Sunday 13th November 2016
Ardrossan Accies RFC U14’s v Kilmarnock RFC U14’s
FT score: 60-12
A wet and windy Memorial Field played host to Ardrossan’s most complete performance to date as Ardrossan hosted Kilmarnock RFC. After a humbling defeat to Marr last weekend the boys went into this game looking to prove a point and to put the defensive skills they’d worked hard on at training into practice.
Straight from kick off there was an edge to this young side that none of the spectators had previously seen. There was a hunger to score tries every time they got the ball in their hands. The backs were clinical in their finishing with some great individual tries from James Reid and Joe McHugh leading the way. The forwards weren’t shying away from the ball either as Connor McLuskey, Cameron Leibenguth and Ben Rodgers powered their way through the Kilmarnock defence.
At the end of the day, while the attack was spectacular, the defence was the most impressive thing on show. Ardrossan had worked hard all week on tackle technique, line speed and turning defence into attack and it really payed off. Led from the front by Ben Langan and Ryan Skimming the defence was rarely breached. There was a period of ten minutes in the second third where the accies managed to move 20m up the pitch without ever having the ball.
Try of the day goes to Gregor Crichton who, in the final play of the game, caught the ball from a kick, beat 4 Kilmarnock defenders and sprinted 80m up the park to dot down under the posts.
All in all, a fantastic performance from the accies in their penultimate match before the Christmas break and hopefully a great stepping stone for their game against Paisley RFC next week.
Remember all the youth teams at Ardrossan Accies RFC train from 7 till 8:30 on a Wednesday night and everyone is welcome along. For more information search for Ardrossan Accies Rugby Club on Facebook.
Sunday 2nd October
Newton Stewart RFC v Ardrossan Accies RFC
Full time score: 44-42
Long trip down to Wigton for the Accies lads this weekend, made substantially longer by some poor navigation from Scott, the Accies coach. The driver, as always, performed his duties with consummate professionalism, cough, cough. This was played as a development game with only 10 Accies lads making the trip. Newton Stewart gave us three players from their squad to make up the numbers to ensure a good competitive fixture.
The Accies started really well scoring and converting three tries in the first of the three 20 minute periods. I was really impressed with the direct running play of the lads, some great rucking and tackles as well on display. The Accies ended that period in the lead.
Newton Stewart roared back in the second period, exposing the narrowness of the Accies play and scoring wide. The lads heads seemed to drop in this period as they did not match the intensity of the first 20 minutes and they finished the 20 minutes behind.
The final third saw a resurgent Accies taking the game to Newton Stewart, again relying on strong direct running to penetrate their opponents defence. Unfortunately we simply ran out of time and the final score was Newton Stewart with 8 tries, two conversions, to 6 Accies tries, with an impressive 6 conversion.
Work-ons for the lads should be the passing under pressure, ensuring we have both good wide attacking and defensive lines and looking for teammates when under pressure. Good points were the solid rucking, strong carrying game and their kicking game. I would say that I found the lads to be far better than they actual think they are! A lovely modest feature but a good dose of self belief in their own abilities and those of their teammates would really help these lads achieve their potential.
Sunday 25th September
Development game Irvine v Accies v Stewartry
This weekend saw 3 clubs descend on Irvine RFC for matches involving u13s through to u15s. Due to a lack of players from all clubs the games were played between combined teams of different ages.
Ardrossan’s U14s played against a combined Stewartry/Irvine U13/U14s team in the first match. Although they were slightly older than their opponents the Accies were on the back foot right from kick off. Across the whole team an inability to protect their own ball at the rucks cost them highly with Stewartry/Irvine exploiting the poor body height at rucks to blast Ardrossan off the ball. Indeed it seemed that for 15 minutes the Accies weren’t in the game and that they were going to get run over by their opponenents. However for the last 5 minutes the boys showed some of the heart and fight that had been seen in other games to pick up a few tries and to keep out their opponents. However, in the end, it was a case of too little too late and Stewartry/Irvine came out the winners.
The second game was an U14s/U15s game which saw the Accies join up with their opponents from the previous game to form an Ardrossan/Stewartry combined team to face Irvine’s U15s. Based on the previous match the coaches from all sides expected the larger and more mature U15 side to run over their u14s opponents. The players from both Ardrossan and Stewartry deserve a lot of credit for coming together as a squad to frustrate their larger opposition. It could even be said that the boys from Ardrossan seemed to fair better against a larger opposition. Although this could just be the players finally hitting their stride off the back of a good final period In the last game. However for all their good work Irvine’s size began to tell as players were getting injured and with no available subs the Ardrossan/Stewartry team was shrinking every minute and a small sided game favoured the hosts. In the end it finished 5-2 to Irvine but the heart shown by the Accies players, against larger opposition, was admirable.
In the end there were positives and negatives to be taken from this weekend’s games but aside from a shaky 15 minute period the maturity, confidence and the hard work put in by the team was admirable. It was just the basic skills which let them down in the end but these can be developed at training.
Sunday 18th September
Ardrossan Accies RFC U14s v Paisley RFC U14s
Full time score: 57-12
A wet and windy Memorial Field was the venue for today’s game with the conditions making champagne rugby near impossible. With the U15s match being cancelled the team got a boost from some of the players who were aged to play at U14s returning to the squad and brought the final number of players to 16. Unfortunately with Paisley being short of numbers we’ve yet to see the full 15 a side game played this year but at least all the players from both teams are getting plenty of time on the pitch to develop their skills.
From kick off Ardrossan set out to build on their victory at Kilmarnock and showed off some of the skills they’d worked on at training. The entire squad put in a great defensive effort and didn’t give their opponents a chance to play rugby with some great counter rucking giving Ardrossan the majority of the possession for the half. James Reid showed off his speed collecting the ball on numerous occasions to run the length of the park. Every time Ardrossan was on the ball they showed off their intent to keep the ball out of rucks and play an offloading game. This style would not have worked without the great supporting play from Nathan Griffiths and Ben Langan and the amazing effort shown by the whole team to work for each other and to offer themselves as options. A major focus for the warm up was that each player was thinking “can I score a try” every time they got their hands on the ball and nowhere was this illustrated more than in the games of Jack Taylor and Cameron Lanagan with some destructive runs straight at the heart of the defence showing real results. At the end of the half the score was 40-0 to Accies.
The second half was a similar story to the first with Ardrossan denying their opponents the ball through their defensive work. Unfortunately with the rain only seeming to get heavier the offloading style which had worked in the first period was now resulting in more spilled balls and turnovers than clean breaks. It was off of one of these turnovers that Paisley shipped the ball wide and struck back with a well taken try. For the majority of the half the ball rarely left the area between the halfway line and Ardrossan’s 22m line with some stout defence frustrating Paisley’s attack and cheap turnovers handing them the ball straight back. The epitomisation of that stout defence was Ryan Skimming who stole the ball from a number of Paisley players’s hands at least 5 or 6 times while his teammates tackled their legs. As the end of the half approached Ardrossan seemed to step up a gear and stopped throwing the ball away and started to try and run through their opponents instead. They used their speed, agility and strength to work their way up the pitch with Rory Currie showing off his skills to gain every inch as he worked hard with the ball in hand. With some fantastic rucking on show the maestro Gregor Crichton had an easy day at the back of rucks and kept the defence honest with some quick snipes around the side of both rucks and scrums. It was from one of these snipes that he made it over for the final score of the game. Full time score 57-12 Accies.
Overall a very convincing performance from an Accies team that is growing in confidence from week to week. A special mention to Craig Johnston who not only ran the game from fly half but also made all but 3 of his conversions in very windy conditions. The players voted James Reid man of the match for his length of the field runs and it’s well deserved but Ryan Skimming is also due praise as it is the second week in a row he’s narrowly pipped to the post in the man of the match vote. Lastly a big thank you to the players who played a half for Paisley and still put in a massive effort even though they weren’t wearing their own colours.
As always the post match feast would not be possible without all the parents and of course our off field maestro Ali Cairns who makes sure everything runs smoothly; thank you everyone.
Sunday 11th September
Kilmarnock RFC U14s v AARFC U14s
Full time Score 12-30
This weekend saw the U14s travel away to Kilmarnock without the U13s who had their own match at home to Birkmyre earlier on in the day. Due to the high winds the team were also missing the boys from Arran and had to make do with a squad of 11 players. Kilmarnock were kind enough to lend us a couple of their players to make the match both competitive and highly entertaining.
Ardrossan got the better of the opening period and capitalised on some great steals by Ben Langan and Ryan Skimming to run in two or three fantastic solo tries. The game looked like it was only going one way with Ardrossan having the majority of the possession and looking strong at the set piece. However, after the third try Ardrossan seemed to go to sleep and allowed Kilmarnock to build some prolonged pressure on the accies try line. A stout defensive effort and some great double tackles had seemed to relieve the pressure but a dropped ball allowed Kilmarnock to run a try in the corner and swung the momentum back in Kilmarnock’s favour. For the rest of the first half the crowd was treated to an end to end match with tries being run in by both sides. The pick of the bunch had to be a great effort from Craig Johnston who showed off his footballing skills with not one but two chip and chases. Somehow the defence failed to recover either kick and with 3 or 4 accies players charging forward the final kick was picked up by Ben Langan who ran under the posts and dotted down.
The second half started in much the same way as the first had ended but with tiredness starting to creep in Ardrossan’s defence began to waver and Killie ran in two unanswered tries. It’s at this point that every player must be credited as no negativity crept in and without the coach saying a word they identified the problem and had figured out how to fix it. This is something that even our 1st XV struggle to do so I was hugely impressed by the maturity and leadership shown within the side. It was with this mentality that they saw out the last 15 minutes putting into practice the defensive organisation that they’d worked on at training and even going so far as to add a few more tries on to the scoresheet while keeping out their opponents. The game finished Ardrossan 30 – 12 Kilmarnock.
Overall a highly impressive performance and a fantastic team effort. After the game the players voted Jack Taylor man of the match for his superb work both in defence and in attack. A massive thank you to all the parents who helped out with lifts and to Murray Galloway for his help warming the team up.