The FIRST Angus derby for the Sharks Under-16s was an trip away to Montrose. A motivated Sharks went into the game sitting second in the league, tied on points with Montrose but ahead on points difference.
The game started in a flash of fast paced rugby with Montrose drawing first blood after playing some fantastic side to side rugby before crashing over the line but failed to convert the try.
Pressure at the kick off forced Montrose to spill and Angus Fairlie collected the loose ball and set Macaulay Holgate up to score to bring the Sharks level.
The Sharks dominated play, driving back Montrose in the scrum and winning ball against the head. Alex King, Jack Wilson and Kieren Edmeades secured ball at the breakdown with ruthless rucking, while Jonathan Blackie caused havoc for Montrose at the line out. The backs hit some fantastic lines at rewarded the team with a scrum on the Montrose five-metre line. Stewart Kings and Dylan McKenzie were great with their support play.
Angus Fairlie picked from the back of the scrum and powered over the line to score and the conversion was successful, the Sharks led 12-5.
The Sharks lost momentum and lacked clarity when making decisions, especially when awarded a penalty. The lack of quickness and drive slowed play down. This allowed Montrose to claw back a try, 12-10, and the Sharks responded with some slick passing plays which sliced the defence open but couldn’t complete the final execution.
Montrose were quick out the blocks after half-time scoring two unconverted tries to regain the lead 20-12. The Sharks capitalised from Montrose having a man sent to the ‘sin bin’, winning a scrum against the head and exploiting a weak centre paring to charge down the centre of the pitch.
From a last-ditch Montrose tackle the ball was offloaded from the deck to Dean Farquharson who drove through two defenders to score.
The Sharks were within striking distance trailing only 20-17. The game became de-structured as both sides made a series of errors but the Sharks maintained their physicality and played the better rugby as they had done the entire game.
Injustice was tasted as Montrose scored their final try of the game. A solo line break from their full-back sliced open the defence and none of the Sharks could match the full-back’s pace in a 40-metre foot race and the score was 25-17.
The Sharks piled the pressure on the Montrose forwards and once again demonstrated to the big Montrose pack that they meant business, driving the scrum back, stealing the ball and made headway for the try line. Macaulay scored the try and the conversion looked as though it was good but the bitter coastal wind took the distance off the kick and it hit the crossbar.
It was now a three-point game, 25-22.
The final phase of the game saw two yellow cards and a series of penalties for the Sharks as the clocked turned red and a mad scrap was on to make ground and score. However the Sharks couldn’t clinch the all-important try. The penalties against Montrose for elementary mistakes at the breakdown allowed the Sharks to gain 50+ metres. The final penalty 15 metres from the line was countered by a blitz defence and the Sharks lost focus, the ball was dropped and kicked into touch by Montrose.
Final score: Montrose 25, Strathmore Sharks 22.
The Sharks took two points from the game, one for scoring over four tries and one for losing by less than seven points, which hopefully should keep them in the running for second place.
Squad: McKenzie, Dyer, S Kings, Farquharson, O’Brien, Baldie, Voice, Edmeades, Cashley, Blackie, Wilson, A Kings, Fairlie, Holgate, Angus, Murray, Lawrie and Flynn.