Aberdeen Grammar 30 Dundee High 36
Aberdeen Grammar remain precariously placed in the table after surrendering a lead late in Saturday’s game against Dundee High at Rubislaw.
Dundee demonstrated greater resilience over the 80 minutes and deserved to regain the Allardice Trophy.
There were, however, clear indications Grammar have the spirit to avoid relegation, which bodes well for the three-game run in up to the Christmas break, even if two of the fixtures are away from home., starting with GHA in Glasgow on Saturday.
“This is a game we just have to win,” said coach Stuart Corsar, who acknowledged Saturday’s contributions made by flanker Ali Mackie, centres john Poe and Peceli Macamavuto, stand off Alex Hagart and scrum half and captain Morgan Ward.
“Although this was a better performance, we still made too many mistakes. The consolation was that we got a losing bonus point which takes us above Kelso and eight points clear of bottom side Peebles.”
Ward was Grammar’s best player, repeatedly leading breakouts and encouraging his charges with an inspired performance.
The difference between the sides was Dundee winger Isoa Matacagi, who can well lay claim to being the fasted player seen at Rubislaw in recent memory.
With Grammar leading 23-22 with only eight minutes to play the Dundee winger stunned the home crowd, not to mention the home defence, to run in the second of his tries to snatch the spoils for his side.
Earlier in the half the Fijian had raced clear of the grammar cover defence to serve notice of his pace and guile.
Not for the first time Grammar made a bright start to the game, racing into a 15th-minute lead when winger Martin McRobbie score in the corner after slick handling from his fellow backs. Hagart added the conversion before going on to kick three first-half penalties.
The Dundee points came from a Gavin Hughan touchdown, while stand off Duncan Leese kicked the conversion and a penalty, but trailed 16-10 at the break.
Tries from Matacagi and flanker John Brady, one of which was converted tipped the balance in favour of the visitors, but when replacement flanker Calum Champion surged over for a Grammar try, converted by Hagart, it looked likely Grammar would record their first win of the month.
Matacagi’s late effort changed the game, as did Jonny Gibson’s late try. Both were converted by Leese and, despite an injury-time try from Nacamavuto, converted by Hagart, it was all over bar the shouting.
© Jack Nixon
Aberdeen Grammar: Sam Knudson; Martin McRobbie, Peceli Nacamavuto, John Poe, Grant Walker; Alex Hagart, Morgan Ward (c); Peter Gillies, Stuart Davis, Matthias Schosser; Hamilton Burr, Robin Cessford; Ali Mackie, Chris Jollands, Tony McGinness.
Replacements: Colin Neilson, Calum Champion, Matthew Reid, Jamie Gilmour, Ali Addy.
Dundee High: Blair Cochrane; Isoa Matacagi, Matt O’Sullivan, Callum Bowie, Ronan Joy; Duncan Leese, Andy Dymock; Anthony Kent, Darell Russell, Alan Brown (c); George Arnott, Neil Turnbull, Peter Redmayne, Hamish Livingston, Gavin Hughan.
Replacements: John Brady, Jonny Gibson, Ian Robertson, Josh Rutnagur, Cammy McCrimmon.