School sport: Fuller makes Scotland breakthrough

Charlie Fuller: Under-16 caps
Charlie Fuller: Under-16 caps
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Millburn Academy’s Charlie Fuller has had an exciting summer, gaining his first international cap and scoring his first goal for Scotland.

Now in his fourth year at school, he will be getting a break from his studies next month when he represents Scotland at Sainsbury’s UK School Games in Sheffield.

The talented 15-year-old defender from Tomatin just outside Inverness collected his first international caps playing for the Scotland Under-16 team.

On his debut, Scotland lost to Holland in Utrecht and then he went on to compete against Wales and Ireland in the Three Nations Tournament in Wrexham.

Scotland soundly beat Wales 4-0 but lost to Ireland. However, Fuller had the consolation of scoring a goal following a great short corner routine that had been learned on the training ground. A weekend training camp at sportscotland’s national centre at Inverclyde provided the perfect build-up for the UK Schools Games from 12-15 September – Fuller is the only player from the Highlands in the Scottish hockey squad.

This was his second season in the Scottish Under-16 squad and he is still young enough to play for the age-group again this season, when his experience will be invaluable.

Rugby: Donaldson welcomes tough games for Watson’s

Brewin Dolphin Scottish Schools Cup winners, George Watson’s College, begin a challenging set of matches by playing their city rivals Stewart’s-Melville College at Myreside on Saturday. Watson’s then travel to Newcastle to play Royal Grammar School and take on touring New Zealanders Palmerston North.

Ally Donaldson, Watson’s director of rugby, believes that the Scottish game requires this kind of hard rugby if players are to develop. “We need more competitive rugby week in week out with the best teams playing each other regularly,” he said.

“The standard at present is good but it improves hugely when the best play the best,” added Donaldson, who appreciates that practicalities can stop such ideas in their tracks.

“The problem is that we have block fixtures with other schools and it might be difficult to have your first fifteen not playing. We need to start with a clean slate and use the best playing weather in September and October to have top fixtures before we go into cup rugby.”

Watson’s go into their opening match on Saturday on the back of a summer tour to South Africa. Based in the Cape Town area, Watson’s played Swartland, winning 32-21, before losing 12-9 to Wynberg. Watson’s final match against Paarl was cancelled due to wet weather.

Missing from the Watson’s side this week will be Scotland Under-18 flanker Ally Millar and top athlete Ben Robbins, and Adam Hastings, who has moved to Millfield School in Somerset.

Stewart’s-Melville College have five players back from a successful side last season, including Scotland Under-18 squad members Fraser Christie in the back row and Andrew Manson at scrum-half. The Inverleith side took on Howe of Fife in a pre-season warm-up before taking part in a training matches with Fettes and Heriot’s last weekend.

Meanwhile, the trend to involve top expertise at school level is continuing with the appointment at Dollar Academy of the former Gloucester and Scotland B centre Don Caskie as director of rugby. Caskie comes to Dollar after three years as national coach in Georgia where he was also the national academy manager. It is experience that will be put to good use with the Scotland Under-18 coaching set-up in which Caskie is involved this year. Dollar open their season with a home match against Heriot’s this Saturday.

Also taking up a rugby director post is Heriot’s coach Phil Smith, a former Edinburgh player, who joins the staff at Glasgow Academy, where former Scotland prop Peter Wright is one of the specialist sports coaches.

Smith’s side face a testing start against Dundee High School at Mayfield on Saturday.

Badminton: Dalziel High’s twin threat in Sheffield

Dalziel High School twins Sophie and Hannah Morrison have been selected to play for Scotland at the UK School Games in Sheffield from 12-15 September.

Completing a hat-trick for the Motherwell school is Alex Dunn – he won all three titles at last season’s Scottish Under-15 National Championships.

The Glasgow School of Sport based at Bellahouston Academy also have three players in the 12-strong Scottish squad – Adam Hall, Holly Newall and Scottish Under-15 singles champion Eleanor O’Donnell.

Golf: Jaffrey caps it all with senior debut

Kilwinning Academy’s Connie Jaffrey is set to end a great summer in style when she makes her debut for the Scottish senior team at this month’s Home Internationals at Scotscraig.

The 16-year-old Troon Ladies member started the season with a win in the Ayrshire County Championship, ended last term by winning the Scottish Schools’ Championship and, last month, she won the Scottish Girls’ Championship at Ranfurly Castle.

“Winning the Scottish Girls was my goal at the start of the season and I’m absolutely delighted,” said Jaffrey, who will be the youngest player in the Home International team that will take on England. Ireland and Wales at Scotscraig from 11-13 September.

Having just started her sixth and final year at school, Jaffrey is hoping to go to the US on a golf scholarship next August.

Before then, she will still be young enough to defend the Scottish Girls’ title at Dumfries and County next year. And looking further ahead, Jaffrey has plans to make golf her living. “I would love to become a professional,” she said. “But not until I’m in my twenties.”