Blacks just miss out on Finals Day showpiece

Caithness RFC beat Berwick 22-17 in the semi-final of the RBS National Shield at Millbank
Caithness RFC beat Berwick 22-17 in the semi-final of the RBS National Shield at Millbank

Berwick put up a brave fight in the semi-finals of the SRU Shield at Caithness on Saturday, but unfortunately were unable to overcome their hosts and reach Finals Day.

The Blacks made a long and tiresome 320-mile journey north for the fixture, aiming for a place in the showpiece at Clyde’s Broadwood stadium at Easter.

Head coach Colin Young admitted afterwards: “It was disappointing to lose in the manner we did, because we really didn’t play at our best in the first half. We were 14-0 down at one stage and it was 14-3 at the break.

“We trailed 22-3 in the second half, and it was only then we started playing like we know we can.

“We came back strongly towards the end, but it was just too late. Had the game gone on another five minutes I think we might just have nicked it.”

Young said his players were frustrated at several refereeing decisions which went against them, but like the journey, he didn’t want to use that as an excuse.

“That’s just the way it was,” he said, “but I know the players were disappointed afterwards - there was a lot of blood, sweat and even some tears in the dressingroom after the final whistle.

“But the lads certainly didn’t let themselves down. They gave their best, and that’s all I can ask of them.

“They really have been magnificent this season, and now that I have had a little time to reflect on it, winning promotion in the league and the Border Shield, and reaching the semi-final of a national competition isn’t really that bad. If someone had offered me that at the start of the year I would have taken that.

“Finals Day would have been the icing on the cake, because I have played in two of them and they are a great occasion.

“I am very proud of what the players have achieved, and on behalf of the rest of the coaching team, manager Owen Weatherhead, Colin Robinson and myself, I would like to thank them for all the hard work they have put in.”

But Berwick’s season is not over yet - they still have the final of the Northumberland County Plate to play, against Blyth at Percy Park on April 19.

“That’s the same day as the Finals Day at Broadwood,” said Young, “so we will be playing in a final that day after all.”