Match Reports

  1. Aberdeen Rugby 52 Falkirk 20

    Aberdeen Grammar brought down the curtain on their National League Division 1 campaign with an eight-try win against bottom side Falkirk at Rubislaw on Saturday, giving a great send-off to three long-serving players.

    For most of the bigger than normal Rubislaw crowd it was an opportunity to say farewell to the trio of favourites calling time on their careers at the Granite City club.

    Centre and captain Alex Ratcliffe signed off with a stunning try and prop Colin Neilson side-stepped his way into the sunset. But the cheer of the day was reserved for winger Grant Walker who, after 14 years, was playing his last game.

    Forwards coach Iain Stanger paid tribute to the three stalwarts.

    He said: “They will all be missed, especially Grant Walker who has been a great example to other players.

    “His game management and direct running have been a feature at the club for 14 years. I coached him at primary school and had the pleasure of playing alongside him in the Premiership.”

    Stanger added: “Alex Ratcliffe has been a good captain and an elusive runner, while Colin Neilson has been a very good prop and club man,”

    Walker was suitably modest about his contribution.

    He said: “It has been a great privilege to play for Grammar and just great to sign off with a try.

    “It was also good to have my mother and father here today, along with my wife Faye and daughter Anna. I will, however, still be around and have agreed to serve on the committee.”

    Given all the emotion of the occasion, the end-of-season game was almost incidental.

    But it gave Grammar the opportunity to clock up a second double of the season, an eleventh win out of 22 starts, and seventh place in the league. Falkirk have lost 21 of their 22 games.

    Grammar winger Calum Ruxton got the show on the road with a well-taken try in four minutes which stand off Bryn Perrott was unable to convert, only for Falkirk’s Glen Faulds to tie up the scores in 11 minutes with an unconverted try.

    Ratcliffe then dashed through the visiting defence for a try converted by Perrott, who also kicked a penalty.

    Grammar grabbed two more touchdowns, to claim a try bonus point and lead 27-5 at half-time. Centre Murray Mitchell and hooker Matthias Schosser were the scorers.

    The Rubislaw side continued to dominate the game in the second period, adding four more tries and another penalty. The home scorers were full back Sam Knudson, scum half Jake Gray, number eight Greig Ryan and finally the Walker moment to make the home total 52 for the afternoon, Perrott added one second-half conversion. Falkirk refused to roll over, adding three more unconverted tries, attributed to centre Connor Faulds, lock Grant Harman and flanker Marko Mladenovic.

    But the day belonged to Grammar and, more specifically, to Messrs Neilson, Ratcliffe and Walker.

    © Jack Nixon

    Aberdeen Rugby: Sam Knudson; Calum Ruxton, Alex Ratcliffe, Murray Mitchell, Grant Walker: Bryn Perrott, Jake Gray; Calum Reddish, Matthias Schosser, Ross Anderson; Drew Whitehead, Aaron Robertson; Will Alton, Alec Dravitski, Greig Ryan.

    Replacements: Colin Neilson, Ewan Stewart, Doug Russell, Scott Renfrew.

    Falkirk: Cameron McKenna; Calum Rennie, Connor Faulds, Andrew McNab, Alan Connolly; Glen Faulds, Fionnlagh Call; John McKenna, Andrew Gillespie, Lewis Skinner; Grant Harman, Stewart McCulloch; Rowen Crawford, Marko Mladenovic, Ryan Hosie.

    Replacements: Keith Slade, Sean McGlynn, Ross Denny, Thomas Fleming,

     

  2. Dundee High 36 Aberdeen Rugby 19

    Aberdeen Grammar’s away day was ruined by a former Rubislaw favourite scoring a hat-trick of tries for Dundee High.

    Ali Mackie had his own version of Super 6 day, even having the temerity to complete his late try with a neat little drop conversion, taking the industrious number six’s total of touchdowns to a remarkable 21 so far this season.

    It sent Grammar home without even a losing bonus point and, with only one game left in their National League 1 programme, they can finish only six at best.

    Mackie was naturally delighted with not only his personal performance but his side’s six try win at the expense of his old team-mates.

    He said: “This fixture always brings out the best in me. It was a most enjoyable game, full of good rugby. Grammar played their part, scoring three very good tries but we have the bragging rights in this old derby match, not to mention the Dallas Allardice Trophy, but right now I am too shattered to do anything.”

    Grammar head coach, Ali O’Connor was Philosophical about the result. He said: “We will need to be more convincing in our final match against Falkirk, but there were some good performances out there from our guys, including our front row in which our two youngsters Liam Buchan and Ross Anderson, in the company of the experienced Colin Neilson, never gave an inch, while in the back row Robin Cessford was a standout.”

    But it was in the back division Grammar were found wanting, despite wingers Calum Ruxton and Grant Walker scoring fine tries.

    But they failed to match the free-flowing enterprise of the home backs, who were ably led by stand off Harvey Young, even if his out of hand kicking left a lot to be desired.

    Dundee took the lead in 11 minutes when winger Danny McGinn ran in for a try converted by Young, but Grammar hit back in 16 minutes when Ruxton outstripped the home defence. Grammar stand off Bryn Perrott kicked the difficult conversion before Dundee’s excellent No 8 Lewis MacNamara rumbled over in 19 minutes for an unconverted try.

    Mackie then got in on the action with his first try in 32 minutes to make it 17-7 but the Aberdeen side rallied and Walker went over in the corner after a bout of good passing right on the stroke of half time.

    Once again Perrott demonstrated his worth with a splendid kick to make it 17-14 at the break.

    The second half belonged to the home side with Mackie finding himself in the right place to thunder over the Grammar line in 64 minutes.

    Dundee centre and captain Duncan Leese got himself on the end of a cross kick from Young, who also added the conversion.

    An intercepted try from Perrott which he failed to convert was all the Rubislaw men had to show for their efforts and it was no real surprise when Mackie had the last word with a thundering run followed by his audacious conversion.

    © Jack Nixon

  3. Aberdeen Rugby 48 Cartha Queens Park 10

    Aberdeen Grammar surged back to winning ways at Rubislaw with an eight-try rout of Cartha Queens Park, giving their team manager John Stewart the perfect send-off on his last day in charge of the BT National League 1 side.

    The delighted Stewart, who is leaving the area to take up a new post in Bristol, said: “This was a great way for me to sign off after three years in the post of team manager.

    “There were key performances from back rower Robin Cessford and the ever-improving Bryn Perrott at stand off, while winger Grant Walker just gets better with age.

    “I just hope this generally young team goes on to build on this good campaign next season.

    “It has been a great privilege and pleasure to work with these guys.”

    Grammar took their time getting into their stride against a limited Glasgow side but when they made the breakthrough after 19 minutes it was a try worth waiting for.

    Cessford showed a great turn of pace to run in from 50 yards after a fine passing move sparked by scrum half Jake Gray. Perrott kicked the difficult conversion to set the tone for the afternoon but, just as the noisy home crowd were settling back and hoping to enjoy a one-sided contest, Grammar slipped a sloppy unconverted try to Cartha prop Juaniel Bryan.

    Thereafter it was all Grammar who added three more tries before the break, attributed to Perrott, Gray and Walker, two of which were converted by Perrott, giving the home side a 26-5 lead at half-time.

    To no-one’s surprise Grammar continued to dominate in the second half, running in four more tries, but aided by some poor tackling from the visitors.

    Walker sparked off the second half procession to the Cartha line, while fellow winger Calum Ruxton got in on the act with a brace of his own.

    The excellent home centre Nathan Clough also chipped in with a driving run to the line. Perrott added one conversion to give him a personal tally of 13 points for the afternoon.

    Cartha had the last word when, on the stroke of the final whistle, flanker Milan Marinkovic nipped through a hesitant home defence for a late unconverted try.

    But the day belonged to Grammar who can now look forward to a derby at Mayfield against Dundee High on Saturday with a chance to leapfrog their rivals in the league.

    Walker, who will be calling time on a long and distinguished career on the wing for the Rubislaw side after the last game of the season at home to Falkirk on April 7, said: “We have been threatening to turn someone over. This was a good allround performance.”

    © Jack Nixon

    Aberdeen Grammar: Craig Shepherd; Calum Ruxton, Nathan Clough, Greig Ryan, Grant Walker; Bryn Perrott, Jake Gray; Calum Reddish, Matthias Schosser, Ross Anderson; Aaron Robertson, Drew Whitehead; Robin Cessford, Dom Wallen, Alec Dravitski.

    Replacements: Colin Neilson, Tighearnan McLoughlin, Ewan Stewart, Scott Renfrew, Tommy Morrison.

    Cartha Queens Park: Jonny Campion; JC Gallissaires, Ewen Campbell, Liam Howieson, Alex Boyle; Andy Scott, Andrew J McDougall; Juaniel Bryan, Fraser Paul, Shabaz Kahn; Graham Williamson, Dave Evans; Milan Marinkovic, Tony Hondleschwiz, Peter Hollier.

    Replacements: David Irvine, Marcus Goodwin, Callum Spriddle, Istoc Totic, Ross Gillies.

     

  4. GHA 45 Aberdeen Rugby 12

    Aberdeen Grammar’s understrength side failed to handle a lively, energetic GHA in Glasgow in a 45-12 defeat.

    The Rubislaw men conceded five first-half tries before they managed two of their own in a much better second-half display by which time it was too late to save the game.

    Head coach Ali O’Connor acknowledged his side had endured a hard time in the opening stages of the game.

    He said: “ It was not the best of days for running rugby, though GHA coped much better with the cold conditions. They are a good team and well worthy of their third place in National League 1.

    “We managed a much better second half, matching their two tries, but by which time it was too late.”

    The Glasgow players were quickly into their stride, enjoying total supremacy up front where lock Michael Scott and flanker Jamie Sutherland were particularly effective, capping their fine day with a brace of tries each to sink the misfiring visitors before they got into gear.

    To add to the Aberdeen side’s misery stand off Andrew Goudie was in great kicking form, slotting four of his attempts at goal, giving the home side a match-winning half-time lead of 33-0.

    In the second half, the Rubislaw men enjoyed parity, taking the play to the now relaxed Braidholm side who still managed two more scores.

    Grammar plugged away, getting their reward from touchdowns attributed to number 8 Greig Ryan and lock Drew Whitehead, one of which was converted by stand off Bryn Perrott.

    But it was too little and far too late, as Grammar slid to their 10th defeat of the season, and now appear to have little chance of achieving the objective of a top four place with only three games left to play, starting at home on Saturday when they meet Cartha Queens Park.

    That will be followed by a trip to Dundee before bringing down the curtain at Rubislaw where they meet relegated Falkirk.

    © Jack Nixon

     

  5. Aberdeen Rugby 5 Musselburgh 22

    Aberdeen Grammar’s chances of a top-four finish almost certainly disappeared in the mud of Rubislaw where they were outplayed by relegation-haunted Musselburgh, who looked more up for the challenge than a totally out of sorts home side.

    The wet, dreich afternoon started badly for Grammar, who lost the services of lock Aaron Robertson an hour before the game started as he had a dead leg. This was followed by the news that head coach Ali O’Connor’s car had broken down and he would not make the game.

    On the pitch things were no better for the home side, as acknowledged by club chairman Mike Cox who said: “This was a shocker. There were too many unforced errors. Musselburgh were really up for it but we got sucked into their way of playing, instead of imposing our own style on them. We couldn’t even catch the ball when it mattered. Most disappointing.”

    The East Lothian men were eight points up after 25 minutes on the back of a try in 10 minutes by Connor Slaven and a penalty from the evergreen Danny Owenson, playing at stand off.

    Musselburgh led 8-0 at the break.

    A change of scrum halves looked to have brought about a change of fortune for the Aberdeen side. Jake Gray appeared much sharper than Tommy Morrison. The man he replaced. With almost his first touch of the ball Gray found full back Alex Ratcliffe who in turn released winger Doug Russell who set off on a 55-yard run to the lien to make it 8-5. Stand off Bryn Perrott was wide with the conversion, but Grammar were back in the game with half-an-hour to play.

    But the visitors were quick to respond, taking control with tried from Bob Stott and flanker Michael Fleming, both converted by the excellent Owenson.

    Grammar disappeared as an attacking force, arguably producing their worst performance of the season.

    Too many senior players had off-days.

    © Jack Nixon

    Aberdeen Rugby: Alex Ratcliffe; Doug Russell, Nathan Clough, Murray Mitchell, Craig Shepherd; Bryn Perrott, Tommy Morrison; Ross Anderson, Liam Buchan, Colin Neilson; Ewan Stewart, Ethan Murray; Alex Dravitski, Dom Wallen, Greig Ryan.

    Replacements: Yasseen Ahmanache, Drew Whitehead, Scott Renfrew, Jake Gray, Calum Ruxton.

    Musselburgh: Ruairidh Young, Cameron McMillan, Andrew Cook, Rory Watt, Sandy Watt; Danny Owenson, Donald Kennedy; Connor Slaven, Ross Gregor, Colin Arthur; Euan Milton, Cameron Pryde; Brad Graham, Michael Fleming, Luke Hutson. Replacements: Bob Stott, Jonathan Crain, Thomas Hamilton, Rory Smith.

     

  6. Jed-Forest 40 Aberdeen Rugby 26

    Aberdeen Grammar’s hopes of recording a third successive win were quickly blown away at Riverside Park where a well-drilled Jed-Forest racked up 33 points in the first half.

    Grammar had little answer in the first period but rallied well later in the game. Their first-half scoring amounted to a try attributed ti winger Grant Walker converted by stand off Bryn Perrott.

    Grammar head coach Ali O’Connor said: “Our new look, understrength side took time to settle in but when the players did they gave Jed a run for their money.

    “Outscoring them by three tries to one later in the game was quite a feat, especially given their second position in the league.

    “Some of our replacements were quite outstanding, including winger Bailey Walsh and scrum half James Palmer.

    “Full back Craig Shepherd was our man of the match. Prop Colin Neilson was also in the thick of things, sparking off our fightback with a driving try, while veteran winger Grant Walker just gets better with age.”

    The Rubislaw head coach added: “The second-half comeback against a very good Borders side convinces me we are in a good place and can now realistically plan for the future while pushing for a top-four place.”

    After shipping five first half touchdowns, four of which were converted by Jed-Forest stand off Robbie Yourston, Grammar knuckled down.

    They took the game to the home side, inspired by the excellent Neilson and the probing runs of centre Nat Clough.

    It led to a Neilson try and one each for Walsh and winger Matt Arnold, two of which were converted by stand off Perrott.

    The last-gasp effort from Arnold will also be his last fir Grammar as he is moving to Edinburgh and O’Connor says he will be sorely missed.

    He said: “He has turned out to be a really first-class winger. We wish him well in  all he does.”

    In the midst of the Grammar second-half domination, Jed managed a converted touchdown of their own, Making the final score a flattering one for the Borderers.

    Grammar’s next game will be on March 3 at home at Rubislaw where they entertain Musselburgh, giving the Aberdeen players a well-earned rest before they make their big push for a top-four place in National 1.

    © Jack Nixon

    Jed-Forest: Lewis Young; Callum Young, Gregor Young, Monty Mitchell, Robbie Shirra Gibb; Robbie Yourston, Rory Marshall; Connor Hogg, Grant Paxton, Paulo Ferreira; Clark Skeldon, Gregor Law; Andrew Sanders, Jack Howe, Blake Roff.

    Replacements: Jamie Oliver, Jamie Hynd, Graham Robson, Elliot Stewart, Sean Goodfellow.

    Aberdeen Rugby: Craig Shepherd; Grant Walker, Nat Clough, Alex Ratcliffe, Matt Arnold; Bryn Perrott, James Palmer; Colin Neilson, Connall Howard, Rob Ellinson; Robin Cessford, Drew Whitehead; Alec Dravitski, Will Alton, Greig Ryan.

    Replacements: Liam Buchan, Ewan Stewart, Ethan Murray, Bailey Walsh.

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