Mackie U18 progress to Caledonia Youth Cup semi-final

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Mackie U18 put on one of the performances of the season to overcome local rivals, Deeside, on Saturday, in testing conditions.

Deeside won the toss and decided to play with the wind in the first half, which should have been an advantage, however they were unable to master the conditions and any kicks they tried more often than not worked out to Mackie’s advantage when Deeside were forced to concede the scrum from where the kick was taken.

Mackie’s scrum was dominant throughout and set a great platform for the backs to work from, and despite the ferocious wind in their face, they were keen to handle the ball and tried to ship it to the wings at every available opportunity.

Deeside, however, were not left lacking in their defence and every Mackie attack was thwarted by some stout tackling.

Deeside came close to scoring on two occasions in the first half, but Mackie also know how to defend and the game was heading to stalemate until five minutes from the half time whistle when Mackie stand-in centre, Hartley managed to bosh his way through two Deeside defenders and over the line for the first try of the match, which was duly converted by Elphinstone.

Mackie into the break seven-nil.

Deeside started the brightest after the break and with the introduction of some fresh legs they scored two easy tries of their own within five minutes of the restart, neither of which were converted.

Mackie, however, were not downhearted and they began a fightback with such determination and steely resolve that they quickly left Deeside reeling, as they went on to score a further three unanswered tries from Jackson, Berrisford and Hartley.

What is remarkable about the result is that Mackie did not have a single substitute to call upon and were forced to play the final 10 minutes with only 14 players after Mair had to retire after a reckless tackle from an over-exuberant Deeside player.

Deeside had six substitutes at their disposal, so each and every Mackie player had to play their hearts out to the final whistle, once again demonstrating that there is no substitute for working together as a team, and that great defence is key when the chips are down and backs are against the wall.

The Man of the Match award had to go to Andy Kelly for an outstanding captain’s innings, leading from the front in tackles made and balls won.

It was a great performance from all the boys taking part in the match and a fantastically competitive match fought out between two youth sides, providing some excellent entertainment to the large crowd, and both of which are a credit to their Clubs.