Match Reports

  1. Musselburgh 25 Aberdeen Rugby 37

    Aberdeen got back to winning ways after a bonus point 25–37 victory over Musselburgh at Stoneyhill.

    The visitors continued to display their wide open running style of play which, coupled with the flair and quick thinking of scrumhalf Jake Gray, allowed Aberdeen to stay comfortably ahead for the majority of the game.

    Musselburgh have previously won their last 3 encounters with the men in red. Aberdeen had different plans this time around however, using their attacking speed and impressive handling to comfortably beat the Burgh.

    Both teams started scrappily with 4 scrums and as many lineouts in the first 10 minutes. Aberdeen were first to find their feet, with Bryn Perrott taking an easy 3 points and Nathan Clough crossing the whitewash 3 minutes later from a fortuitous bounce of a charged down Aberdeen clearance. This took the Aberdonians 8 points clear after 15 minutes.

    The Rubislaw men really came alive in the second quarter, imposing their game well and regularly taking the ball from inside their own half into the Musselburgh 22. Their consistency was rewarded when Jake Gray scored a great solo try, beating 4 players in the process.

    The men in blue and white eventually found their footing in the final minutes of the first half. After consistent attack and an Aberdeen penalty, the hosts caught and drove a lineout 5 meters to score and finish the half only 7 points adrift.

    Half-time: Musselburgh RFC 8 – 15 Aberdeen Rugby

    After the interval, both teams came out looking to build on their first-half achievements. Musselburgh were the first to pounce. Having peppered the Aberdeen try line for multiple phases, prop Owenson dove over to bring the hosts within just 2 points of the visitors.

    Aberdeen replied almost immediately, a beautiful looping miss pass from Knudson sent winger Matt Arnold over. This pulled Aberdeen back to a 2 score advantage. Salt was added to the wound as Musselburgh’s winger Vela was sent to the bin after been deemed to have tackled Arnold high as he scored.

    The next 20 minutes saw Aberdeen continue their strong running game. Jake Gray picked and went from inside the Aberdeen half to score another beautiful solo try. 10 minutes later, off the back of a scrum, number 8 Greig Ryan linked up with the backs to unleash Knudson over for a third unanswered try. This brought the visitors 24 points clear.

    The final 12 minutes saw Aberdeen begin to tire. Three yellow cards were shown to Reddish, Wallen, and Stewart leaving the visitors outnumbered for the remainder of the game.

    The hosts capitalised well with two tries of their own, both starting from lineouts on the Aberdeen 5 metre line. In the final few minutes, Aberdeen’s defence held strong and prevented the hosts from walking away with more than 1 point from the encounter.

    Full-time: Musselburgh 25 – 37 Aberdeen Rugby

    Aberdeen Rugby: Knudson, Arnold, Clough, Mitchell, Ruxton, Perrott, Gray, Ellinson (c), Reddish, Schosser, Whitehead, Robertson, Dravitski, Alton, Ryan

    Replacements: Neilson, Stewart, Murray, Wallen, Shepherd

    Musselburgh: Doig, Vela, Coutts, Watt, Cook, Martin, Owenson, Owenson, Salven, McNairn, Fleming, McKinstry, Graham, Crain, Hutson

    Replacements: Gregor, Arthur, Pryde, Kennedy, Young

  2. Aberdeen Rugby 33 Jed-forest 41

    Aberdeen Grammar made a bold bid to put behind them the politics of their spat with city neighbours Aberdeenshire following the collapse of the partnership agreement between the clubs – only to come up short in a 10-try Rubislaw thriller against Jed-Forest.

    It was Border tenacity which won the day, as acknowledged by Grammar’s stand-in coach Iain Stanger.

    Stanger was, however, in no doubt his charges had wasted an opportunity.

    He said: “This was one that got away for, despite matching Jed out wide where we had centres Nat Coe and Nathan Clough performing wonders with Matt Arnold on the wing, we failed to match Jed’s aggression and streetwise approach to what was an entertaining game of rugby.

    “Our discipline also let us down, though I thought replacement back Murray Mitchell was unlucky to get a yellow card, effectively costing us the game.

    “We lost two tries in his absence but we also contributed to our own downfall by failing to assert ourselves at key times.

    “Missing a valuable losing bonus point at the death was also hard to take. We need to learn from this experience.”

    On a perfect day for running rugby it was Grammar who enjoyed the best of the early exchanges, though it was the Riverside outfit who took the lead with a breakout in 18 minutes, finished by winger Robbie Shire Gibb.

    Stand-off Robbie Yourston added the first of five successful conversions to which he later added two penalties, making him the most potent weapon in the Border side with a personal tally of 16 points.

    Grammar hit back after sustained pressure six minutes later when winger Arnold raced over in the corner, giving home stand off Bryn Perrot the chance to demonstrate his place kicking prowess.

    The ever-improving number 10 went on to score four of his five kicks at goal – like his opposite number taking full advantage of the perfect conditions.

    Jed clocked up a Yourston penalty and a try from number eight Darren Gillespie, which Yourston converted.

    Grammar hit back when Clough raced into score and, with Perrott adding the conversion, the game was nicely poised at 17-14 in favour of the Borderers.

    Grammar made the best of starts in the second half when Arnold sped over and, with Perrott adding the conversion, the home side led the game for the first time at 21-17.

    But tries by Jed prop Paulo Ferreira and replacement Jamie Hynd, both converted by the in form Yourston, made it 31-21 to the visitors

    The scoring was not yet done as Coe and Perrott crashed over for the home team.

    But Jed were equally up to the challenge, scoring two of their own to ease through in a remarkable game.

    Grammar were just shaded by the more determined, if occasionally niggling, Borderers.

    Grammar chairman Mike Cox conceded Jed had probably been the better side.

    He said: “It was good to get a game of rugby under our belts after the events of last week. We can now concentrate on the franchise for the Super Six in the company of other clubs in the area, including Aberdeenshire.

     “I just hope our disagreement last week does not deflect from the push to bring the franchise to the city.”


  3. Edinburgh Accies 49 Aberdeen Rugby 5

    Aberdeen Grammar’s chances of featuring in the promotion mix look very remote after a thrashing by league leaders Edinburgh Accies who looked every bit the part of champions in an eight-try romp.

    Grammar were never in contention, although at 17-5 down at the break might have harboured hopes of a rally, only for the men from Raeburn Place to raise their game, running in five unanswered tries in the second half.

    Head coach Ali O’Connor was at a loss to explain his side’s dramatic loss of form, having played so well the previous at home to Kelso.

    “This was a disappointing day for us, considering we had scored seven tries last week, but this was a very good Accies side who ruthlessly exposed our defensive frailties,” said O’Connor.

    The home side was strong and particularly good out wide where winger Matthew Coupar had a field day, running in three tries, while flanker Jamie Sole was also in great form, scoring two of his own in the rout.

    The other try-scorers for the Edinburgh side were full back Luther Hirini, prop James Pearce and stand off Will Stephen who also kicked three conversions and a penalty.

    The lone Grammar try came from a first-half effort scored by winger Grant Walker.

    It was a poor performance from the visitors who seemed less than confident in their own ability, which is something the coaching team must address in training this week before GHA come calling at Rubislaw on Saturday.

    The Glasgow side sits handily in third place, its only defeat coming in a one-point loss at Jed-Forest, while Grammar are in an uneasy seventh, above Falkirk, Stewart’s Melville and Musselburgh all of who have yet to win a game.

    © Jack Nixon

    Edinburgh Accies: Luther Hirini; Matthew Coupar, Neil Armstrong, Conor Hirini, Robbie Chalmers; Will Stephen, Max Love; James Pearse, Callum Blaack, Clement Lacour; Angus Inwood, Ronan Seydak; Joel Mann, Jamie Sole (c), Robin Snape.

    Replacements: Connor Weetman, Finlay Richardson, Jordan Thomson, Sam Johnson, Callum Rahm.

    Aberdeen Rugby: Bryn Perrott; Grant Walker, Alex Ratcliffe (c), Murray Mitchell, Matt Arnold; Sam Knudson, Jake Gray; Calum Reddish, Andrew Cook, Matthias Schosser; Drew Whitehead, Robin Cessford; Alec Dravitski, Chris Jollands, Greig Ryan.

    Replacements: Colin Neilson, Aaron Robertson, Will Alton, Bailey Walsh, Calum Ruxton.


  4. Selkirk 37 Aberdeen Rugby 15

    Two league games and two defeats for Aberdeen Grammar, who are ninth in 12-team National 1 after a poor show at Selkirk.

    The promise shown in the previous week’s defeat by title favourites Gala at Rubislaw was not fulfilled. Grammar lacked enterprise and conviction against canny opponents who were comfortable winners.

    Grammar head coach Ali O’Connor was at a loss to explain his players’ lack of appetite for the game.

    He said: “There were some good moments, including an impressive performance from winger Nat Coe. His two tries gave us the perfect start but then we didn’t get the ball out to him often enough. We then started falling off tackles, something that did not happen against Gala when we defended magnificently.

    “It’s all very disappointing, especially as we started throwing the ball around near the end of the game, which we should have done from the start.”

    The Borderers were shaken by the pace and guile of Coe, who gave the Aberdeen side a great start.

    But Grammar lost the pace of the game, shipping a try and a needless penalty to trail 8-5, although they rallied through Coe to lead 10-8.

    The Philiphaugh side rose to the occasion, scoring two tries, one of which was converted, and a penalty to take a 23-10 lead into the interval.

    Grammar looked to be back in the game just after the interval when Calum Ruxton scored the best try of the day but, for the third time in the afternoon, the conversion was wide of the mark.

    More Grammar pressure almost led to the gap being closed further only for Selkirk’s Ewan MacDougall to intercept a wayward pass and run 80 yards for a try which was converted by centre Aaron McComb.

    The influential McColm also converted a late try to make the game well and truly safe for tidy, organised home side.

    “Our efforts really should have yielded at least a try bonus point, something we need to work on,” said a disappointed O’Connor.

    © Jack Nixon

    Selkirk: Steven Hamilton; Fraser Anderson, Aaron McComb, Ross Nixon, Josh Walsh; Callum McColm, Callum McEwan; Luke Pettie, James Bett, Nick Hall; Callum Leckey, Peter Forrest; Andrew Renwick, Sean Nixon, Ewan MacGougall.

    Replacements: Donald Nichol, Max Gordon, Robbie Reilly, Clinton Wagman, S Clark.

    Aberdeen Rugby: Bryn Perrott; Nigel Coe, Nathan Clough, Tom Aplin, Calum Ruxton; Sam Knudson, Jake Gray; Rob Ellinson, Andrew Cook, Ross Anderson; Drew Whitehead, Lewis Govenlock; Alec Dravitski, Chris Jollands, Greig Ryan.

    Replacements: Matthias Schosser, Calum Reddish, Robin Cessford, Cameron Simpson, Murray Mitchell.

  5. Aberdeen Rugby 28 Gala 34

    Aberdeen Grammar made a losing start to their league campaign but can be encouraged by scoring four tries and being within one converted try of upsetting Gala at Rubislaw.

    With four minutes remaining, Grammar scored the fourth of their tries when lock Aaron Robertson went over. When new stand off Bryn Perrott kicked his fourth conversion, it was game-on for the home side and an opportunity to win a game that looked beyond them. 

    But the Netherdale men rallied to take the play away from Grammar and almost deprived the Rubislaw men their losing bonus point with the last kick of the game, but stand off Gregor Hunter pushed a penalty attempt at goal wide of the posts.

    Grammar coach Ali O’Connor hailed his side’s comeback in rallying from 34-14 down with only 20 minutes to play.

    He said: “This was a performance to be proud of considering we had so many new faces in the team. Once we get them bedded in we will surprise teams.

    “Picking up two bonus points against a team such as Gala is most encouraging. With a little bit of luck we could have gone on to win but ruined our chances by giving away too many penalties at key moments. It’s an encouraging start for us. We had a pack that never let Gala settle.”

    Gala made a strong start, racing into a 12-point lead through tries from lock Chris Weir and winger Scott Wilkinson, the second one converted by Hunter. Grammar then got the measure of the Borderers, hitting back with tries by scrum half Andrew Ovenstone and centre Nat Coe, who marked his debut with a bulldozing effort. With Perrott kicking both conversions, Grammar led 14-12.

    But they failed to lead at half time after giving away a penalty which Gala gladly accepted.

    And the Netherdale men made a storming start to the second half with tries by Graham Speirs, Wilkinson and Craig Russell, two of which were converted by the reliable Hunter.

    At 34-14 down Grammar looked out of it but, to their credit, they came back – firstly with a try from winger Matt Arnold and then Robertson’s late effort, but it was just not enough.

    O’Connor took the positives after witnessing something to build on and said: “We will travel to Selkirk in the best of heart for the next game but there’s work to be done.”

    © Jack Nixon

    Aberdeen Rugby: Doug Russell; Callum Ruxton, Murray Mitchell, Nat Coe, Matt Arnold; Bryn Perott, Andrew Ovenstone; Rob Ellinson (c), Andrew Cook, Ross Anderson; Aaron Robertson, Drew Whitehead; Christian Brew, Alec Dravitski, Greig Ryan.

    Replacements: Calum Reddish, Lewis Govanlock. Jordan Robertson, Tommy Morrison.

    Gala: Graham Speirs (c): Scott Wilkinson, Rex Jeffrey, Alan Emond, Craig Russell; Gregor Hunter, Lachlan Johnston; Chris Keen, Lewis Roden, Terry Logan; Chris weir, Blair Reavely; Richard Tod, Fraser Welsh, Stephen cairns.

    Replacements: P Stewart, C Pate, John Turnbull, D Wilkinson.


  6. Highland 34 Aberdeen Rugby 27

    Highland were supreme at the weekend but the partnership between Aberdeen Grammar and Aberdeenshire got off to the worst possible start, with both crashing out of the Cup in the first round.

     Highland rose magnificently to the challenge of playing a side two leagues above them.

    They never relented in their quest to get their season off to a flyer and they succeeded with a 34-27 victory against Grammar in Inverness.

    Davie Carson, the Highland head coach, said: “We were just tremendous never giving up and coming from behind twice to win what was a great game of rugby.

    “We were out on our feet going into the last quarter but rallied to come back from 25-24 down to win the tie.

    “We can now concentrate on our league programme with some confidence.”

    Ali O’Connor, the Grammar head coach, was disappointed with the defeat and said: “The better side won. Highland had the greater appetite and they were more incisive.

    “We’ll have a very different team out next week for our National 1 opener against Gala.”

    Tom Aplin, the Grammar captain, and stand off agreed with his coach and said: “We will be a different side next week and will have learned from this.”

    Joint captains for Highland, number eight Stuart MacDonald and centre Rory Cross scored two first-half tries, while Cross was an organiser in the midfield, getting his reward in the second half when he scored a splendid try.

    Iain Chisholm had a fine debut at stand off, scoring a try of his own and kicking one conversion, giving his side a deserved half-time 17-8 lead. Replacement Calum MacPherson added a second-half try and Scott Fraser kicked on penalty and one conversion.

    The Grammar points came from forwards Callum Reddish, Andrew Cook, Drew Whitehead and Greig Ryan. Aplin kicked two conversions and a penalty in what was generally a disjointed performance from the Rubislaw side.

    Aberdeenshire suffered a crushing 102-7 loss at home to Hamilton, although coach Craig Parslow said: “We never gave up, making tackle after tackle. Some of the new players will have learnt from the experience.”

    © Jack Nixon

     Highland: Ruaridh MacDonald; Steven Rutledge, Craig Findlater, Rory Cross (cc), Andrew Cook; Iain Chisholm, Tom Brogan; Lewis Sinclair, Kevin Brown, Lyle Archer; Erem Demirel, Sean Blair; Callum Carson, Gordon Gregor, Stuart MacDonald (cc)

    Replacements:  Jonny Milton, Oscar Baird, Calum MacPherson, Scott Fraser, Connor Ross.

    Aberdeen Rugby: Andrew Ovenstone; Craig Shepherd, Matt Arnold, Calum Ruxton; Tom Aplin (c), Jake Gray; Callum Reddish, Andrew Cook, Ross Anderson; Aaron Robertson, Ewan Stewart; Ethan Murray, Cameron Simpson, Greig Ryan.

    Replacements: Colin Neilson, Calum Sangster, Drew Whitehead, Alex Dravitski, Duncan Ruxton.

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