Balfron High School qualify for Warriors Championship semi-finals
Balfron High School produced a fantastic all-round performance yesterday to qualify for the semi-finals of the 2019 SP Energy Networks Warriors Championship.
Scotstoun Stadium was basking in sunshine as the third round of qualifying was staged and the 210 players competing took full advantage of conditions, running in some superb tries.
In total, 209 tries were scored across 30 matches as Balfron High School progressed to the next round ahead of Auchinleck Academy, Queen Margaret Academy, Kirkcudbright Academy and St Andrew's RC Secondary School.
Competing for a third time in the Warriors Championship, Balfron's three teams lost just two of their 12 matches all day as an S1 and S2 boys' team and an under-15 girls' team from each school participated.
The Stirling school has qualified out the group stages each year, reaching final's day at Scotstoun once.
They join Lenzie Academy and Eastwood High School in the semi-finals with two rounds of qualifying next month.
Gary Dalziel, who coaches the Balfron High School girls' team, said: "The standard of rugby in this tournament has risen again this year which is so good to see.
"As a coach of the girls' team you can see a real noticeable difference in standards, even from last year and the players had to work a lot harder to progress.
"All our pupils performed really well and we're happy to have qualified again.
"The S2 boys did very well to go unbeaten in their four matches and the S1 and girls only lost one game.
"The weather has been brilliant compared to last year and being in the sunshine was beneficial to all the players competing.”
He continued: "We have a really high number of pupils playing rugby at Balfron High School, teams at all ages for the boys and the girls competing in the under-18s Scottish Cup semi-final.
"We have good coaches at the school and parents get involved which makes a big difference.
"I would like to thank all the parents who helped out today.
"We’re already looking forward to the semi-finals and hopefully we can get back to the final again."
Kate Drummond was one of the stand-out performers in the girls’ competition yesterday.
The Auchenleck Academy pupil began playing rugby two years ago and has not looked back since.
"I love rugby," she enthused.
"My brother Jamie plays for Scotland Under-18s so I was brought up with rugby in the family.
"I enjoy running around playing all the different positions and getting stuck into tackling.
"I think you become closer friends through playing as well and I would like to play rugby when I am older.
"The next step for me would be joining Ayr Rugby Club."
The 14-year-old added: “I went to the Autumn Test against South Africa last year and loved the atmosphere at BT Murrayfield.
"Stuart Hogg and Stuart McInally are two of my favourite players and I also like Mark Bennett because he is a Cumnock boy."
Queen Margaret Academy's S2 captain Christian Woods was also encouraged to take up rugby after watching his elder brother play.
He said: "What I like about rugby is that it's now not just a boys’ sport.
"It's good to see all the girls competing and we enjoy playing in this event.
"We take it seriously but also have fun at the same time.
"I like the social aspect and meeting new friends from other schools."
ABOUT THE SP ENERGY NETWORKS WARRIORS CHAMPIONSHIP
- At the beginning of the 2017/18 season Glasgow Warriors announced a landmark three-year partnership with SP Energy Networks which saw them become the club’s Official Community Partner.
SP Energy Networks, which operates across central and southern Scotland, are working with Glasgow Warriors on a wide-range of community initiatives, including the SP Energy Networks Warriors Championship.
More than 1,000 girls and boys from 25 schools are competing in this year’s competition which will give a platform to grassroots talent to display their skills at Scotstoun Stadium.
Q4 - Wednesday 6 March: Kyle Academy, Coatbridge High School, Largs Academy, Ayr Academy, St Paul's High School
Q5 - Wednesday 13 March: Marr College, St Thomas Aquinas Secondary School, Jordanhill School, Boclair Academy, Wallace High School.
Semi-finals: Wednesday 27 March.
Finals day: Saturday, April 27 (Prior to Glasgow Warriors v Edinburgh Rugby).