2016-2017 Rugby Season
4 FEBRUARY 2017: VERSUS AYR/WELLINGTON SCHOOL
This was always going to be tough encounter. Ayr were coming into this fixture looking to prepare and set a good platform for their National U18 Youth League Cup on Friday at BT Murrayfield. Dollar on the other hand, somewhat victims of their own success, were missing 7 players to the National U18 squad session and the live wire Reece McAllister out injured.
However, the Dollar boys were having none of it and were determined to put on a good show, proving just how far the whole squad has come this season.
They ran at every opportunity surprising the Ayr defence with their enterprise and skills. It wasn’t long before Dollar’s all out attack paid dividends. A series of pick and goes close to the Ayr line created the chance for 2nd row Tom Morris to crash over from short range. Fly half Lachlan Kelly made no mistake with the conversion, taking Dollar into a 7 point lead.
Next it was the turn of the backs to make their mark from a well-worked move. Kelly found himself in space and his simple pass out of the tackle released Sam Smith to dive over in the corner. Kelly could not add the extras and so the score remained at 12-0.
Dollar, although threatening and lively, could not add to their two scores and finished the half at 12-0.
The second half was a much closer affair. Ayr were able to call upon their huge bench of 13 players, meaning that the Dollar boys had to dig deep to negate the fresh sets of legs and lungs. This they did admirably and even further stretched their lead with a text book No.8 pick up from the base of the scrum. Lachlan Peterson was the scorer close to the posts and Kelly made no mistake with the simplest of conversions taking the full time score to 19-0.
This was a particularly pleasing performance by Dollar, not only because so many regulars were absent but the way in which the boys played with such attacking flair. They were clearly enjoying themselves. It was also significant that Ayr, regarded as one of the leading club sides in Scotland at this level, were never allowed to settle and could not find a way through the resolute Dollar defence.
21 JANUARY 2017: VERSUS EDINBURGH ACADEMY
Lacklustre Dollar Scrape Narrow Win
Dollar scraped through against a very spirited Edinburgh Academy side in a performance that most will want to forget.
The first twenty minutes were dominated by Edinburgh Academy and, before Dollar knew what had hit them, they were 12-0 down. Ill discipline and lazy defence cost Dollar dearly, giving the Edinburgh side the perfect field position to set up their well drilled and very impressive line out offence. Two simple tries against were the result.
Dollar finally awoke from their slumber and it was Grant Hughes that led the charge. Straight from a Ben McIlwraith restart, he chased down the Edinburgh defence causing them to spill the ball deep in their half. He was there to pounce on the mistake and dive over in the corner. McIlwraith made no mistake with the difficult conversion, clawing back the score to 12-7.
Soon after, Euan McLaren charged his way over the Edinburgh line close to the posts to give McIlwraith a much easier shot at goal. He duly obliged allowing Dollar to slip into a narrow - albeit unconvincing - lead of 12-14.
Dollar finished the first half with a late opportunist try from the live wire, Reece McAllister. The ball bounced perfectly to evade the covering defence and obligingly into his outstretched arms, following a kick through and chase from fly-half, Lachlan Kelly. McIlwraith added the extras, taking the half time score to 12-21.
That was to be the end of the Dollar offensive effort with the second half proving to be a very uninspiring and frustrating affair that saw the Dollar side pick up yet more injuries. Callum Cruickshank, Reece McAllister and Charlie Dineen all had to leave the field and, in a team already short of Gordon McGregor and Fergus Fitzparick, panic and indecision quickly set in.
To be fair to Edinburgh Academy, they played well throughout and can count themselves very unlucky not to get a deserved win. A late score brought the scores nail bitingly close at 19-21, only to be thwarted from what looked like an inevitable win by the referee’s final whistle.
If ever there was a case of winning ugly, this was it!
7 JANUARY 2017: VERSUS HOWE OF FIFE
Dollar started the New Year with a solid performance against Howe of Fife on Saturday.
The 1st XV have not played since their cup final defeat exactly a month ago and it certainly showed in the early exchanges. It took a good 25 minutes for the boys to eventually find their rhythm with second row Jonathan Davies breaking through the Howe defence to dive over in the corner. Ben McIlwraith could not add the extras, leaving the score 5-0.
The in-form Fergus Fitzpatrick started to take the game to Howe and his quick feet and acceleration left the defence clutching at air as he sliced his way through to score under the posts, giving McIlwraith the easiest of conversions to make it 12-0.
Dollar were now very much in control and started to put together their high tempo brand of rugby. Euan McLaren was next to benefit, diving over close to the posts and allowing McIlwraith to extend the score further to 19-0.
Try machine, Reece McAllister could not be contained as he rounded off the first half with another well-taken try which McIlwraith duly converted, making the score 26-0.
Half-time heralded the changes that saw the entire enlarged squad in action. Further tries from Lachlan Peterson, the returning Callum Cruickshank and Charlie Dineen, all converted by the pinpoint boot of McIlwraith, brought the game to a 47-7 conclusion.
Today, the performance was far more important than the result. It was an opportunity for the whole squad to blow away the Christmas cobwebs and prepare for much harder things to come. It was also great to be able to welcome back the powerhouse that is Callum Cruickshank and also blood new boy, Tom Humphreys. Both can be proud of their contributions.
24 NOVEMBER 2016: 1ST XV REACH BT MURRAYFIELD CUP FINAL
The Dollar Academy 1st XV saved their best rugby of the season so far for this hard-fought encounter against the very direct and physical George Watson’s College XV.
If ever there was a time to gain revenge over the team that so cruelly pipped Dollar at the final whistle in last year’s Scottish Schools Cup final, it was now.
Both sides set off at a frightening pace but it was Watson’s who dominated the early exchanges. Phase after phase, they pounded at the Dollar defence, creeping ever closer to the Dollar line. Despite having so much ball, however, they could not turn pressure into points. When the Dollar players did finally get their hands on the ball, they made no such mistake and quickly made inroads into the Watson’s danger zone. Dollar played at great speed and soon came the reward, as Watson’s were forced to give away an early penalty. Ben McIlwraith (Form VI) stepped up and made no mistake to make the score 3-0 against the run of play.
Watson’s came straight back, and soon Dollar found themselves on the back foot, forced to give away a silly penalty. Watson’s made no mistake, levelling the score at 3-3.
The pendulum now swung in Dollar’s favour. The home team’s players were more clinical than their opponents once they had the ball in hand, and they stretched Watson’s defence to breaking point. Gus Warr (Form V) sniped over from close range, with McIlwraith adding the extras, to take Dollar into an early 10-3 lead.
It wasn’t long before relentless Dollar pressure started to take its toll on a creaking Watson’s defensive line, with our forwards and backs combining well. A scrum close to the line saw Grant Hughes (Form VI) pick a great line and dart through an incredulous defence. McIlwraith stepped up to make it 17-3 going into the last five minutes of the half.
Watson’s were not going to give up their crown that easily, however, and deployed their trademark pick-and-go game with deadly effect. This time the Dollar defence could not keep them at bay and Watson’s forced themselves over close to the posts, making the conversion a formality and the half time score 17-10.
The second half was not for the faint-hearted. Both sides threw everything they had at each other. It was Watson’s who looked the more energised early on but again their players were frustrated time and time again by the ferocity of the Dollar tackling. The outstanding Fergus Fitzpatrick (Form VI) led the defensive assault and quickly turned defence into attack after he ripped the ball away from a Watson’s attacker and sped up field deep into the Watson’s territory. Support was ready;the tireless Gordon McGregor (Form VI) was on hand to squeeze over through a scrambling Watson’s defence close to the posts. McIlwraith duly slotted the extras and Dollar once again held a 14-point cushion, taking the score to 24-10.
Watson’s now started to play wisely, kicking for the corners in order to engage their almost unstoppable driving lineout. Coupled with the pick-and-go tactic they were soon back on the scoreboard with a converted try of their own.
The score now lay tantalisingly close. A drawn game was simply not an option for the Dollar side as the away team would have taken the spoils. There was no chance of the Dollar boys sitting back; they simply had to deliver. Straight from the re-start they attacked and, with king of the skies Reece McAllister stealing a Watson’s lineout, the momentum was back with Dollar. Wave after wave of Dollar attack forced Watson’s back to their own line and it was the live-wire Gus Warr on hand again to bag his second try of the game from close range. The ever-dependable McIlwraith stepped up for the conversion, pushing the lead back to 14 points at 31-17 going to the last quarter.
Though the boys were off their feet with exhaustion, they still threw everything they had at each other. It was Watson’s who now took advantage of a Dollar infringement, kicking the penalty into touch deep into the Dollar half. The customary driving lineout came next, setting up their deadly pick-and-go routine. A try was inevitable and when the conversion went sailing through the uprights, the score became dangerously close at 31-24.
Surely there was not going to be another Cup final repeat with only five minutes left on the clock…
Not this time…Dollar were not going to make the same mistake twice; they tackled as if their lives depended on it. They quickly found themselves camped on the Watson’s line and, from a scrum close to the opposition posts, the ball was whipped out to a grateful McIlwraith who dived over the line sending the Dollar supporters into party mode. He quickly regained his composure to extend Dollar’s lead to 38-24 and his personal tally to 18 points.
The final whistle was met with much celebration from the players and supporters alike. This was a fabulous advertisement for schools rugby and everyone involved from both sides should be proud of their achievement.
The large crowd played its part too, creating a fantastic atmosphere that clearly lifted the Dollar players when they needed it most.
Although Dollar’s opponents are not yet known, the final will take place at BT Murrayfield on Wednesday 7 December, KO 7.45pm
16 NOVEMBER 2016: QUARTER FINAL SCOTTISH SCHOOLS NATIONAL U18 CUP V FETTES COLLEGE
Dollar booked their place in the semi-final of the Scottish Schools National U18 Cup with a convincing five try to nothing victory over Fettes College on Wednesday afternoon.
The huge Fettes side arrived in confident mood sensing an upset was on the cards against last season’s narrowly beaten finalists. However, it was Dollar who had not read the script and came out of the blocks, all guns blazing. With barely five minutes on the clock, Reece McAllister squeezed over in the corner giving the in-form Ben McIlwraith lots of work to do with the conversion. He made no mistake and his kick sailed sweetly between the posts to give Dollar a 7 point lead.
Fettes were not going to lie down and their big runners pounded the Dollar defence time and time again. Dollar held firm, frustrating their larger and heavier opponents and causing havoc in attacks of their own. Finally, something had to give and this time Grant Hughes took advantage and dived over for a well-earned Dollar try. McIlwraith added the extras to take the score to 14-0 going into the half time break.
The second half started much the same as the first – exciting running rugby and thunderous tackles from both sides despite the ever-changing weather conditions.
The third Dollar try came from a beautifully crafted line-out catch and drive, with the impressive Euan McLaren steamrollering his way over. The trustworthy boot of McIlwraith made no mistake, taking the lead to 21 points.
Finally Dollar sensed space between the two sides and pounded the Fettes line with wave after wave of relentless attack. The ball squirted dangerously inside the Fettes in-goal area and Amo Citro was on hand to pounce on the ball to make it four tries for the home side. McIlwraith calmly slotted over his fourth conversion of the game giving Dollar a 28-0 cushion going into the dying phase of the game.
Fettes were still not done and ran from everywhere, throwing caution to the wind. Dollar cruelly stole the ball and clinically punished the Fettes error with a well-worked try under the posts from new boy, Jordan Miller. McIlwraith completed his afternoon’s work with a 100% kicking record, bringing the final score to 35-0.
Not only did Dollar book their place in this year’s semi-final, they were also presented with the Colin MacKay cup which is played for annually between the two sides in memory of Dollar’s much loved former Head of PE who died tragically in Spain some years ago.
The semi-final will be played at Dollar on Wednesday 23 November, kick-off at 2.00pm against George Watson’s College.
9 NOVEMBER: U16 QUARTER-FINAL VERSUS GLASGOW ACADEMY
On 9 November, the Dollar Academy U16 Team went to Glasgow Academy for the quarter-final of the U16 Brewin Dolphin Cup. Dollar kicked off and immediately put pressure on Glasgow. Dollar was able to push Glasgow back to their 22 before we turned over the ball, passed it wide to winger Thomas Greer, who finished in the corner. (Dollar 5-0 Glasgow). Straight from kick off, flanker Jamie Cruickshank found a gap and with some great team offloading, Cruickshank was able to score Dollars second try in five minutes. Scrum half Finn Mcilwraith converted. (Dollar 12-0 Glasgow). After 10 minutes of good pressure in our half, Glasgow were able to score from a number 8 pickup. (Dollar 12-5 Glasgow). However, it was Dollar going into half-time dominating, as just before the break, the ball was passed through the backs from a lineout to winger Thomas Greer who ran the ball down the wing to score his second and Dollar’s third for the match. (Dollar 17-5 Glasgow).
The second half started slowly and both teams failed to take their chances. However, after good pressure from the lineout and a lucky fumble, Glasgow were able to score right between the posts. (Dollar 17-12 Glasgow). After Glasgow’s try, Dollar realised the pressure they were under and intensified the game. After working their way up the field, the referee gave a penalty to Dollar and scrum half Finn Mcilwraith dived for the line, giving Dollar a well-deserved score. (Dollar 24-12 Glasgow). Sadly, after Dollar’s score, we started to rest up and bring on substitutes. Dollar kept good structure in defence but Glasgow’s attack was too much and they score 2 tries in quick succession, levelling up the match. (Dollar 24-24 Glasgow). Dollar knew they wanted the win more and with a few minutes to go, we attacked for the last time. Glasgow’s defence was solid but eventually, on Glasgow’s 22 metre line, they conceded a penalty. The team decided to kick for points. A lot of pressure was put on Finn Mcilwraith, but he scored a great penalty to give Dollar the lead. (Dollar 27-24 Glasgow). The ref signalled for last play on the kick-off, and Dollar knew they just had to hold the ball for one phase. We did. It was a great and hard fought win for Dollar.
Daniel Robins (Form IV)
5 NOVEMBER 2016: VERSUS STEWART'S MELVILLE COLLEGE
Dollar were comprehensively beaten by a well drilled and lively Stewart’s Melville side at the weekend, going down 41-0.
The Dollar side started brightly enough and looked dangerous with ball in hand, forcing the Stewart’s Melville side to defend their line for long periods of time. However, every attack was blighted by unforced errors or needless penalties, handing the initiative back to a very dangerous running side.
Despite knowing that their opponents would look to keep the ball in hand and alive at every opportunity, Dollar failed to turn up with their defensive heads on and some 21 missed tackles later were looking down the barrel of a huge loss. In fact, the biggest loss ever for this group of players.
Hopefully, we will all learn from the experience and the match will act as a wake up call to spur the whole squad into action and not just rely on a few to do all the work. We look forward to putting things right against a very strong Merchiston Castle School this coming weekend.
2 NOVEMBER 2016: 4TH ROUND CUP VERSUS KELVINSIDE
On 2 November, the Dollar Academy U16 rugby team travelled to Kelvinside for our 4th round match in the U16 Brewin Dolphin Cup. The game started and immediately Dollar was under a lot of pressure from the Kelvinside forwards. Dollar was camped in their own half and unable to break out. After the first 10 minutes of the game, Dollar started to make ground and found themselves deep into Kelvinside’s 22. After a successful lineout and a few phases close to their line, scrum half Finn McIlwraith (FIV) was able to break through and score the opening try. (Dollar 5-0 Kelvinside). Soon after the score, Dollar was put under pressure again, and with 2 men down injured, Kelvinside are able to break the line and score. (Dollar 5-5 Kelvinside). At half time, Dollar knew that they were playing the better rugby, they just needed to concentrate and cut out errors.
As the second half began, Dollar put immediate pressure on and off a clearance kick from Kelvinside, Dollar was able to move the ball wide to winger, Thomas Greer (FIV) to score in the corner, the kick was converted by Finn. (Dollar 12-5 Kelvinside). After Dollar’s try, the game turned scrappy, a lot of the play was broken and neither team was playing good rugby, after a long time defending their own line, Dollar finally conceded to Kelvinside as they scored under the post. (Dollar 12-12 Kelvinside). Dollar came back with a fighting passion, and after a few phases in the opposition’s 22, centre Rob Alexander (FIV) pulled off a clever pick-up from the back of a ruck to score under the post. The kick was converted by Finn. (Dollar 19-12 Kelvinside). The pressure came back from Kelvinside, and the noise from the home fans increased. The game went back to scrappy rugby, and an unfortunate charge down gave Kelvinside their third try. However, the kick wasn’t successful. (Dollar 19-17 Kelvinside). The game came alive after this point, with both teams putting pressure on each other. Kelvinside were in Dollar’s 22 for 10 minutes straight. After a rare break into Kelvinside’s half, Finn McIlwraith was able to evade tacklers and race away to score the final try of the match, which he then converted. (Dollar 26-17 Kelvinside). During the last few minutes of the game, Kelvinside mounted no real comeback. Final score Dollar 26-17 Kelvinside.
Daniel Robins (FIV)
1 OCTOBER 2016: VERSUS STRATHALLAN SCHOOL
Dollar went down 17-13 in a keenly contested encounter against Strathallan School at the weekend.
Things did not start well for Dollar as ill-discipline got the better of the team in early exchanges, giving penalty after penalty away. This meant the side had to defend for long periods against a side with a very strong set piece and a determined and dangerous set of running backs.
It wasn’t long before Strathallan made the pressure tell and dived over from short range, making no mistake with the subsequent conversion and bringing the score to 0-7.
Dollar finally started to stir and came strongly back into the game. The forwards gained some much-needed parity in the scrum, which provided the opportunity for Ben McIlwraith to dive over in the corner and magnificently convert from the touch line. This brought the scores level at 7-7.
It was now the turn of Strathallan to start leaking penalties, and it was again Ben McIlwraith who willingly accepted the kicking challenge and slotted over to bring the half-time score to 10-3.
The second half started as the first had finished, with Ben McIlwraith punishing the Strathallan side with another finely struck penalty to extend the Dollar lead to 13-7.
The gap was not quite enough and, for all the huff and puff and honest endeavour, the dominating Strathallan set-piece was beginning to take its toll on the tiring Dollar side. Dollar could not get a foothold or platform to release their runners and, in the end, the pressure was just too much. The opposition unit drove over the Dollar line which they converted to make the score 13-14 going into the final quarter.
There was to be no dramatic comeback for the Dollar side and, as the game petered out, it was Strathallan who added the fatal, final blow with a penalty on the stroke of full-time to bring the final score to 17-13.
24 SEPTEMBER 2016: VERSUS THE HIGH SCHOOL OF DUNDEE
Dollar returned to winning ways with a resounding 50-12 win over The High School of Dundee. It also proved a great debut for newcomer Moray Sharpe.
Winger Sam Smith opened the scoring, rounding off a neatly worked move with forwards and backs working well together and Ben McIlwraith dutifully adding the extras to make it 7-0 after just a few minutes.
A lapse in the Dollar defence allowed Dundee to come back into the game with a score of their own, bringing the game to 7-5.
Not to be outdone, Charlie Dineen made it two for the wingers, with an almost carbon copy of the first try in the opposite corner. This time McIlwraith could not add the conversion, leaving the score at 12-5.
Dollar were soon again on the offensive and the pressure was beginning to tell on the Dundee defence. It was Fergus Fitzpatrick who took the spoils, effortlessly gliding through and gathering a neatly placed kick by Grant Hughes to score under the posts. Ben McIlwraith made no mistake with the conversion to make it 19-5.
Dollar were now running everything despite the adverse weather conditions. From a quickly taken penalty, Ben McIlwraith waltzed through the stunned Dundee defence to score under the posts. He easily added the 2 point conversion, bringing the half time score to 26-5.
Dollar started the second half in the same vein as the first with Charlie Dineen on the end of a text book try and bringing his tally to two. McIlwraith made no mistake with the kick to stretch the lead to 33-5.
It was now the turn of Reece McAllister to make his mark on the game. Reece, in his first season of 1st XV rugby, played magnificently throughout and easily deserved his well taken brace of tries.
With the score now standing at 43-5 Dollar started to lift their foot off the pedal and allowed Dundee a very soft try making it 43-12.
However, Dollar rallied one more time and this time it was the live wire Gus Warr who crossed the line for a well deserved try. Ben McIlwraith made no mistake with the conversion, closing the game 8 tries to 2.
17 SEPTEMBER 2016: VERSUS GEORGE WATSON'S COLLEGE
In a repeat of last year’s cup final, Dollar lost out to their bitter rivals right at the death, going down 31-24 in another keenly contested encounter.
It was Watson’s who started the game brightly and, in trade mark fashion, scored first from a driving lineout to make the score 5-0.
They soon extended this to 10-0 before the Dollar XV began to spring into life. Reece McAllister scored, crashing over from short range with Ben McIlwraith adding the extras to make it 7-10.
Dollar were beginning to grow in confidence as their defence started to function properly and, from a Watson’s forced mistake and turn over, Charlie Dineen galloped away from the Watson’s defence to score. McIlwraith made no mistake with the conversion and Dollar found themselves 10-14 in front.
Not satisfied with a single try, Charlie Dineen rounded off another attacking phase with his second try of the game which was duly converted by McIlwraith to give Dollar a commanding 10-21 half time lead.
Anyone thinking that the second half was a mere formality was rudely mistaken. Watson’s clearly hadn’t read the script and came out all guns blazing in a second half performance that the Dollar boys would rather forget, losing their shape in both attack and defence. Watson’s racked up 21 points to just 3 from a Ben McIlwraith penalty which gave them the game once again, 31-24. Dollar will see this as an opportunity missed but will learn from their mistakes and eagerly look forward to putting things right next week against a much fancied High School of Dundee outfit.
3 SEPTEMBER 2016: VERSUS GEORGE HERIOT'S SCHOOL
Dollar kicked off their competitive fixtures with an impressive 45-0 win over George Heriot’s School. Although the seven try score was flattering enough, Dollar were made to work hard throughout against a very lively and competitive side.
Dollar set out their intentions early and attacked from the outset, but inaccuracy and impatience denied them a score for the 1st quarter of the half. In the end, Gus Warr took the bull by the horns and finished off a good team driving effort, burrowing over from short range. Ben McIlwraith made no mistake with the extras to make it 7-0.
Dollar started to up the tempo and the second try was not long in coming in the form of the impressive Gordon McGregor who finished off another flowing attack. McIlwraith’s conversion attempt drifted wide so the score remained 12-0.
It was winger Charlie Dineen that bagged the third try of the half, rounding off a quick tap penalty move out wide, extending the half time lead to 19-0. McIlwraith could not add the conversion.
The second half saw Dollar defending for the first quarter and it took a great individual try by man of the match Grant Hughes to open the scoring which was duly converted making it 26-0.
Dollar were now firmly in control and it was the turn of the two youngsters to the side, Sam Smith and Lachlan Kelly, to go over for tries bringing the score to 38-0.
Not to be outdone and not content with his one try, it was Gus Warr who finished off another Dollar attack to round off the game with a very impressive brace of tries which he confidently converted to bring the final score to 45-0.