A Brand new Adventure

By Morgan Martin

This week Morgan Martin from the Carluke Tigers is a guest blogger. Morgan recently debuted for Scotland A and has been kind enough to share his experiences and thoughts of the day. I first met Morgan in 2008 actually when his first international match was with the Euro Celts against Germany in bad Reichenhall. Little did I know that that weekend I was having lunch and beers with a future Scotland International!

The First Taste

Making my debut playing for Scotland A v France A at Rugby League has certainly been the highlight of my sporting career so far, and although the result never quite turned out how we would have hoped (18-25), it was a great experience. Having only taken the sport up just over two years ago, I am delighted to have got this far!

Having played Rugby Union from the age of eleven, Rugby League was a brand new adventure for me when in early 2008 I and a bunch of mates decided we fancied giving it a go. As it turns out we had no local club, and so Carluke Tigers RLFC was born and has since gone from strength to strength.

My first taste of Rugby League was for the West of Scotland “Origin” District team that I had started training with in order to pick up some basics of the game. I ended up getting a starting slot for the match against the East, and that was some introduction to Rugby League going straight into a representative game, but one in which I had to learn a lot fast and subsequently helped with my task of coaching Carluke Tigers whilst also playing and learning the game myself.

Two full seasons with Carluke Tigers have passed, and it’s safe to say all the guys now love their Rugby League – in our second season we made it to the Scottish Grand Final, losing agonizingly in extra time. This has, however, highlighted our potential to have got so far in only our second season. In between I also managed an international appearance of another kind – playing for invitational side “Euro Celts XIII” against Germany in Bad Reichenhall, where I first bumped into Rugby League International Score’s own Dan Andruczyk!

S5007647 A team photo with some of the Euro Celts in 2008. Morgin is second from left in the front row.

A Big Step Up

Last winter I also played for Napier Knights (Edinburgh Napier University) in the British Universities Rugby League competition, and following the conclusion of that competition it was time once again for the East v West Origin fixture – the trial for Scotland A. To say I was happy at making the training squad in an understatement, and when I was named to start the match against France A I was delighted – and also a bit nervous!

We had a three good training sessions before the game, the quality was high and it’s safe to say I learned a bit and seemed to adapt to the game plan well. On the day we met up early as a squad at the Murrayfield Hotel and had lunch, autographed the sponsors’ replica shirts, and got presented with our match jerseys. On the way to the ground the nerves were kicking in, but it was good excited nerves – during the national anthems this all turned to passion and a willingness to get this game kicked off!

The game itself was a great experience, and certainly one I have picked up a few pointers from on how I need to improve as an individual, and how we can improve as a team after the video analysis and game stats had been presented. For me the big difference I felt at the time was the speed of the match – it was a big step up in speed from the Scottish Conference!

As I said above, we never got the result we wanted, but we done ourselves proud against a strong French outfit that have a much broader Rugby League set up than we do here. For me, it’s now time to concentrate on keeping Carluke Tigers winning, continue to enjoy playing Rugby League, and hopefully my form can earn me a few more international appearances in the future!

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