THE ANNUAL Christmas rugby match, between the Young Guns (in blue) and Old Muskets (in white) took place at Clickimin last Saturday, with great weather conditions. There was a good turnout, with both sides fielding 15.
The match started well, with the youngsters playing down the slope and making use of the territorial advantage. They kept the white team pinned in their half for most of the quarter, but the Muskets’ defence was resolute.
An infringement at a ruck gave the Young Guns their first chance of points, but Shane Jamieson managed to miss the easy kick. It was, however, soon followed by an excellent solo try from winger Danny Farnworth, who scored from deep after evading several would be tacklers. The kick was missed, but the Blues ended the quarter 5-0 up.
The second quarter was kinder to the Whites; they had good control at the scrum and ruck and were able to keep possession for good periods of time. Although the minds were working overtime, the quality of some of the passing and handling let them down, not allowing them to score any points. The lineout was also working very well, with Stuart Jamieson taking several balls on the opposition throw. This caused frustration for the Blues and their throwing also suffered. The Whites were content to use the touchline, as they were able to put a lot of pressure on the Blue lineout.
The third quarter should have been an opportunity for the Old Muskets to really take control, as they now had the downhill run and had dominated most areas of play. However the Young Guns had other ideas and attacked the line brilliantly, with some excellent counters from poor kicks by the White team, led by rookie fullback Aaron Leask. This led to tries by Shane Jamieson and Maurice Williamson, both of which were converted by Jamieson, to give them a 19-0 lead, with one quarter to go. There were a couple of other chances missed by the Blues, due to some excellent last ditch tackles by the White team.
The White team decided at that point to slow the game down and keep the ball close, using runners close in. That tactic worked well, drawing in defenders and Shane Patterson went over on the right hand side, although the kick was missed. The Whites were soon creating space for Stuart Smith on the left wing to dance through the defence and put the oldies on the board again. This time Derek Ross nailed the important kick, closing the gap to 19-12.
With time ticking on, Jeff Shaw made a break up the left side, popping a good ball in to the ever present Patterson, who scored again. Ross nailed the kick, tying the game up 19-19. With the Blues arguing amongst themselves, the Whites took control right from the kickoff, driving up the middle, keeping the ball close. The Blues had no answer to this and with the clock ticking, big John Kay was driven over in the corner, to give the Whites the lead for the first time in the match. The kick was another poor effort, proving forwards should not kick the ball.
With time all but up, the Guns chased the kick well and took possession. They held on to it, but struggled to break through the resolute defence. When the ball was coughed up in the tackle, the older team were content to pack down a scrum, and clear the ball to touch, to record an unlikely win over their young rivals. There were some excellent displays from both teams, with Stuart Jamieson the pick of them, with a phenomenal work rate and some excellent takes in both lineouts and at kickoffs, especially on opposition ball. However, on this occasion, rugby certainly was the winner.
The return fixture takes place this Saturday, meeting at 12pm at Clickimin. With several players not available for this game, all current, former and prospective players are asked to come along.