Plate and Bowl clashes face battle with frost

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WITH the Brewin Dolphin Scottish Schools under-18 and under-16 cup finals having been played at Murrayfield last month, the Plate and Bowl competitions at both age levels are now reaching key stages with national quarter-finals scheduled to be completed by this month.

Whether that is achievable depends on the current icy weather abating but there are hopes that matches this week will go ahead – beginning with the Madras College v Millburn Academy under-18 Plate tie at 
St Andrews today.

There is, however, one outstanding regional tie to be played, the East Lothian and Borders regional final between North Berwick High School and Jedburgh Grammar School. Jedburgh, who won the under-16 Plate last season, booked their place in the final by beating 
Hawick High School, while North Berwick High saw off Dunbar Grammar School.

North Berwick have offered Jedburgh either tomorrow, Friday or Saturday as dates for the game, the winners of which will face Bearsden/Douglas Academies in the national under-16 quarter-finals.

Wellington School face a challenging journey on Thursday to play their national under-16 Plate quarter final tie against Kirkwall Grammar School in Orkney.

“We decided that the only feasible way of fulfilling this fixture was to fly there and back in one day,” said Wellington’s coach, Alastair Ness, whose side reached the last eight by winning the Glasgow South regional final against Carrick Academy.

Kirkwall had comfortable wins over Shetland Schools and Millburn Academy before achieving a rather unsatisfying walkover in the Highlands and Islands regional final.

Coach Andrew Askew said: “We weren’t really challenged in the rounds but Wellington will certainly be a real test.”

Kirkwall will field a team that plays most of its rugby through the Orkney club where former Melrose player, Bruce Ruthven is the development officer.

Also extending their knowledge of Scotland are Williamwood High School, who today take on the Nicolson Institute from Stornoway at Invergordon in the under-18 Bowl quarter final.

The south Glasgow school are also in the national under-16 Bowl quarter-finals, where they face Wick High School.

Away from Brewin Dolphin action, Loretto signed off their season with a 45-13 win over Robert Gordon’s College at New Field on Saturday with tries from centres Richard Taylor and Sean Mackle, No 8 Ruaridh Knott, wings Alex Costin and Jonny Willett and stand-off Cobus Van Niekerk, who also kicked five conversions and one penalty.