U12 XV

2012 - 2013

TThe Year 8 Boys’ Rugby Squad started training twice weekly from the beginning of September and grew steadily in number as the season went on. The boys’ enthusiasm and eagerness to learn what, for most of them, was an entirely new game was infectious, and with the hard work of coaches Mr Dickson, Mr Adams and Mr Irvine progress was steady throughout the year.

Our first game was in early November against Regent House. Despite a fine display of running rugby the ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams lost their first competitive encounters; with the ‘C’ team recording a narrow victory. This initial taste of match action only served to whet the appetite of the boys even more and in the following week we played a strong Down HS Year 8 group. The ‘B’ and ‘C’ teams lost heavily, however, the ‘A’ team showed how much progress they had made in a relatively short period of time and only a late try saw us lose out 4-3. Despite these early setbacks, the group were buoyed by the progress being made and we didn’t have to wait long to register our first victory. We travelled to Carrickfergus Grammar School and came away with victories for all three teams.

A return game against our first opponents Regent House at home gave the first real indication that the boys had made significant strides when we turned around a heavy defeat in November to register a closely fought draw.

Unfortunately, the inclement Northern Ireland winter meant that several matches were postponed due to waterlogged pitches and we had to wait until after Christmas before we played our neighbours Wellington College in a local derby. Despite the opposition having a number of big, strong runners, we tackled our hearts out and registered another hard fought victory. The ‘B’ and ‘C’ teams also won well to make it a very successful day despite the horrendous conditions. A rematch against Carrickfergus GS was to follow with another three victories achieved, albeit not as convincingly as our previous encounter. Our final ‘friendly’ match of the season was against Rainey Endowed, who played excellent rugby and proved too strong for us.

The climax of the season was the Year 8 tournament, held at Down HS which had to be postponed until after Easter due to the snow! Unfortunately for us, this break from playing and training meant that we were somewhat ‘ring rusty’ and struggled to perform to our potential on the day. That aside, the guys enjoyed their day and can very much look forward to next season.

Over the course of the year there were many notable performances with James McMaster showing a lot of promise as a big, hard running forward who has the potential to make a real impact next year. Joshua Malcolm proved to be a real find, with his aggressive running and hard hitting style ensuring he scored many tries and troubled all defences. Defensively, Robbie Logue was a fearless tackler all season, leading the line at all times with great courage and determination. Daniel Armstrong was another who was never afraid to put his body on the line and tackled everything that moved. No. 8. Adam Hewitt and Garrett Robinson proved pacy on the wing and in the centre, scoring many tries over the course of the season. Finally, to prove that size is not the be all and end all in rugby, Ryan Grieve, Mark Crooks, Jamie Sadlier and Dylan Gray (despite suffering a broken wrist) punched above their weight egularly, never afraid to stand up and be counted when the going got tough.

Although I’ve singled out a few individuals, every player made great strides forward and should be very proud of their efforts. I’d also like to thank the many coaches who where involved with this group of boys and I very much look forward to seeing this squad develop even further next year.

Mr K McCallan