
Orkney opened strongly, forcing some early tackles from the Reds, with captain Mark McCornick looking dangerous at the breakdown. Possession flitted back and forwards between the two sides, but Newton Stewart defended well, always ensuring to keep the home team restrained within their own half. Second row James McMiken made a series of excellent tackles to put Orkney under pressure.
When Orkney were penalised after about fifteen minutes, Newton Stewart looked to capitalise. The ball was carried up by the forwards before passing out towards the backs where stand-off David Gaw received it in space. Slicing through the Orkney defensive line with perfect precision he then backed his pace to run in a superb opening try for the Reds. Centre Fraser Morton narrowly missed the conversion with the swirling wind playing a role.
The remained of the first half saw mixed possession, with Orkney forcing Newton Stewart to defend for long spells. The Red wall was largely impenetrable however and the home side never really looked close to scoring. David Gaw kicked sublimely in this half, controlling the game with ease and monopolising on the space he saw.
Some handling errors from Newton Stewart hindered their progress upfield at times with many knock-ons and untidy passes going awry. They held their own well in the scrum however, where Orkney are notoriously strong, but suffered a little at the line-out as the wind took control.
The first half ended with the Reds 0-5 ahead but facing the prospect of playing both into the wind and with the sun in their eyes in the second half.
The home side put themselves under some unnecessary pressure from the restart when their kick-off didn’t go ten yards. Newton Stewart were playing threatening rugby, fast-paced and off-loading, however it was still messy in places.
Full-back Russell Morton kicked a penalty deep into the Orkney half and the Reds set about creating a driving maul from the resultant line-out. Once the pack got moving they proved unstoppable and rumbled over the line for centre Jack Gaw to touch down the ball for a try which he subsequently converted also for a 0-12 lead.
Orkney had a spell of possession again now and managed to position themselves deep in the Newton Stewart half, almost on top of the try line. Prop Gavin Freeland averted danger however by ripping the ball from the hands of his opponent before bursting through the Orkney players to give the Reds some breathing space.
The home side continued to compete well at the breakdown, proving too quick over the ball on a number of occasions. Their hooker took off up the pitch after one such display to cause a brief moment of panic for the Reds’ supporters, however the threat was nullified and Newton Stewart countered once more.
When winger Robert Service came on from the bench his first touch of the ball was in space on the wing. Putting his foot to the floor his outpaced his opposite man with consummate ease and scored the third try for the Reds, Jack Gaw once again converting.
The last ten minutes of the game saw Newton Stewart desperately searching for the bonus point try. They had a scrum on the five-metre line with the last play of the game and set about making the most of it. They recycled the ball through the forwards until it fell to second row Duncan Skimming, who bulldozed his way over for the important fourth try. Gaw converted once more for a final score of 0-26.
There were too many unforced handling errors in this game, however there was also much to be pleased with. The scrum in particular functioned well against some well-drilled competition. Young prop Ross Campbell produced his best performance of the season and looked every inch the equal of his opposite man.
James McMiken tackled exceptionally well from the second row and Jack Gaw impressed with his kicking and ferocity in the tackle.
Man of the match however was his cousin David Gaw, who was hands down the best player of the day. His control of the game was clear to see and his try was fantastic. A superb performance from some of the youngest players on the pitch.
Next weekend will see Newton Stewart return to Bladnoch Park for one of the biggest games of the season, taking on league leaders Gordonians. Having only narrowly lost against them up in Aberdeen, the competition will be fierce. But having an unbeaten record at home over the last two season, Newton Stewart RFC will be looking to defend their fortress more than ever. The club looks forward to welcoming a big crowd to what promises to be an exciting match. Kick-off is at 2pm.
Team: Russell Morton, Liam Brawls, Fraser Morton, Jack Gaw, Jamie Muir, David Gaw, Robbie McCornick, Ross Campbell, Thomas MacDonald, Gavin Freeland, William McCornick, James McMiken, Mark McCornick (capt), Calum Gaw, Alan Ferrie. Subs: Ronan McDonald, Duncan Skimming, Robert Service, David Adams.