U18 Match reports

Ardrossan Accies under 18s V Kilmarnock under 18s

This game came at a difficult time for the young Accies, coming off a series of heavy defeats, still missing key players through injury and confidence at a low. We had spoken as a team about personal responsibilities, with players concentrating on getting back to basics and trying to rekindle the great spirit that saw us top our league last season. The response on Saturday was nothing short of breathtaking. The coaches had stressed that it was the nature of the performance rather than the result that was important in this local derby and what we got was certainly positive.

The team started with 13 players, with Killie sportingly matching us for numbers despite a squad of over 20 at their disposal. Captain for the day was Finlay Cairns but special mentions to Aaron Gray and Jason Kerr who complemented Finlay with all three displaying leadership qualities and organising, galvanising and where needed dragging players about the field.

The Accies kicked off and it was clear that this was a different Accies side that had capitulated to Newton Stewart the week before. The intensity, work rate and commitment was just off the scale as every player showed why they were wearing that badge on their chest. Not one player took a backwards step, the Killie lads were noticeably bigger and had a clear game plan to hit up and physically dominate the game through their forwards. Not today you won’t! Our forwards matched their much bigger opponents at every tackle, ruck and breakdown. The pre-game chat of doing the little things right and the rest will follow proved absolutely correct. Again to be fair to Kilmarnock they quickly adapted as plan A didn’t work and used their speedy winger to score in the corner, out rugbying us but certainly not outfighting us!!

First half ended four trys to nil for the visitors and between myself and Muzz we feared that given the intensity of the performance in the first half and the bulging subs bench of killie we would struggle to sustain our efforts for the full game. Love it when we are proved wrong!! The second half saw the Accies raise their game again, stem the tide of Killie possession and pull one try back through Captain Marvel Finlay Cairns. Again this was a display of sheer willpower, effort and pride. Not one backwards step was taken! I’m not in any way shape of form a neutral but I had the Accies the best team in the second half. Game ended five trys to one, victory to Kilmarnock.

I usually try to highlight a couple of players in these match reports but I can honestly place my hand on my heart and say that every single player is worthy of praise after this performance, the forwards worked their selves into the ground, the backs defensive performance was outstanding, leaders all over the pitch and everyone of you should be proud of yourselves. As Muzz said after the game our season starts here – lets keep this level up and show what we are capable of. My Accies MOTM is Sam Sadler, starting in at 10 for the first time he epitomised the spirit of the team with his tackling, commitment and bravery. Ad Astra

Garnock U18s v Ardrossan Accies U18s

Ardrossan travelled to Garnock searching for their first win of the season after a run of disappointing results. Garnock on the other hand arrived in better form with their last played fixture being a convincing 40-7 victory over Oban Lorne. In contrast, the Accies last game saw them on the wrong the side of a 60-7 thrashing by the Glasgow Hawks.

The mild weather could not be a precursor for the harsh conditions the young Ardrossan team experienced in the early phases of the game. From the first blast of the whistle we were under the cosh. The aggression, power and sheer weight of the Garnock pack bundled over the much smaller Ardrossan forwards and gained them an early field position that could only end in a try. Being down 5 points however were the least of our worries, Jamie Jack, the team captain, suffered a debilitating upper arm injury that seen him side-lined for the rest of the match. Garnock failed to convert making the opening score 5-0.

Garnock pressed their advantage on the dazed Ardrossan, dominating set pieces, running hard and playing pacey hit up rugby that we simply couldn’t deal with. The breadth of physicality between the
two sides was apparent and it wasn’t long before Garnock had manufactured a seemingly insurmountable lead at 22-0 within the first 30 minutes. A change of gear from Ardrossan saw them put their mark on the scoreboard. With fast ball, avoiding rucks and playing a basketball-esque offloading game they shipped the ball to our greyhound of a winger, Luca. He raced into the corner from 40 meters with Garnock defenders grasping at his shadow. The lack of possession for Ardrossan, however, was frustrating, but this positive attacking play showed us to be far from nullified. In the absence of our
kicker Jamie Jack, Michael Small stepped up to see the ball over, making it 22-7.

Another unconverted try saw the score at half time settle at a comfortable 27-7 in favour of the home side.

Going into the second half Ardrossan heads failed to drop; determination, effort and work rate were in abundance. Structure however was not and we continued to leak tries. Despite our endeavours the forwards continued to be out muscled. Garnock’s confidence in the scrum was typified when the Garnock backs were calling attacking moves despite it being an Ardrossan put in. Certain players in the Ardrossan pack, presumably tired of being bludgeoned by the more experienced Garnock forwards, drifted out of position and adopted a place among the backs. This was not helpful to the already
stretched Ardrossan forwards and accentuated the team’s problems at the break down. However this was a rare example of the Accies side losing discipline in the heat of an arduous and frustrating game. A victory for the now leaderless Accies was out of sight, but our star winger shone again. Running a blistering arch, Luca ran in for his second try of the match. Unluckily it was not converted and after a
flurry of late tries Garnock ran out 40-12.

The brutish power of Garnock forwards took its toll and before the final whistle blew, two more Ardrossan players were taken off with injuries. The game was decided by Garnock’s dominance but it was defined by Ardrossan’s impotence. From the outset Garnock were given too much respect from their opposition and they fully exploited that, to take an easy win on their home ground.

Special mentions for Luca who displayed his ability to stand out and perform when his team were struggling and to Finley Cairns who (despite being only 15) showed he could match the physicality of players beyond his years and size.

So what was the difference? About 30 Stone. Games like this are a tough pill to swallow. We will never be the biggest team, but good technique and team structure is something we can work on to improve results going forward. It’s time for us to rally to ensure that our season is not defined by our recent results. We have a lot to give and now something to prove – AD ASTRA.

Ardrossan Accies U18s v Glasgow Hawks U18s
Oban Lorne U 18s V Ardrossan Accies U18s

Its that time again folks – the post mortem of the last two games of the Ardrossan Accies under 18s. apologies for not getting the Oban game report up quicker but as I am sure you know circumstances conspired against me!
Firstly we will report on the long and arduous trip up north to play Oban. This is a trip that last season saw the then under 16s whitewashed, so offered a good yardstick as to where the squad are in their development. The young Accies started well in an extremely competitive first half with Jason Kerr carrying well and offloading to Harry Mcdonald to continue his rich vein of form for the first try of the game. Jamie Jack, captain for the game, converted well to put the Accies 7-0 up within the first 5 minutes of play. Oban came back strongly, driving through the centre with strong forward play to pull back a try and then switching wide to their wingers to pull ahead of the Accies with a converted try. Accies very own Captain Marvel, Jamie Jack, pulled back a try with a trademark break through the middle and then converted his own try to put the Accies back into the lead 14-12 at half time.

Oban powered back in the second half, taking advantage of a dozy Accies collection from kick off to score immediately and retake the lead. This lead was further consolidated with another powerful drive and quick ball wide to touch down in the corner. 24 – 12 to Oban. The next five minutes saw concerted Accies pressure with the game being played on the Oban 5 metre line and penalties and a held up try decision keeping the Oban team backed up. After this point things get a bit hazy for me as Matthew Lee (my boy) suffered a serious elbow dislocation in an attempt to touch down after an 8 pick up from an Accies scrum on the 5. The game was abandoned at this point as the referee decided that the injury was too serious to continue. Match report ended but personal thank you beginning!!

After this the coaches of Oban rallied round offering support and medical attention to help Matthew. An ambulance duly arrived and Matt stayed the night in the local hospital. I cannot speak too highly of the support both Matt and I received from the Oban contingent and I will be eternally grateful to that club for making an extremely difficult situation as manageable as possible. Good people and a credit to the game of Rugby! We agreed that the score at the time of the injury would stand as the result so it ended with a narrow Oban win.

I’ll dry my tears and move onto the Glasgow Hawks fixture!!
This fixture was played in very challenging conditions with a wind just shy of hurricane bawbag proportions. The Accies fielded a very different line up, with 3 of our usual starting line up unavailable and two new lads joining us for their first game in Accies colours. Welcome to Robert Murray and Connor Crookston, we will arrange the ritual tattooing later lads! So with a starting line up of 14 players the Accies were at a disadvantage to the full strength hawks side from the first whistle. Watching this game the most apparent thing was the fluid, open, offloading style of an extremely impressive Hawks side. They kept the ball live at every opportunity, ran the socks of the Accies lads and avoided rucks and scrums in favour of an expansive attacking style of rugby. From that introduction I think you can probably guess the result!

The fledgling Accies line up struggled with both the conditions and the style of play of their opponents, usually we stand at the sidelines and scream for our lads to tackle low and contest the breakdown. All of a sudden we were trying to reshape our approach, encouraging smother tackles and a blitz defence. As coaches I would say that perhaps we were found out a bit in this encounter and need to rethink our training drills to prepare the boys to adapt to the differing styles of our opponents, when to press and when to drift, how to read the flow of a game and form a plan to counter their opponents. Work ons for the coaching staff required!! Final score was 50 – 7 for the Hawks, who I would say are the most impressive opposition we have faced in this league. The only caveat I would include is that we play them again up at theirs and I think a full strength, better prepared Accies side will be a tougher ask!

Special mention to captain for the day and Accies man of the match, the ever dependable Jamie Jack, who scored the solitary Accies try, had a tackle count that was unbelievable and led from the front the entire day. Murray Grayston was our point scoring kicker – with a 100% success rate on the day!! The new lads Robert and Connor played well and showed exactly the spirit and desire that we look for – baptism of fire for them and they both acquitted themselves well. Special mention also to Josh Workman, who continues to improve game on game and to our BFG, Marcus Conlan, whose carrying and game awareness was exceptional and had his best game for the Accies to date.

The lasting impression I had of this game was of the spirit of the Accies lads, who went into the game somewhat flat probably due to the enforced changes but who rallied and dealt with a heavy defeat with dignity and a determination to improve. I will say it again – I am extremely proud of the group of boys that we have and I would not swap one of them for any of the Hawks lads. AD ASTRA

Cartha QP V Ardrossan Accies Under 18s

2nd September

First game of the new season for the Ardrossan Accies under 18s was up at Cartha QP for a Friday evening fixture under the floodlights. After what has seemed an extremely long close season the lads were itching to be competing again – unfortunately our injuries carried over from pre-season friendlies and a number of last year’s squad not quite aged yet to take part meant a depleted team of 13 made the short journey up to Glasgow. So, short on numbers but certainly not on enthusiasm the lads looked to pick up where they left off from last season.
The curse of the slow start that we suffered last season reared its ugly head again as the Accies quickly went two tries down in the first 15 minutes. But the heads did not go down as some excellent defence and solid work by the forwards stemmed the tide and built a platform for the backs to show some excellent passing rugby. The Accies pulled one back through Harry McDonald, with a powerful drive after extended pressure on the Cartha 5, Murray Grayston scoring the conversion to pull the score back to 10-7 to Cartha. The next try came from a wonder pass from Jamie Jack to Aaron Gray out on the wing for the Accies to deservedly take the lead at half time, 12-10.
Cartha came straight back into the game after the break taking advantage of a momentary lapse in Accies concentration at a penalty to run in a try that was quickly converted. A hard lesson to learn for the Accies and one that will no doubt feature in this weeks training! Cartha further extended their lead as their superior numbers started to tell with another unconverted try taking the score to 22-12 for the home side. The momentum then swung back to the Ardrossan lads with Matthew Lee taking advantage of confusion at a Cartha line out to run two thirds of the field, beating several players on the way to score the pick of our three tries. So back to 22-17 for the last 10 minutes of the match with all to play for! The last period of the game was evenly matched with possession switching hands several times and the Accies pushing for the equaliser. Finally Cartha were happy to kick the ball out of play to draw the match to a close. Final score 22–17 to the home side.
There was a great deal of positives to take from this game – the lovely brand of attacking, passing rugby, the excellent defensive work, the dominance at the line out and the improving work at the scrum with a remixed front line performing wonders against a far bigger Cartha line up. Work on’s will no doubt include some drills on game awareness but there was no real weakness in the teams overall performance. Unfortunately on the day we simply did not have the depth of squad to make up for the loss of so many players and paid the price against a good Cartha outfit.
Special mentions must go to Josh Workman on his debut, who slotted right into the side and played a fantastic game, and Marcus Conlan who played despite a broken finger and saved us from forfeiting the points. The referee gave Accies Man of the Match to Harry McDonald after another hard running scoring performance – well done Harry.
Thanks to Cartha who were terrific hosts and played the game in a great spirit throughout. Thanks also to the South Beach Baptist Church who allowed us to use their minibus for the game, less thanks to KFC at Ibrox that ran out of chicken, much to the disappointment of players and coaches!! Next game is the long trip up to Oban – hopefully we will have a full squad available for that difficult trip.

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