1st XV Match Reports

Aberdeen Rugby 19 Musselburgh 25

Rubislaw was a sad, despondent place after Aberdeen Grammar lost their seventh league match in succession on Saturday leaving them only three points above the relegation places in the division after nine games and nine points adrift of Musselburgh.

Head coach Ali O’Connor was at a loss to explain his side’s flat second-half performance, especially as Grammar had rallied from an early 10-point deficit to lead 19-10 only two minutes into the second half.

“At that point we looked set to take control of the game but, inexplicably, fell off the pace, going totally flat to lose a game which was ours for the taking,” said O’Connor.

“There’s no point in talking about the positives, we’ve been doing that all season. It is hugely disappointing. There is now only one game before the three-week autumn break. A win away to GHA on Saturday would help.”

Grammar started brightly, taking the early play to Musselburgh, but were unable to take the many opportunities on offer, including two simple kicks at goal, both missed by Sam Knudson, who otherwise had a fine game.

Despite being under the cosh, the Stoneyhill side had taken the lead in two minutes when, not for the first time in the game, Grammar had fallen foul of whistle-happy referee George Pounder, who awarded a penalty.

Twenty minutes later it was 10-0after flanker Declan Slaven plunged over, giving Danny Owenson his second successful kick of the afternoon,

Grammar’s players eventually found their form and not surprisingly in was winger Grant Walker who found the space to score.

Knudson licked the conversion and, lifted by the score, Grammar kept up the pressure and in 39 minutes were rewarded when centre Kyle McFarlane nipped over in the corner for a try Knudson failed to convert.

When captain Calum Champion rampaged over two minutes after the break for a try converted by Knudson, the home supporters could have been forgiven for expecting the 19-10 lead to increase.

It was not to be as Grammar fell out of the game, enabling Musselburgh to take command which they did through tries from lock Mike Roy and number eight Luke Hutson, a further conversion and a penalty from Michael Fleming to make it 25-19, leaving Grammar with the consolation of a losing bonus point.

Chairman Gordon Thompson announced that Peceli Nacamavuto is likely to return to the club after the autumn break. Thomson said: “His presence could be the inspiration we need.”

© Jack Nixon

Aberdeen Rugby: Doug Russell; Grant Walker, Alex Ratcliffe, Kyle McFarlane, Calum Ruxton; Sam Knudson, Jake Gray; Chris Prentice, Fergus McKenzie, Colin Neilson; Aaron Robertson, Robin Cessford; Christian Brew, Chris Jollands, Calum Champion (c).

Replacements: Rob Ellinson, Alex McLeod, Matt McCall, Tom Aplin, Matt Arnold.

Musselburgh: Lewis Clark; Rory Watt, Andrew Cook, Tomas Rodrigo, Sandy Watt; Jack Burey, Danny Owenson; Dave Paton, Ross Gregor, Neil McNairn; Paddy Brown, Mike Roy; Graham Bowman, Declan Slaven, Luke Hutson.

Replacements: Jamie Walker, Conor Slaven, Michael Fleming, Danny Ritchie, Iain Martin.