on Sunday, the Mackie FP P4/5 rugby team made the long coach journey north to take part in the Highland Tournament on the banks of the Caledonian Canal in Inverness.
On a bright sunny morning, with a bitter wind off the hills, Mackie started well. In their first match a 6-1 defeat of Moray B was memorable for a bulldozing run by Rees who knocked several players aside as he ran in for a try in the corner. A barnstorming 9-0 victory in the next match against Highland B with tries from Ricky, Rory, Luke, Matthew, Owen and Euan was closely followed by a 6-2 defeat of Nairn. The feature of this match was a length of the pitch run in for a try by Matthew after Rory had stolen the ball on the Mackie line. James also started a habit that was to persist for the entire day of unselfishly passing to a team mate for the try (in this case Scott) when he was already over the line. The last of the pool stage matches against Ellon A was won convincingly 7-1 and a semi-final place was comfortably secured - a semi-final that was mystifyingly delayed for what seemed an eternity whilst players, coaches and dads alike tried to fight off hypothermia!
There was no need to worry however as the semi-final itself produced Mackie’s finest performance of the day with good linkage and support play, especially between Matthew, Owen, James and Rory, resulting in a resounding 9-1 victory. Mackie faced the final against Highland A full of hope and anticipation but as it turned out, the highlights of this match from a Mackie point of view were being played onto the pitch by a piper in full Highland dress and the moment early on when James sliced through the centre to make the score 1-0 to Mackie.
Although Mackie exerted some pressure on their opponents’ line there were many turnovers as the opposition competed fiercely in loose play and scored tries with rapid breakaways from their own half resulting in a final score of 7-1.
After a long bus trip the P6/7 team were hardly awake when they took on Perthshire and despite some quite heroic tackling from Zander Begg and Sam Bursalem they lost this game 2-0.
By the time the second game started they were now fully awake and with good rucking and slick passing scored six tries with Mathew Blackwood scoring a hat trick of tries using his exceptional pace, with the others scored by Zander Begg, Findlay Jacob and Sam Bursalem. Caithness scored a consolation score. Next up was Ellon - this ended up as a 2-2 draw (The tries scored by Zander and Brian Gibson). Leading 2-1 with seconds to go the team went to sleep allowing Ellon to sneak a score at the death (this was to be costly in the end).
In the last of the pool games they played Highland knowing they had to win to have a chance of qualifying and they did in style winning by 4 tries to one. Two superb individual runs by Zander running the full length of the field one by Sam and the last a bit of dancing feet by Findlay giving them the win.
Despite all the great team work shown by the boys playing together they did not progress despite finishing second in their pool. A lot of thanks to the boys for a great display, to Willie the coach and to all the parents who attended giving the lads great support.