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Mini rugby players from the Kintyre area have hit the ground running during the first half of the 2021/22 season with a renewed drive from players and coaches alike.
Campbeltown Junior Rugby Club took a hit last season not only on the playing field but off the pitch as well with the loss of ‘Mr Rugby’ John Forster.
Due to Covid the club weren’t able to play any fixtures and were only allowed to train.
At the beginning of this season there was a lot of optimism after having a successful Summer Camp with membership increasing from the previous season.
Players and coaches worked hard in training which has been showing in their development from P1 right through to S2 level.
There was a lot of excitement around the club with the Dalriada tournaments for P4-P7 starting back up. The squads have now completed three rounds with great success with the P4/5’s impressing on their competitive debut.
Kicking things off back in September was the Mid Argyll tournament held at the Ropeworks park in Lochgilphead where there were some excellent individual and team performances from both age groups.
In their first experience of a Dalriada the P4/5s equipped themselves very well beating Oban five tries to one and Etive Vikings 5-3.
A hard fought game against Mid Argyll saw the Campbeltown/Kintyre team narrowly defeated (4-3) leaving them a close second in the overall standings.
The P6/7s worked hard as a team and this showed in their performances beating Oban
4-2 and Mid-Argyll 5 -2.
In an entertaining game against the Etive Vikings a last gasp score by the latter meant a 5-4 defeat but the Campbeltown outfit took the overall honours and the club’s first ever Dalriada win.
The Oban Dalriada was next and after the performances at Mid Argyll confidence was high in both teams.
The P4/5s started off well with an excellent team performance to beat Oban 4-1.
Mid Argyll were up next and the team were determined to overturn the defeat at the previous tournament and after a hard fought game ran out 4-3 winners.
The team bounced back in the next two games to beat a mixed Etive Vikings/Mull team 4-2 and Mull 3-1. Overall they were pipped to the post by Mid Argyll again finishing in second place.
Following their previous success the P6/7 team were ready a raring to go and faced their hosts, Oban 1s in their opener.
After a tough game with big tackles and excellent tries from both teams Campbeltown/Kintyre ran 3-2 victors. Oban 2s were next and with little break between games another excellent team performance led to a 4-1 win.
Next up was a mixed Lochaber and Mull team and some well worked tries led to a 5-3 win.
In the final game against a mixed Etive Vikings and Mid Argyll team tiredness start to show with a couple of uncharacteristic mistakes resulting in a 5-3 defeat.
Overall Campbeltown/Kintyre ran out joint leaders with Oban 1s.
In the most recent Dalriada in Taynuilt (Etive Vikings) on Saturday on October 30 the P4/5s had Mid Argyll in their sights after being beat by their near neighbours twice previously.
They didn’t have long to wait for their revenge match as the Lochgilphead-based squad were first up and some great tackles and outstanding individual efforts saw Campeltown/Kintyre get their wish with a 4-2 victory.
Wins over Mull (5-4) and Etive Vikings (3-1) followed and, after falling behind early on, the team fought back for a 3-3 draw against Oban.
This only left Lochaber and after starting well they never looked back. A 4-1 completed their unbeaten run and saw the Campbeltown/Kintyre youngsters finish top of the table for the first time.
Determined to match their younger clubmates the P6/7 team were equally keen and played some confident rugby to win their matches against Mid Argyll (3-2), Etive Vikings (5-3), Oban (3-2) and Oban Sharks (4-3).
This left a strong Lochaber side between them and achieving their target. After falling behind in the early stages Campbeltown/Kintyre dug deep and brought the game back to three tries a piece and with the end of the game drawing near broke away to score the decisive try to also finish undefeated at the top of the table.
Mini’s coach Chris Doxsey said: ‘It has been a brilliant start to the season and one that the club has been building towards for the last six years.
‘I am so proud of all the players and delighted to be able to be part of a brilliant coaching team and fantastic club.
‘Thank you to all the parents who have travelled with their children all over Argyll and
supported the teams, it means a lot.’
The P6/7 team sit top of the overall table with the P4/5 team second on theirs, two points behind Mid-Argyll, going into the final Dalriada in Lochaber on Sunday, November 21.
Campbeltown Junior Rugby Club have opened training up from P1 through to S2 and are hoping to start a pre-school club at some point in the future. Anyone interested should contact the club through the Facebook page.