Aberdeen Grammar 31 Stewart’s Melville 14
Aberdeen Grammar kept their trophy ambitions on track with a comfortable 31-14 win in the last 16 of the National League Cup against Stewart’s Melville.
Ewan Stewart, one of the big successes at the Rubislaw club this season, sees no reason why Grammar can’t go all the way.
The 22-year-old, who arguably is one of the best second row ball carriers in National League 1, said: “This is a competition we can win and although it doesn’t carry the kudos of the final being at Murrayfield, we should be targeting it as a great opportunity for the club.”
Grammar head coach Ali O’Connor was also happy to have progressed to the last eight, where they could meet Caley rivals Highland.
He said: “I’m very pleased with our performance.
“Despite the heavy going, we were determined to play our own brand of fast attacking rugby.
“We certainly achieved this objective.
“I was particularly pleased with our defence as they stepped up to the mark when it mattered in the second half.
“In particular, I thought our forwards, Alex Dravitski and Chris Jollands, were outstanding.
“But our real focus must now be in getting a top half finish in National League 1.
“The Cup can look after itself, although it would be a nice bonus for us.”
Grammar made an impressive start to the game, effectively putting the tie out of the reach of their Edinburg visitors in the first half.
They moved into the lead after 10 minutes when, after a line-out near the Stewart;s line, captain and stand-off Sam Knudson nipped over for a try converted by full back Bryn Perrott.
Despite dictating most of the play, it took the home side another 15 minutes to add to their tally after a pick and drive from the home pack, finished off by lock Dravitski.
The conversion from Perrott was just short, but at 12-0 the Aberdonians were in command.
It was no surprise when they pushed further ahead in 32 minutes when Knudson and winger Doug Russell combined beautifully to send hooker Jasper Mowatt in for a try converted by Perrott to make the half-time score 19-0.
Grammar took advantage of their commanding lead by introducing their replacement bench but before they could properly regroup, the visitors popped up for a converted try.
Grammar had an immediate response from centre Tom Aplin, who strolled over after fine work from Knudson, to which Perrott added the extras, followed three minutes later by a fifth try from Perrott to end the game as a contest at 31-7.
The match petered out after that, but the Inverleith men had the last word with their second try of the afternoon, though it is Grammar who are in the hat for this week’s draw.
O’Connor’s focus now is getting his best team out for this weekend’s home game against Musselbugh, who are in second place and four places above Grammar.
The Rubislaw head coach added: “We owe them one after losing a game down there that we really should have won.”
© Jack Nixon