The powerful Strathmore U-18s made it six wins out of seven when they faced a well-drilled Grangemouth side at Forfar on Saturday.
In a well-matched and close encounter Strathmore showed outstanding team spirit and determination to win the game in the last three minutes of play with a try from captain Ewen Hart following powerful driving play from the pack after “pinching” a lineout close to the Grangemouth line.
The crowd were on tenterhooks in the closing stages as Strathmore continued to dominate field position from excellent handling, support play and the outstanding kicking from hand performance from Struan Robertson.
This was a strong team performance from Strathmore against a bigger and older Grangemouth side who have themselves been winning most games.
However, the Strathie 18s way of playing, and pressurising, is now becoming a regular feature as they build consistency into their performance.
The scrum was in strong form, driving Grangemouth back, with the front row powerhouses of Kevin Hood, Josh Forbes, Ben Fotheringham and Daniel Cashley giving their opponents a torrid time.
This, allied to outstanding defence and real quality in keeping the ball, set the tone for the match.
The boot of Mark McQueen knocked over three excellent penalties to ensure the score-board ticked over, teeing the game up for Strathie’s final attack to win the game.
Squad -Calum Campbell, Tegan Gibson, Mark McQueen, Christian Taylor, Conor Howden, Alex Milne, Struan Robertson, Cameron Stewart, Ben Fotheringham, Josh Forbes, Daniel Cashley, Kevin Hood, Ewen Hart, Andrew Coupar, Fergus Mitchell, Thomas Watson, Lee Alexande and Scott Strachan.
Strathmore U-16s 10, Carnoustie U-16s 17
The U-16 Sharks took on local rivals Carnoustie at Inchmacoble on Sunday.
The Sharks start to the game was promising, with great attacking play from both the backs and forwards.
It was Carnoustie though who drew first blood, turning the ball over from a Sharks penalty and they kicked the conversion.
Strathmore were quick to reply, pushing Carnoustie deep into their own half and two back to back penalties meant Carnoustie were on the back foot.
Carnoustie managed to salvage a line-out from the Sharks attack. However, a steal at the line-out and quick ball to Paul McGregor saw him score in the corner.
Another passage of quick play, this time from the visitors, extended Carnoustie’s lead to 12-5 at half time.
Much of the second half was a continuous battle of forwards digging deep into the rucks and mauls and the backs trying to exploit the gaps out wide.
A powerful run from Macaulay Holgate punished the dog-legged Carnoustie defence. Striding through three defenders and out-pacing the full-back to score in the corner led to the gap being shortened to 12-10. Murray Mitchell missed a tough conversion by the smallest of margins.
There was only one more score in the second half, and with surging runs from Drew Speed, Rohan Angus and Ross Butchart it should have gone to the Sharks. However, it was Carnoustie who exposed a gap in the Sharks tired defence. No conversion saw Carnoustie edge out the game as 17-10 winners.
The Sharks took away two bonus points from the game and a lot of positives.
Man-of-the-match was Drew Speed.
Squad - Murray Angus, Joel Farrell, Drew Speed, Ross Butchart, Rohan Angus, Callum White, Kieran O’Brien, Lachlan Wallace, Paul McGregor, Kieren Edmeades, Macauly Holgate, Irvine Gartley, Cameron Voice, Alex Ashworth, Murray Mitchell, John Wright, Blair Leighton, Ruaridh Lawrie
The U-16 players have a busy week ahead. Five of the Sharks are training with the Angus U-15 squad on Tuesday, the team have training on Wednesday night, and a strength and conditioning session on Thursday night, before heading to Crieff on Sunday.
Strathmore Sharks continue to look for new players at all age groups. Log on to www.strathmore-rugby.co.uk for more details.