Earlston win U16 Shield final
By Duncan Beckwith
Marr lose out to Earlston
Marr U16s travelled to Murrayfield hoping to cause an upset by beating the inform Earlston in the Shield final. To do this they knew that their defence would need to be sound, a fast line speed to reduce Earlston's attacking options and to capitalise on any opportunities that might come their way. Unfortunately Marr were unable to capture their form of recent weeks whilst Earlston paid scant regard to the extremely blustery conditions and displayed some excellent handling skills and great support running.
Earlston played with the wind in the first half though it was Marr who started brightly and had the early pressure. Hwever the Earlston defence remained firm and they soon turned defence into attack to score a converted try. Marr failed to press their defensive line and Earlston capitalised on the space allowed to score three further tries, one of which was converted to give them a 24 point lead at half time.
The half time team talk emphasised the point that the strength of the wind was worth twenty points and that they were not out the match. However from the kick off Earlston moved the ball well and excellent handling from their own 22 created a try that was converted. This seemed to knock the stuffing out of the Marr team. However they never gave up and continued to put in some excellent tackles. Earlston though always semed to have a man in support for the offload and they ran in a further five tries with one converted to give a final score of 56-0. Marr had the play towards the end of the match but Earlstons defence held firm and denied Marr a try which they perhaps deserved. Despite the scoreline it was good to see the Mar players still 'having a go'.
Character is built when you get up from the knocks and move forward. Already the players and coaches are meeting to discuss the lessons learned and how to continue the players development. Despite the disappointment of the defeat it has still been a fantastic journey to reach the Shield final with some excellent performances along the way. However Earlston have shown the level to which we must aspire.