Last weekend saw the Mackie Minis venture both north and south to compete in both the Garioch and Perthshire mini rugby tournaments. With such strong squads across the groups this year the Minis were able to send two different squads to both the tournaments which is a great testament to the strength in depth at the club.
On Saturday the P4s sent a squad of players north to Garioch (Inverurie). The tournament was to be played in a round robin format with seven teams involved, so plenty of games for all. First up was a spirited Huntly side but Mackie eased into an early four try lead with strong running and good support play. Mackie were always in control but a couple of late Huntly tries caused a few palpitations.
The next two games were against Grammar and Deeside both of which had brought along very strong squads. Mackie although small in stature but not in spirit battled gamely but thing didn’t quite click in either game resulting in losses of 3-5 and 2- 4. Ellon were next up and you could see renewed determination in the players’ faces. The first Ellon runner was met by a welcoming committee, the ball quickly turned over and a try scored. The running and tackling were coming together and Mackie won 6-3. Next up were meant to be an understrength Wanderers side who conceded the game despite Mackie offering some players. Last up were the hosts Garioch. In an entertaining free flowing game Mackie always held the upper hand and duly recorded a 4-3 victory.
On Sunday morning the P4s turned around and headed south to Perth for the Perthshire RFC annual mini rugby tournament. The boys played Howe, Perthshire “B” and Kinross initially in their pool games when they started well and got progressively stronger scoring at will against both committed and strong opposition. Last match of the group was against vociferous Currie who had also won all their previous games so it was a winner take all scenario to get into the final. Great tackling and rucking won repeat ball which was then run in for tries with great speed and agility to make light work of what could have been very tricky opposition, the Blacks were in the final.
Perthshire “A” had won through the other group. Mackie broke free twice in the game after piling on the pressure for long periods and scored from both those two breaks. Perthshire mustered a single try in return so at the final whistle it was 2-1 to the Mackie Blacks, Perthshire Champions 2012.
At Garioch Mackie P5s tackled gamely in an effort to restrain a more powerfully built Huntly team and Luke scored two fine solo tries. In the end however the opposition ran out winners by 6 tries to 2. The next game against Aberdeen Grammar was a tense and closely fought affair with Mackie racing to an early lead with three quick tries from Lewis, Luke and Tom before Grammar pegged the lead back to a single try. The decisive moment came when Tom finished off a scything diagonal run across the face of the oncoming defence to score in the corner and Mackie were eventually victorious by 4-3. As ever Deeside had brought a fast and talented group of players and they proved their pedigree by beating Mackie 8-3. Mackie, however, tackled with grit and determination and scored three fine tries of their own ; 2 of which were contributed by the talented newcomer Jack. Next up was Ellon. Luke was in the vanguard as ever scoring breakaway tries and tackling with determination. Jack and Scott also scored tries - the latter with a length of the pitch run and powerful drive over the line. The final score was tied at 6-6. Next opponents up were the home players of Garioch. The Mackie boys were tiring by this stage due in part to a shortage of substitutes and Garioch were able to use their speedy squad to outscore them 5-2. Luke scored the first Mackie try after a fine run by Jake and the second by Finlay was reward for persistent and determined running. The final match against Aberdeen Wanderers was also closely contested but size and speed again was decisive in several of the tries and the opposition eventually ran out winners by 6-4.
In Perth on Sunday a valiant Mackie P5s were blown away. In blustery conditions Mackie were placed in Pool A with Madras, Kirkaldy, Dunfermline and Currie. A wide pitch favoured Mackie’s running style of play and they dominated their early encounters against Madras, Kircaldy and Dunfermline. Currie proved sterner opposition, Mackie eventually going down in their final game.