THERE was a good turnout of forwards for the first pre-season match of the 2008-09 rugby season last Saturday.
With several front row players heeding the call, it was decided that playing across the field “mini-rugby” style would be the best way to manage the game, and allow less space for the aerodynamic whippets to run rings around the heavy duty forwards. This tactic paid off, with both teams having to work phases and try and use the limited space better.
With both sides boasting forwards in all the key positions in the backs, it could be expected that the skill level might have been lower than usual, but old war horses Alan Blair and Jon Roy Nicolson at times showed sublime skills, despite the pace not being there to finish moves off.
There was some pace shown by Dhanni Moar, looking in good shape for the coming season, with some bullocking runs up the middle, tempered by some good pace to make tackles on a few of the supposedly “quicker” players on show.
New boy Dave (I used to be in the RAF) from Unst showed good skills on attack and some punishing tackles on defence and looks to be a good acquisition for the club. Other players to shine included Niall (I have a wicked sidestep) Christie and Ross (never fought I’d be a lineout jumper) Winks.
Although the match was not the ideal warm up to a hectic season, it was a chance for many to get their hands on the oval ball for the first time in a while and thanks goes to Mike Skinner for refereeing.
Tomorrow sees the second (and last) pre-season match with a 1pm kickoff. Players are reminded that this is their last chance to impress coach Wayne Leslie before next week’s league opener against Banff.
A club spokesman said: “Places are up for grabs, but players need to make this match and subsequent training sessions to be considered for the Banff game.”
Training continues on Tuesday and Thursday nights at 6.30pm.