Clubs from all over the Caledonian gathered in Aberdeen yesterday to send out the clear message that youth rugby is in the best of health after 15 under age finals were enthusiastically contested by a wide range of Caley youth sections.
The event which was jointly organised by Scottish Rugby and Sport Aberdeen and sponsored by Saltire Energy proved to be a winner with the large turnout of appreciative spectators, enthralled by the all action finals which got underway at 10.30am and finished just before 5pm.
Among the early starters was the eagerly anticipated tie between two of the leading promoters of youth rugby in the North East.
Ellon won the Under-15 Bowl 12-0 in a fiercely contested final. But the tie which brought the crowd to their feet was the Boys Under-18 final in which the local side Aberdeen Wanderers were narrowly beaten by the Howe of Fife 12-5.
The early indicators were in fact that teams from the south of the region were performing better than their northern counterparts, as witness the final of the Girls Under-16 Shield in which Highland were beaten 50-0 by Tayside.
Caithness were also heavily beaten in their final by Stirling, going down 40-7 in the Under-16 Cup.
A combined Huntly/ Moray team were the real crowd pleasers, beating a North Select 22-17 but lost a thrilling game 29-27 to Dunfermline.
Orkney went down bravely in the final of the Under-16 Shield 57-14 to Dundee.
There was success for Highland as they won the Boys’ Under-15 Shield final in a tightly contested final 14-12 against Aberdeen Wanderers.
The participants view of the day was best summed up by Gareth Kemp, youth director at Ellon, who will be off to Edinburgh at the end of the season where he will be a member of the highly successful youth set up at Heriots.
He said: “It has been a marvellous day of showcasing youth rugby in Caledonian.
“Once again Ellon has come out of the day with silverware, but really it’s all about taking part.”
Tony Dawson, chairman of Sport Aberdeen said: “I hope we have the opportunity to support a similar event in Aberdeen in the foreseeable future.”