Mackie Academy U16 boys paid their first visit to the Heriot-Watt sports facility in Edinburgh,and what a first visit it turned out to be.
Despite the bus from Stonehaven to the capital being ‘Baltic’ the heat on the field of play warmed everyone up and certainly lived up to expectations.
The Peebles boys lined up looking like a well drilled and confident outfit (allegedly buoyed by their ‘just turn up and win’ attitude pre-match ) but the Mackie boys had other things on their mind.
The National U16 Youth League Cup semi-final was a nervy, cagey affair in the first half, with the Red ‘n’ Blacks taking the advantage, storming into a 12-0 lead with scores by Conan Adams and Harris Mitchell and one conversion from Craig Strachan.
It looked to have set Mackie on easy street but with every silver lining comes a cloud and Peebles fought back to earn a share of the spoils at 12-12 by the interval.
Handling errors and far too many wrong decisions by the Stoney lads showed that the nerves were jangled.
With a wee inspirational talk from the coaches at the break, Mackie went to grab the game by the scruff of the neck, and they were much more composed on the ball and more dominant in attack.
They started to stamp their name all over the game and scores from Harris Mitchell (2), Rhys Innes and Harris Ferrol (2) and extras from the boot of Craig Strachan put the game out of reach of a shellshocked Peebles side who despite a late flurry and a score were no match for the Redcloak outfit.
They deservedly earned their right to compete at the national stadium in March, when their opponents in the final will be a name familiar to the club, Boroughmuir, who defeated Hawick 12-10 in their semi final.
All roads lead to Murrayfield on Sunday March 22.
Mackie 1sts are back in action this Saturday in Tennent’s Caledonia North 2 when they travel to face Banff (kick-off 3pm). Banff are lying third in the table on 29 points but Mackie, second bottom of the eight-team league, aren’t that far behind them on 21 points.