NORTH Berwick High School's under-16s' thrilling encounter against Bell Baxter High School/Howe of Fife at BT Murrayfield today ended in stalemate.

The county side drew 14-14 in the final of the Schools' National Shield with the Fifers, meaning both sides were declared joint winners of the competition.

AS IT HAPPENED: North Berwick v Bell Baxter High School

The North Berwick players - most with bleached blond hair in support of the late Doddie Weir's charity, My Name'5 Doddie Foundation - took to the field with the backing of a large and vocal support from the school and the town.

READ MORE: North Berwick Rugby Club youngsters go blond for charity

North Berwick started the game on the front foot and dominated much of the early stages but were unable to make the breakthrough.

Against the run of play, Bell Baxter would get points on the board first though, creating a couple of great phases through the forwards before crossing the whitewash. The conversion was slotted away well and the Fifers took a 7-0 lead.

North Berwick would bounced back almost instantly, putting Bell Baxter under pressure from the kick-off and forcing a series of penalties deep in enemy terrritory.

This was rounded off by a quick tap-and-go penalty out wide which Cameron Fyfe finished off expertly to claim the try.

Fyfe would slot a tight conversion to level the scores at 7-7.

North Berwick continued to press, making numerous forays into the Bell Baxter 22 but they struggled to find the finishing touch.

A powerful run by Rhoan Fraser epitomised their dynamic style as he brushed off two defenders but another try was proving elusive.

East Lothian Courier: Image - Dominic GallImage - Dominic Gall (Image: Dominic Gall)

And there was an escape for Bell Baxter when a try for NB was hauled back for a penalty to the Fifers for an apparent pull on a defender off the ball.

Bell Baxter then grew back into the game at the end of the half and almost scored the try of the game when their winger broke through the centre of the park, playing a beautiful chip that beat the North Berwick defenders.

But he failed to collect and the county side escaped unscathed.

However, Bell Baxter would take the lead before the interval.

Some slack play by North Berwick in their own 22 allowed an onrushing forward to collect the ball off the deck and score under the posts.

The conversion was good and the Fifers took a 14-7 lead.

The second half was a more scrappy affair, but moments of brilliance shone through, usually by man-of-the-match Fyfe who used the boot expertly on a number of occasions to unlock the Bell Baxter defence.

With just under 20 minutes to play, North Berwick got their reward. After a procession of penalties, a few pick-and-go's from the forwards was finished off by Callum Perry under the posts.

Fyfe put over the conversion and the game was once again all square at 14-14.

With less than five minutes to play, it looked like North Berwick had won the game - but another try of theirs was disallowed.

A quick penalty was taken by Fyfe and he jinked past a couple defenders before driving to the line and touching down. 

However, the referee claimed he had spilled the ball as he went down, giving the knock on. This seemed a harsh call to say the least.

From there, both sides tried to make something happen in the closing seconds but it was not to be, and the match finished 14-14.

Speaking after the game, under-16s' coach Iain Macintosh shared his pride with the way the boys played.

He said: "I'm absolutely proud of the boys, they've been fantastic all season. They have grown, they have matured, and today was the climax of a good start to the season.

"We just ask the boys to express themselves and just play enjoyable rugby.

"I think both team didn't play their best rugby but, all in all, it was a fair result.

"But the effort and experience for the boys was fantastic, it was great and we are so proud of them."

Iain also praised the North Berwick lads' fight, responding to an early try against to claw their way back into the game.

He said: "It shows the grit and determination in this team to be able to come back from behind and they played real good, competitive rugby."

He added that it was a fair result in the end and he would not have liked to see either side lose the game in extra time.

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Fergus Kinnaird, North Berwick captain, spoke of how it was a dream come true to play at the home of Scottish rugby.

He said: "It was absolutley amazing: my idols have played on that pitch, people I have watched all my life have played on that pitch, and to do it is just a dream come true. 

Fergus was also elated to be able to represent the town and the school and hopes he did them proud.

He said: "I'm absolutely over the moon! From what we were at the start of the season to where we are now, we have come on leaps and bounds.

"The team has grown and grown in number, experience and effort, to come to training, to play well and always keeps going."

Fergus also praised everyone who attended the final to support the boys.

"The numbers we had were absolutely amazing," he added.