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Under 12 Boys Rugby Tournament at Barnard Castle 2018

A squad of thirteen Under 12 Rugby boys set off for County Durham on Saturday afternoon as Scotland’s sole representatives in the 16 team ‘Tait 10s’ held at Barnard Castle School. Named for Mathew and Alex Tait - two of the many England internationals produced by the hosts - the tournament was always likely to be a tough test for the Craigclowan lads, playing against bigger schools with outstanding rugby pedigrees.

After a relaxing Saturday evening, when the Barnard Castle staff provided a fantastic meal and an exciting movie for the boys to watch, we woke to better than expected weather on the Sunday and the rugby took centre stage.

Our first match in Group 1 against RGS Newcastle saw us blown away in the first half as we conceded 4 tries. After some half-time ‘encouragement’ from Mr Pattinson, the boys emerged in the second half and showed some steely resolve in defence and, indeed, scored the only try of the second half. The consensus was that our ‘gentle lads’ had not been prepared for the intensity of that opening salvo but it had been a valuable lesson learnt. Unfortunately, Max Matheson had suffered a bad, tournament-ending, foot injury in the opening minutes leaving us reduced to 12 players for the rest of the day.

The second match saw us take on Mowden Hall and this time it was the Craigclowan team who showed the power and intensity required to run out winners by four tries to one. This was a complete team performance in both attack and defence and showed we were ‘up-to-speed’ and ready to compete.

In the third group game, Craigclowan turned out to be impolite guests and upset the hosts Barnard Castle by four tries to two in another fantastic team performance against a school considered a hotbed of rugby. Craigclowan had finished a commendable 2nd place in the group and would go into the Plate competition with all the other group runners-up.

By now, though, the minor knocks and injuries were beginning to mount up but all of the boys played through their various ailments determined not to let their team-mates down. Tiredness began to play a bigger part against the other 17-man squads and despite ferocious efforts from everyone, Craigclowan slipped to two narrow defeats (3-2 against Cundall, and 4-2 against Bradford Grammar) and a heavier 6-1 reverse against Rodillian. Despite this, there were further moments of bravery, resilience and determination that left Mr Pattinson and Mr Adams incredibly proud of the team’s efforts.

It would be impossible to pick out individuals in what was a monumental team effort. Every player contributed and each of them will go away with memories of a dazzling run; a thundering tackle; an immense clear-out at a ruck; or a ball stripped from an opponent. Even after his injury, Max proved to be a knowledgeable assistant to Mr Pattinson giving great insights at half-time in all the subsequent matches.

An incredible effort from all involved. Well done!

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