Mackie 1st XV made the long trip to Thurso on Saturday to face Caithness at Millbank rugby ground.
Mackie won the toss and opted to start the first half playing into the sun, knowing that it would pose more of a problem in the second half. Caithness started strongly putting Mackie under pressure straight from the kick off. In trying to steady the ship, Mackie conceded a penalty on the 22 but it was missed. Caithness pressed again from recieving the drop out and scored the opening try from a mistake by Mackie. Their No8 ran under the posts with their young fly half adding the coversion.
Straight from the restart Mackie put the pressure on and it resulted in a penalty, kicked by Michael Levack. Mackie started to dominate the game and on 32 mins a penalty by Caithness ended in a sinbin for stamping. The referee judged the resultant kick by Levack as just wide over the top of the post despite the linesman flagging it was good. With the extra man Mackie continued to push and were awarded another penalty on 35 minutes, successfully kicked this time by Levack. Mackie were now in control and heaped the pressure on to score the best try of the game. Good interlinking play by forwards and backs resulted in Levack cantering over for a try and a conversion. The Mackie side smiled as the tannoy announcer continued to mispronouce “Leeeevack”.
After absorbing much Caithness pressure Mackie made the breakthrough after a great pick up from the back of the scrum by No. 8 Steve Akauola. An inside pass from Atkins found Levack who crashed through for his second try of the game which he converted with aplomb from wide on the left.
The remainder of the game saw Mackie dominating almost every aspect and the resultant pressure resulted in Atkins crossing in the corner for a try assisted by new prop Dan Cary, who dragged the Kiwi over the whitewash when it looked like he was coming up short. Unfortunately the conversion was missed by the usually trusty left peg of Leeeeevack. Full time was Caithness 7 Mackie 25.
This result was dedicated to the club’s founder President, Bob Lewis, who sadly passed away last week. Involved from the club’s inception, Bob laid down standards and an approach that became a template that is still followed by the club today. He was a mentor to many and a guiding hand for all subsequent Presidents. His quiet commonsense approach to life was a great boon to all and our sympathies are extended to his wife and children – he will be sadly missed.