Aberdeen Rugby 42 GHA 19
Aberdeen Grammar moved into the top six of National League 1 after ruthlessly destroying third placed GHA in a second half in which the Glasgow scarcely put a foot in the Aberdeen half, while running in three sumptuous tries of their own in a totally dominating 40 minutes.
The afternoon had in fact started badly for the home side who seemed to take longer to settle on the secondary pitch at Rubislaw after the two sides agreed the main pitch was unsafe to play on after the recent frost.
GHA raced into a five-point lead in four minutes when full back John O’Brien raced through a non – existent home defence to touch down in the corner for a try scrum half George Baird was unable to convert.
Stung into action, Grammar hit back in 10 minutes when after a series of rucks, No 8 Greig Ryan took control, as he was to do for most of the afternoon, plunging over for a try that full back Bryn Perrott was able to convert.
But despite taking a 7 – 5 lead, Grammar still looked vulnerable against the slick, enterprising visiting backs who regained the lead after winger Aaran Purewal took advantage of poor home tacking to run in under the posts in 14 minutes. The conversion by Baird made it 12 – 7, only for Grammar to retaliate through the excellent Chris Jollands who sliced through the static GHA defence and with Perrott doing the business with the boot a hectic first 20 minutes came to an end with Grammar 14 – 12 to the good.
Not surprisingly the pace of the game eased going into the break, although both sides managed a try each just before half time, firstly James Sutherland, the GHA No 8 plundered the Grammar line for a converted try, only for Ryan to score his second of the afternoon, right on the stroke of half – time to give his side a 21 – 19 lead after Perrott had stroked over the conversion, but with the strong wind in their faces, there were fears that the Rubislaw side might not cope.
These fears were quickly allayed, as astonishingly GHA failed to cash in, dropping out of the game as an attacking force, while the Ryan and Jollands show got purposefully under way, although the latter had a ten minute break late in the first half when he fell foul of referee Lee Fish who had a poor afternoon, failing to make allowances for the dreadful conditions which demanded a more sympathetic response from the official.
But while the two back rowers were the mainstays of the home attack, captain and stand Sam Knudson had a fine game, as did winger Nat Coe who scored two second half tries, but it was the try of centre Tom Aplin which sent the Rubislaw faithful home happy when Ryan picked up the ball on the half way line after a stuttering move in the back division to send Aplin over to round off a fine afternoon. Perrott added the extras to all three tries, making for a 100% record with the boot.
Jollands played down his major contribution to game, but said: ”This is a good side who are growing in stature as the season progresses. We got it together after a shaky start. We can now go on and capture a high placing in the league, but first we have a break, followed by a National League Cup game at Falkirk on February 16. But it’s our final league position which matters. We’re on the way to achieving a high one after today.”
Grammar’s next National League 1 game will be at Gala on March 2, followed by games at home to Hamilton and Dundee, and a trip to Glasgow where they meet Cartha Queens Park who are all in the bottom four of the division.
© Jack Nixon