School sport: Millersneuk net best in west accolade

Bishopbriggs-based coach Allwyn Crawford, centre, is flanked, from left, by Greg Lawrie, Rachel Love, Oliver Black and Kirsty Shu
Bishopbriggs-based coach Allwyn Crawford, centre, is flanked, from left, by Greg Lawrie, Rachel Love, Oliver Black and Kirsty Shu
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Millersneuk Primary School’s Rachel Lowe, Kirsty Shu, Greg Lawrie and Oliver Black are the proud winners of the West of Scotland Primary Schools County Finals.

The tournament is in its fourth year, and the Lenzie school quartet won the East Dunbartonshire qualifier at Milngavie before going on to triumph in the West final. The overall numbers keep rising and this year over 300 children took part.

In the finals, Millersneuk Primary overcame closest rivals St Joseph’s Primary School by just seven points and it is the third time that an East Dunbartonshire has won the title.

The tournament is organised by Active Schools Co-ordinators, Sports Development Officers and coaches from local tennis clubs. Allwyn Crawford, who coaches at Bishopbriggs, is the mentor to the Miillersneuk pupils.

“Allwyn is brilliant, taking the children after school, said head teacher Greg Caldow. “The team is made up of two club members and two others and we were delighted to win the East Dunbartonshire title and then go on and win the final.”

Tennis Scotland development manager, Mike Cohen, added: “The Primary Schools competition is a great event to attract children from a young age into tennis.

“Mini Tennis for this age group can be played in a small gym hall or dining area so it is ideal for Primary Schools. Tennis has never been more in the spotlight and with Andy Murray winning Wimbledon this year it certainly has raised the profile of the sport and our schools, clubs and coaches have a great opportunity to take advantage of the interest children are now showing in tennis.”


Millersneuk (East Dunbartonshire) – 173 points; St Joesph’s (East Renfrewshire) - 166; Caldercuilt (Glasgow) - 141; Ardgowan (Inverclyde) - 128; Broomhill Primary School (Glasgow) - 120; Gavinburn (West Dunbartonshire) - 100

Football: Forth Valley sides excel in national cup fixtures

The senior Forth Valley against West Lothian launched this season’s TSB National Trophy competition – but it was match that failed to produce a goal.

It all came down to a penalty shoot-out on the astroturf at Forthbank Stadium in Stirling – the outcome only required in the event of a tied position at the conclusion of the group stage – and then the goals poured in.

Forth Valley scored all ten of their spot-kicks while West Lothian had their last effort saved by the home keeper.

At the start of a new session, the tie was played under the watchful eye of a whole bunch of Scottish Schools’ Football Association national team selectors. It was the home side Forth Valley that had the best chances but no one could make the vital breakthrough.

Both teams will look to improve their performance next time out, but there were a few individual performers who caught the eye of the selectors in attendance.

In contrast, the Under-15 game contested at the same stadium saw Forth Valley dominate the game and they scored six goals without reply.

An excellent first-half saw wide forward Callum Morrison (Alva Academy) score a superb first-half hat-trick which put the home team well on the way to victory.

In addition. Forth Valley keeper Ronan Fallens (St.Modan’s HS) had an excellent first-half to keep West Lothian at bay.

Kieran Murphy (Alva Academy) scored the fourth goal after 15 minutes of the second-half and then substitute Kyle McLean (St.Mungo’s) netted a late double.

Rugby: School break creating havoc with cup fixtures

It is regarded as the best month for playing rugby, but much of October has become a wasteland for schools matches as asynchronised holidays of different lengths result in a fixtures nightmare for organisers of the game at this level.

In particular the Brewin Dolphin Scottish School competitions at Cup, Shield, Plate and Bowl levels are forced to be put on hold, putting pressure on schools when normality resumes. In the Under-18 Cup, two schools have secured semi-final places, Heriot’s having defeated Dollar Academy and Strathallan having achieved a good win over Merchiston.

Still to be played are the Edinburgh Academy v Dundee High School and Glasgow High School v George Watson’s College quarter-finals, both matches scheduled for 30 October.

In what looks like a marketing-led idea, a proposal to play the semi-finals of the Brewin Dolphin Cup at Murrayfield prior to the Scotland v Japan international match on 9 November, has been circulated to participating schools. The plan is to play the matches on the back pitches at 12 noon, the carrot for which will be a post-match meal in Murrayfield and free tickets to the Scotland match for all players and coaches.

It is then proposed that at half-time in the Scotland v Japan match, there will be interviews with the captains, while the

Scotland match day programme will also feature information on the semi-final teams and a preview of the finals.

On the surface it seems not a bad idea. It will bring more spectators into what could be a poorly attended international match and it certainly fulfils the need to have a neutral venue for semi-finals. But the weakness is spectator facilities, the lack of a stand on the back pitch exposing spectators to potential downpours while simultaneously making viewing much more difficult.

In the Plate competition last season’s beaten finalists, Galashiels Academy, are out of the competition having lost to Hawick High School in the Borders regional semi-final.

Hawick HS now play Peebles High School to determine the Borders winners.

Hawick High School have also figured well in the Under-16 Plate, with straight wins over Langholm Academy, Kelso High School and Jedburgh Grammar and will face the winners of the Loretto v Dunbar tie in the Borders and East Lothian regional final. Meanwhile,

Merchiston travel to Ipswich for the St Joseph’s rugby festival this weekend, a tournament that brings together 16 schools from England, Wales and Scotland.

Basketball: Dunfermline gets PCS backing

Dunfermline Reign is celebrating the success of being named as the first basketball club in Scotland to become PCS endorsed.

Positive Coaching Scotland (PSC) is a cultural change programme developed by sportscotland in partnership with the Winning Scotland Foundation and is designed to teach young people life lessons and skills via sport.

Through a series of workshops, research and ongoing development work, Dunfermline Reign has helped the coaches and sports leaders create a more positive sporting environment for young people.

Dunfermline Reign is a long established club and three of the under-16 team – Jake Sirrell and Stewart Morgan, both from Queen Anne High School, and Craig Ferguson (Stewart’s Melville College) – are in the Scottish national squad.

“PSC is definitely the right thing for us and becoming involved was a good shake-up for the cub,” said committee member and Jake’s Dad, Andrew Sirrel. “Attitude and the culture of the sport are vital aspects, and becoming involved has enhanced our programme.

“With young guys, especially, I think it is important to make sure that it is not all about winning but about sportsmanship, enjoying basketball and having the right attitude.”

Dunfermline Reign has great connections with local schools. “We train at Queen Anne High and most of the kids come from there,” he added. “But they also come from others in the Dunfermline area, Inverkeithing High and some from the Edinburgh private sector.

“We run teams from under-12 level and so we work with community schools and run after-school clubs for primary schools and Senior 1 pupils. At the moment it is just boys, but we hope to add the girls very soon.”

The players have embraced the PCS approach. “The new player principles are great as they clearly set out what kind of behaviour and attitude the club expects of us on and off the court,” said Craig Ferguson.

“I think we can maintain a really positive outlook no matter what hits us, attract more people into basketball and become more successful as a club.”