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Caithness players acquit themselves well in Caledonia youth rugby finale

By Iain Grant

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Coach Mike Flavell: 'Our guys played really well – there was very little between the sides.' Picture: James Gunn
Coach Mike Flavell: 'Our guys played really well – there was very little between the sides.' Picture: James Gunn

Caithness representatives acquitted themselves well at the Saltire Energy Caledonia youth rugby finale in Aberdeen on Sunday.

The girls' under-16s and boys' under-18s were among the 30 teams taking part in the end-of-season showpiece at the city's Sheddocksley Sports Centre.

The girls, who last month finished runners-up in the National Shield, were up against Stirling County.

County, fresh from their top-tier National Cup success, proved a step too far for Sinclair Dunnett's side as they powered to a 35-7 win.

However, the coach was more than happy with how his 20-strong squad performed.

"Stirling have played a few more games than us this year and were just a bit more streetwise and clinical – I wouldn't say they were a better rugby team," he said.

"All our girls gave everything – I couldn't have asked them for any more."

Scrum-half and captain Tamzin Rosie scored the Caithness try and conversion early in the second half.

Five Caithness under-18s were part of the North side who came desperately close to landing the silverware in the final of the age-group plate competition. They leaked two tries in the closing 10 minutes to lose out 22-17 to Moray/Huntly.

The North – an amalgam of Orkney, Caithness and Ross Sutherland – led 10-5 at the break thanks to tries from Caithness duo Kyle Leavesley and Sean Johnson. A third converted try had them 17-10 ahead and sensing victory only for them to concede twice late on.

Mike Flavell, standing in for regular coach David Pottinger, said: "It was disappointing to end up losing as we were ahead for most of the game. They scored twice late on and the boys just couldn't peg it back."

The North had to reshuffle their resources after two late call-offs, including Caithness back-rower Duncan Mackay. They travelled with a squad of 19 which included two Orkney boys who were carrying injuries.

Flavell said: "I thought our guys played really well. There was very little between the sides and I reckon that if we had been able to train together we would definitely have beaten them.

"We had no structures or processes to work through – they just had to play what was in front of them."

All five of the Caithness contingent – Leavesley, Johnson, Liam Flavell, William Oag and Sam Gallacher – are eligible to play under-18s next season.

Caithness Krakens, meanwhile, made their debut in the Orkney Sevens on Saturday when the competition was revived after a two year Covid-enforced absence.

The event came in the middle of a hectic weekend for Mike Flavell who had begun it with a coaching course in Edinburgh on Friday.

Injuries and unavailability meant he fielded a tyro outfit for the round-robin competition involving five teams.

The Krakens ended up with a record of one win and four losses.

Orkney won all their four games to end up victors.

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