Harsh lesson for Caithness Krakens after promising start against islanders
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The inexperienced Caithness women's rugby side were given a harsh lesson as they were put to the sword by Orkney Dragons at Millbank on Saturday.
It had all looked so promising as the Krakens cut loose to rack up a 24-5 lead after 30 minutes.
But the strength and physicality of the islanders gradually paid dividends and they pulled level by the turnover.
Starved of possession and struggling to contain Orkney's powerful ball-carriers, Caithness were regularly regrouping under their posts in the second period.
Six unreplied tries saw the Caley North Regional League leaders coast home 56-24.
The Caithness points came from tries by Anja Johnston, Shannon Pasotti (2) and Shannon Campbell, who added two conversions.
The Krakens' cause was hit by injuries soon after the interval sustained by Pasotti (shoulder ligaments) and Campbell (broken collarbone).
Coach Mike Flavell said the electric opening may have counted against his team.
"It was a combination of Orkney's early start and us hitting our straps running," he said. "It didn't do us any favours as possibly a few of us thought it was going to be easy."
Flavell said his side were put under severe pressure when Orkney's game plan kicked in.
"They put their big ball-carriers close to the rucks and we struggled to put them down," he said.
"We were committing two to three players to the tackle and we were short-handed when they spun it wide.
"They took control after the interval, and the two injuries certainly didn't make it any easier for us."
The coach was keen to praise the commitment of his squad, eight of whom were playing their second ever competitive game.
The previous week, the Krakens had taken their league bow when they faced Inverness Craig Dunain at Invergordon.
They were on the back foot for most of the first half and had conceded three tries before a Pasotti touchdown reduced the deficit to 21-5.
A much-improved display after the interval saw Pasotti cross again along with fellow centre Aiva Harper, with Kirsty Robertson converting both.
In between Craig Dunain had grabbed their fourth try and they ended up hanging on to secure a 26-19 victory.
The Krakens' next outing is a trip to Fraserburgh on October 23.