|Murray just missed out in Melbourne; Mums and Dads (and coaches too) were nursing hangovers after various Burns Suppers; wild winds whistled round the whins at Madras RFC; but at the end of the day it was the P6 Wee Blues’ opponents who were feeling tired and emotional, having been steamrollered by a collective team performance which will live long in the memories of those who witnessed it.
Cup winners at St Andrews
The signs had not been terribly promising for the P6 Wee Blues in the run up to the first tournament of 2013. Training had been interrupted both before and after the Christmas break by adverse weather. Turnout on Sunday mornings had been down on the usual healthy numbers. In consequence the Wee Blues travelled more in hope than expectation as they headed up the snowy hills and down the other side to a windswept and bitterly cold St Andrew for a crack at the Fife and Forfarshire Cup.
The list of opponents was enough to confirm those fears. Madras chose from a large pool of players; Dunfermline always raise their game when they play against Kirkcaldy; Glenrothes were dogged as ever; and Howe of Fife turned up and expected to put all to the slaughter, as they normally do against these adversaries.
Yet there was something stirring in the Auld Grey Toon. Even though the Wee Blues only had a squad of 9 from which to select their starting line-up of 8, they showed a collective determination and will to win which was greater than could have been expected.
First up was Madras. A good start, racing into a 3-0 half-time lead. Thomas and James got the opening two tries – a portent of things to come perhaps – and Innes weighed in with a good solo effort. The foot came off the gas in the second half though and the Wee Blues simply couldn’t hold on to the ball. Madras were quickly back into it with a good team try. They followed that up with another one to reduce the Wee Blues lead to one. Defence was steadfast however, and the Wee Blues closed out the game to chalk up their first victory 3-2.
After a break to give them time to consider the good stuff and the bad stuff from Game 1 – and there was plenty to consider – they were back out again to face Glenrothes. Glenrothes had lost their first game 10-0 and the Wee Blues task was to demonstrate they could be equally clinical against opponents who were clearly struggling. In a blaze of attacking glory the tries rained in from all over the park. Five different scorers amassed 10 tries without reply. Cammy led with 4, closely followed by James with 3. Solo scores from Innes, Cian and Thomas rounded off a tremendous team performance as the ball was swiftly transferred to men in open space. 10-0. Bring on Dunfermline !
And so with no time to regain their breath the Wee Blues were straight back on the field of battle to take on their local rivals. Dunfermline had put up a good show in their first two matches, but were to be no match for the indomitable team spirit of the Wee Blues. Five tries – again five different scorers – and for the second match in a row no opponent crossed the Thin Wee Blue Line for a 5-0 win.
So it all boiled down to a winner takes all tie against Howe of Fife, who were also unbeaten. The Howe boys were big and strong – clearly they were feeding them different rations from the Wee Blues, but the Wee Blues were determined and courageous. The Wee Blues were fighting hard but passes were going to ground and rucks were not being hit with sufficient ferocity to dislodge their weighty opponents. Howe were even getting the rub of the green and with the referee failing to spot a couple of forward passes and one kick to the head, Kirkcaldy found themselves in arrears thanks to a smartly taken try from Howe. Half time arrived and the coaches had a big job to do to instil the necessary self-belief into their charges. This team had never beaten Howe: was today to be their day ?
The second half kicked off and some excellent strong running from Thomas brought the Wee Blues level. Still they were playing on the back foot with probably no more than 40% possession. But they were determined and every man jack tackled himself to a stand-still. Would they get the break they deserved ? A ruck was set up 15 metres from the Howe line, with Howe in possession. Their ball-carrier was stripped and then a gap appeared from nowhere, like the parting of the Red Sea. James was through it in the batting of an eyelid and as he turned on the afterburners no-one could get near him. The Kirkcaldy support erupted as he touched down safely. Still Howe came back, but the defence stayed strong and saw out the remainder of the match for a famous 2-1 victory. So in a mirror image of the first game, tries from Thomas and James bookended a most enjoyable day.
Played four, won four.
20 tries scored in four games.
7 different try scorers.
But the best statistic of all was only three tries conceded.
There is plenty more for the coaches to work on before their vision comes to fruition of a flowing game with ball going through hands and into space and contact being taken only when there is no alternative, but a significant step was taken this weekend and the players should all be very proud of themselves.
Well done to the P6 Wee Blues and hasten the next tournament !
Cammy – 5
James – 5
Thomas – 4
Innes – 3
Cian, Daniel, Jed – 1 each