Aberdeen Rugby 16 Stewart’s Melville 26
Aberdeen Grammar chairman Gordon Thomson knows the enormity of the task facing his team after the Granite City side slumped to a 10th consecutive defeat in a season of despair for the Rubislaw supporters.
The National 1 situation looks grim and Thomson said: “We are now in a dogfight with Hamilton and Howe of Fife to avoid relegation. They are our opponents in our next two fixtures. It’s now up to the players to demonstrate just what they can do to turn our season around.”
Thomson had watched his side enjoy 80% of the possession only to lose to a Stewart’s-Melville side that could scarcely believe its luck.
Grammar’s bad fortune started as early as two minutes when Peceli Nacamavuto limped out of the game with a pulled hamstring. But even then the home players looked the most likely winners given the possession and territorial advantage they enjoyed in the first half.
The match seemed set for a home win after 18 minutes when hooker Fergus McKenzie nipped away from a lineout and, after exchanging passes with Matthew McCall, dashed 40 yards to plunge over in the corner. Sam Knudson kicked the conversion.
Even when Stewart’s-Melville stand off Michael Manning reduced the deficit with two penalties, Knudson responded with a second penalty to give Grammar a 10-6 lead by half-time.
Hope evaporated just a minute into the second half when winger James Ferguson took advantage of poor home defending to race over for a try, converted by Hanning. Hanning added more penalties, one of which went over after hitting a post, and converted a second try scored by lock Gareth Henderson.
The Grammar response came from two Knudson penalties. He also hit a post with another long-range effort and, in the last play of the game, had an opportunity to give his side a precious losing bonus point only to pull his penalty attempt wide.
Grammar coach Ali O’Connor said: ‘’Even though we dominated the game, we never looked dangerous with ball in hand.
“We just can’t buy a win. Perhaps we’ll turn it around at Howe of Fife on Saturday
Aberdeen Rugby: Conor Lavery; Matthew Arnold, Alex Ratcliffe (c), Peceli Nacamavuto, Calum Ruxton; Sam Knudson, Jake Gray; Rob Ellinson, Fergus McKenzie, Colin Neilson; Aaron Robertson, William Inglis; Kyle McFarlane, Dom Wallen, Matthew McCall.
Replacements: Chris Prentice, Frank Selbie, Doug Russell, Andrew Ovenstone, Tom Aplin.
Stewart’s Melville: Sebastian Trotter; Seam Murchie, Hack Hannay, Euan Morrison, James Ferguson; Michael Hanning, Mark Sinclair; Fin Hobbis, Craig Willis, Angus Wallace; Alex Rappestad, Gareth Henderson; Jamie Hodgson, Duncan Wood (c), Sami Paulsson.
Replacements: Connor McKay, Jonathan Goldring, John Grant, Lewis Scott, Jack Calder.