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Caithness contingents set for end-of-season youth rugby showpiece

By Iain Grant

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Two rugby contingents from Caithness will be looking to end their season on a high at the Caledonia youth end-of-season showpiece in Aberdeen on Sunday.

Seven players from the county are among a composite North squad who will face Moray/Huntly in the under-18 boys' plate final.

They will team up with colleagues from Orkney and Ross Sutherland in the squad which is coached by Caithness stalwart David Pottinger.

The team have had to overcome major logistical challenges to play in the Caley league.

Pottinger said: "We had one joint training session at the start of the season but since then they have been training with their respective clubs. It has obviously made it difficult to work on developing our game plan."

The North got a walkover in the semi-final of the competition after scheduled opponents Gordonstoun pulled out.

Pottinger said: "I think if the boys play to their strengths, we'll be in with a shout on Sunday. I am just hoping that they will do themselves justice."

The Caithness group include several who have played for Caithness 2nd XV, while Danny Macleod and Duncan Mackay have both had run-outs with the Greens.

The final is one of a series of Saltire Energy Caley age groups finals going ahead at the city's Sheddocksley Sports Centre.

Pottinger, who is in the midst of lambing on his farm at Murkle, is unable to travel, with Caithness women's coach Mike Flavell standing in for him.

Caithness under-16 girls scored a superb 51-32 win versus Highland in Inverness on Sunday to claim their place in the Caley Cup final. The far north side rallied after trailing 22-17 at half-time to blitz their hosts with a flurry of tries.

Their opponents on Sunday will be Stirling County, who edged out Tayside 10-7 in their semi.

It will be another big challenge for Sinclair Dunnett's players.

Last month, County defeated East Lothian 32-17 in the final of the national cup while Caithness were going down 41-12 to Tayside in the final of the second-tier shield.

However, Dunnett is delighted with the progress of his young side, many of whom only took up the game at the tail end of last year.

"Getting to one cup final was amazing, never mind getting to two," he said. "Stirling are obviously a very good side but we haven't played them this season and we will be giving it our best shot."

The season has finished with a whimper for the Caithness under-18 girls after they were forced to scratch from the regional competition.

The semi-finals were arranged at short notice to take place in Perth on Sunday and a combination of work commitments, school exams and injuries meant the far north side could not muster a squad.

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