Schools rugby: Academy end on suitably high note with big win

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EDINBURGH Academy’s 1st XV signed off what has been the school’s most successful season for more than over a quarter-of-a-century with a 62-0 win against George Heriot’s School on Saturday for a 100 per cent record to equal the performance of the Academy’s 1986 side.

Prolific scorer Freddie Smith was again to the fore with a hat-trick of tries, and there were two each from Scotland Under-18 squad scrum-half Alex Glashan and powerful back-row Cameron Simpson. The Academy now switch their attention to under-17s, with matches against Stewart’s-Melville College and Merchiston in a development programme for next season.

In Glasgow, Hutchesons’ Grammar School achieved one of their best results this season after drawing 5-5 with the Brewin Dolphin under 18 Cup finalists George Watson’s College at Auldhouse. Hutchesons’ were leading with a minute of play remaining through an unconverted try by winger Andrew Spowart, only for Watson’s to level the scores with one of their own from winger Dominic Johnston.

There was a similarly close game between North Berwick High School and Glasgow Academy but it was the East Lothian school that triumphed 8-7. The challenge now for North Berwick is to build on some good results this season and seek more matches with better opposition to provide a model for other state schools to follow.

That could mean matches against club sides, the frequency of which throughout Scotland is increasing and welcome. On Saturday, Robert Gordon’s College took on Howe of Fife under 18s, the 25-18 win for the Aberdeen school marking not just their first win of 2012 but, indeed, their first match of 2012 after seven weeks of no rugby through weather and half-term holidays. This Saturday Gordon’s play Dundee High School, who had a training game against Dundee Eagles at the weekend.

In youth rugby, the National Cup competitions at under-18 and under-16 have reached crucial stages. Last weekend’s under-18 quarter-finals produced wins for last season’s runners-up, Selkirk YC, title holders Stirling County, Gala Wanderers and Boroughmuir, who progress to the semi finals on 21-22 April, a week before the final.

At under-16 level, Jed Thistle, 13 of whose side were in the Jedburgh Grammar side that won the Brewin Dolphin Plate final last week, booked their place in the quarter-finals after defeating Moray 36-12 and are joined in the last eight by Musselburgh, Marr, Gala Red Triangle Glasgow Hawks, Ayr and the winner of the delayed tie this Saturday between Ellon and GHA.

Scottish Under-15 girls squad:

Brogan Anderson (Hawick High), Louise Brown (Ellon Academy), Cassie Cowper (Kincorth Academy), Erin Cuthbert (Greenwood Academy), Lauren Dawson (Banff Academy), Rebecca Flaherty (Banchory Academy), Abigail Harrison (Holyrood Secondary, Glasgow), Carla Jackson (Dalziel High), Niamh Johnston (St Ambrose High), Amy Lynch (Currie High), Cailin Michie (Boroughmuir High), Georgie Rafferty (St Maurice’s High), Rachel Ross (Greenfaulds High), Hayley Sinclair (James Hamilton Academy), Lia Tweedie (Beeslack High), Alyshia Walker (Bathgate Academy), Taylor Watson (Braes High), Courtney Whyte (St Roch’s Secondary).

Boys’ Under-15 National Trophy:

Quarter-finals: Forth Valley 3 Ayrshire 2; Fife 5 West Lothian 1; Lanarkshire 5 Dundee 2; Edinburgh 2 Dumfries and Galloway 0.

Semi-final draw: Forth Valley v Fife; Lanarkshire v Edinburgh.