Aberdeen Grammar 14 Dundee High 23
Aberdeen Grammar ended their home campaign with a disappointing defeat by Dundee High, sending the Rubislaw faithful away more than a little relieved that the agony of watching their misfiring side is over for another season.
It could have been so different had Grammar taken the many try-scoring opportunities presented to them over the 80 minutes of generally scrappy rugby.
While it was a typical derby game, the match was not one for the connoisseur and ended in the Mayfield side taking home the Dallas Allardice Trophy for the first time in its history.
Stuart Corsar, the Grammar coach, has suffered as much as anyone in a season typified by the Rubislaw side’s tendency to lose games which looked to be there for the taking.
Corsar said: “Once again we let victory escape us and should have scored more than two tries.
“We now have only one game to play, but must start looking to next season and learn from the lessons of this season, and there have been many.
“It has been a frustrating time. Our lack of composure and, I suppose, lack of confidence showed again.”
It all started so well for the home side when flanker Ali Mackie intercepted a wayward Dundee High pass on the halfway line before outstripping the Mayfield defence to score under the posts, giving stand off Sam Knudson the easiest of conversions.
Mackie was a standout throughout an otherwise mediocre game of rugby. Had more members of the home team risen to the heights of the energetic and industrious home flanker it would have been a vastly superior game.
Having gone in front, Grammar immediately went off the boil, leaking a converted try scored by flanker Hamish Livingston, and converted by stand off Harry Millar, giving the visitors a 13-7 lead at half-time.
The home side was not helped by referee Stephen Turnbull sin-binning replacement Adrian Hamilton for an exchange of opinion with a Dundee forward.
Grammar started the second half with a flourish and it was no surprise when, after incessant pressure, winger Grant Walker plunged over for a try. Knudson, who was standing in for the injured Alex Hagart, duly converted.
Grammar then lost the pace and handed Dundee the initiative. The away side grabbed it with both hands, scoring two unconverted tries through number eight Donald Sangster and replacement winger Jonny Petty.
Scrum half and captain Morgan Ward had the consolation of being named the Grammar player of the year after the match.
In doing so he became the first recipient of the Alan Mekie Trophy and was presented with the award by the family of the late Mekie, who died last year aged 55 after a distinguished career as both a player and coach at Rubislaw.
Ward said: “It’s a great honour, especially as I was coached by Alan. But it was a disappointing outcome for the club today. I thought we did enough to win.”
© Jack Nixon
Aberdeen Grammar: Alex Ratcliffe; Jamie Gilmour, Doug Russell, Conor Lavery, Grant Walker; Sam Knudson, Morgan Ward (c); Peter Gillies, Mike Cox, Matthias Schosser; Stuart Smith, Aaron Roberetson; Ali Mackie, Chris Jollands, Calum Champion.
Replacements: Stuart Davis, Colin Nielsen, Adrian Hamilton, Tom Aplin, Robin Cessford.
Dundee High: Blair Cochrane; Ronan Joy, Duncan Leese, Tim McKavanagh, Matt O’Sullivan; Harry Millar, Adam Lowry; Stevie Longwell, Darrell Russell, Alan Brown (c); James Mulligan, Ian Robertson; George Arnott, Hamish Livingstone, Donald Sangster.
Replacements: Scott Burnett, Gavin Robertson, Josh Rutnagur. Jonny Petty.