1st XV Match Reports

Aberdeen Grammar 53 Howe of Fife 22

Aberdeen Grammar ended the season in style by securing a fourth win in a row to ensure a 100% winning end to the campaign for head coach Ali O’Connor. 

O’Connor, who will continue in the role next season, was delighted to see the hard work his players have put in on the training ground pay off as they overwhelmed Howe of Fife at Rubislaw.

He said: “We played with speed against Howe of Fife and we simply had too much for them as we sped away into an early lead from which they never recovered.

“We had big runners who carried the ball for a lot of yardage and our offloading through tackles was great. We had excellent support for the ball whenever it was needed, which we have been working hard at in training, and it great to see it all come together.

“The damage was done in the first half as we were well ahead at the break and although Howe of Fife came back into the game in the second half we were well worth the win and it was a great way to end the season.”

Conor Lavery’s hat-trick was the highlight for the home side, while Ady Hamilton also scored twice. Alex Ratcliffe’s fine individual try was the pick of the touchdowns for Grammar but it was another scorer, Sam Knudson, who won man of the match at scrum half.

O’Connor is already making plans for next season.

He said: “We’ve got a few games remaining for the seconds and we” have a team at the Melrose Sevens next weekend which is always an enjoyable day.

“But in the coming weeks we’ll look at the squad for next year in terms of who will be moving on and who will be staying.

“We’ll also be looking at putting together a programme to improve our strength and conditioning for next season to ensure we are physically able to match the best teams in the division.”

Grammar president Graham Barron, who confirmed O’Connor’s appointment, said: “I’m pleased to say that Ali will be head coach next season. We spoke to him a couple of weeks ago, but out of respect for former coach Stuart Corsar we wanted to let the season finish first before making firm plans for next year.

“Ali’s impact has been clear for all to see and it has been a pleasing end to the season. We will go into the summer with confidence and hopefully we can build on this for the next campaign.”

Aberdeen Grammar: Conor Lavery; Martin McRobbie, Alex Ratcliffe, Peceli Nacamavuto, Doug Russell; Alex Hagart, Sam Knudson; Colin Neilson, Stuart Davis, Matthias Schosser; Calum Champion, Robin Cessford; Christian Brew, Tony McGinness, Adrian Hamilton.

Replacements: Fergus McKenzie, Michael Cox, Ali Mackie, Andrew Ovenstone, Calum Ruxton.

Howe of Fife: Fraser Ellinson; Ben Mitchell, Duncan McIntyre, Fraser Clark, Marcus Black; Angus Guthrie, Stewart Lathangie; Steven Player, Graeme Steedman, Ben Peddie; Ryan George Harrison, Terry Turpie; James Lawrie, Andy Steven, Rob Lind.

Replacements: Lewis Wilson, James Aitchison, Greg Frearson, David Hodge, Finn Murphy.