Highland RFC 40 : West of Scotland FC 43
West's U18s travelled to Inverness on Saturday, 5th September, to play Highland in their first match of the season, and their inaugural fixture of Scottish Rugby's President Conference. There was a slight air of apprehension amongst the West players and coaches, given this was the first time this particular squad had played together, and that their opponents were last season's U18 National League and Cup winners
West started brightly, dominating the initial phases and were rewarded with 10 unanswered points. Highland's big pack finally got into gear, with scores traded measure for measure by each side, resulting in a very tight 29-28 score-line in favour of the visitors at half-time.
The second half resumed where the first ended, with Highland dominating through their pack, countered by West's fast, free flowing back play, each unit making the scores for their respective teams. As the half wore on, West's more mobile forwards gained the upper hand over their heavier opponents, gaining ground and the greater proportion of set-pieces. As a result West held the territorial advantage, but as with the first half, tries and conversions continued tit-for-tat, with the match ending in West's favour 43-40.
A great result for the boys in red and yellow, though a focus on defensive structure and shape will no doubt be the focus of training in the coming week. That said it was extremely pleasing to see the cohesion of the new squad develop as the match progressed, reflected in the multi-phased offensive gains and scores.
As in the past, the match was played in the best of spirits between two sides who have always played with great respect and friendship for each other. Post-match hospitality and camaraderie was second to none, and our thanks goes to Highland for a great day, regardless of score, who we look forward to hosting at Burnbrae on the 14th of November.
The next league fixture against Boroughmuir at Burnbrae this Saturday, 12th September, is eagerly awaited.
Full fixtures, results and tables of this season's U18 Presidents's Conference can be found by clicking HERE.