St Andrews’ Men’s 4th XV, affectionately known as the ‘Goats’ for their heartiness, is a team new to the game but not to the sport. After years of being a social group, the team took a monumental step in Saints Rugby history by organising their FIRST EVER match this semester.
Wednesday saw St Andrews’ Men’s 4th XV play their second fixture of the season. With a full-strength squad of ten men, the Goats were in supreme form. With weather conditions surprisingly excellent for October, St Andrews faced the University of Aberdeen’s 4th XV. The first half saw Aberdeen making gradual progress against the home team, forcing very strong attacking plays from their back line. Despite the offensive pressure, powerful runs were made by Will Green and skipper Harry Bentley, amongst others, positioning the home team closer to scoring on a number of occasions. However, the newly-practised squad’s lack of cohesion led to Aberdeen scoring three times in the first half. However, the setback was no match for the Goats’ moral; their determination to courageously fight back ensured no further tries were conceded in the remaining minutes.
The second half saw momentum shift towards the Goats as, from the offset, they placed massive pressure upon Aberdeen. While a few missed tackles led to Aberdeen scoring two easy tries, it was arguably a half dominated by the 4th XV. The ball remained firmly in Aberdeen’s pitch, with strong carries by Michael Calder and Maadhav Kothari assuring Aberdeen faced a barrage challenging to defend. While minor mistakes prevented a breakthrough from occurring, the Goats’ offensive play did not relent. Continued attacks and well-supported phases resulted in Aberdeen’s defensive discipline breaking considerably: in the space of 15 minutes, two of their players were rewarded with yellow cards and a ten-minute spell off the pitch for dangerously high tackles and foul play. Taking advantage of Aberdeen’s collapsing defensive spirit, the Goats continued to press home. With several penalties being awarded in the last few minutes, the 4th XV edged closer and closer to the try-line. Finally, in the last play of the match, a penalty to the Goats enabled a thundering run by American debutant Tye Wolf-Brown to score, and at last, put some very well-deserved points on the board for St Andrews.
The game ended in a 31-5 win for Aberdeen, but the Goats’ performance was extremely commendable. For a social team, St Andrews’ Men’s 4th XV played a very high standard of Rugby, especially in consideration of how the squad was comprised of players who either had very little experience or, in other cases, had not competed in 5 or more years! Every Saint played his very best, with morale remaining high and the men in good spirits. It cannot be denied that the squad is looking forward to an eventful season, and, as they come to gel together, they will become, without a doubt, a force to be reckoned with.