1st XV Match Reports

Aberdeen Grammar 19 Marr 33

Aberdeen Grammar’s quest to avoid relegation has now become desperate after they blew hot and cold against promotion-seeking Marr who eventually proved the better team in an entertaining game.

Grammar’s coaching team struggled to explain their players’ costly lapses which has bedeviled the side in recent weeks as once again the Rubislaw team leaked tries at key moments.

Backs coach Ali O’Connor was at a loss when it came to finding positives, but said: “Marr got the basics right, we operated in fits and starts, but once again we concede some sloppy tries.

“The two we lost early on in the game were typical of what has been happening this season although we were able to put into action some moves we had rehearsed in training.”

It could have been so different had Grammar held their nerve after closing to within two points of Marr while playing with the chilly wind in the second half.

But they capitulated, ending up five tries to two losers.

From only 21-19 down the score became 33-19 as winger Stuart Howie raced over the home try line twice in 64 and 79 minutes to end the game as a contest, while totally deflating the home crowd.

Two tries in the opening 15 minutes set the tone for the afternoon when first Marr centre Con

nor Bickerstaff strolled over in two minutes before his brother, winger Scott, raced past the static home defence in 14 minutes. Centre Colin Sturgeon kicked both conversions.

Alex Hagart, playing at full back instead of his normal stand off, kept Grammar in  touch with two long-range penalties, but was off the mark with another as was the case with the conversion of the lone try from number eight Adrian Hamilton when they hit back in 36 minutes to trail 14-11 at the break.

Playing with the wind in the second half Grammar failed to capitalise, instead leaking a third try on 44 minutes when scrum half Gregor Ness nipped past the defence, Sturgeon converting once again.

Grammar then enjoyed their best spell of the game but only had an unconverted touchdown from winger Grant Walker to show for their efforts.

Howie’s late scores, one of which was converted by full back Rory McGee, only serving to give the home side a lesson in finishing.

Hagart conceded his team had not squared up to their responsibilities, but said: “We can survive, and have targeted wins at Kelso and Peebles, teams that are still below us in the league.”

© Jack Nixon

Aberdeen Grammar: Alex Hagart; Grant Walker, Peceli Nacamavuto, John Poe, Martin McRobbie; Ali Addy, Morgan Ward; Colin Neilson, Stuart Davis, Matthias Schosser; Stuart Smith, Hamilton Burr; Matthew Reid, Tony McGinness, Adrian Hamilton.

Replacements: Peter Gillies, Robin Cessford, Ali Mackie, Doug Russell, Alex Ratcliffe.

Marr: Rory McGee; Scott Bickerstaff, Conor Bickerstaff, Colin Sturgeon, Stuart Howie; Craig Kolaric, Gregor Ness; William Farquhar, Ollie Rossi, Fraser Ferguson; Pieter Kilian, Kris Kirk; Zane Burn, Paul Burke, Kyle Vallance.

Replacements: Robert Kennedy, Danny Clark, Angus Johnston, Ali Walker, Andrew Gault.