Match Reports

  1. Aberdeen Rugby 37 Marr 47

    Aberdeen Grammar and Marr served up an entertaining game of rugby on the most perfect of afternoons for running rugby, but leaving the Rubislaw faithful asking just how often are their favourites are going to shed points in their quest to reach the heights in National League 1.

    On one hand the statistics look good for Grammar, having scored 246 points at an average of 41 per game, while picking up maximum try bonus points in the process. On the other they have conceded 177 points at an average of nearly 30 per game, while losing three of their six games to date, albeit narrowly

    So instead of being at the head of the division after nearly a third of fixtures played to date, this generally excellent Grammar side find themselves in sixth place going into the winter months, and some tough tests on the road to come.

    Full back and two try scorer Bryn Perrott tried to get a handle on what was going on and said: ”We were fine in the first half, and at 23 – 19 to the good, we looked set to win, but in the second half we lost the pace and started falling off tackles. But it was a great game in which to play. Marr are a very good side, but generally we matched them scoring six tries to seven, although we missed a number of kicks at goal, whereas they only missed one conversion.”

    The kicking failures can be sorted out as can the improvement of tackling technique, but there are clearly issues which need to be resolved. In the meantime, they continue to entertain, even if their defending leaves a lot to be desired.

    The game itself was a cracker, leaving even spectators breathless at the speed of which things were happening on the field, which might just have accounted for referee Fergus Hollins having a shocker, including one decision at a vital moment in the second half when with Grammar leading 30 – 26 he first awarded a try to Marr near the Grammar posts, only to change his mind, and run 40 yards to consult a touch judge, this despite the fact that the whistler had been only two yards away from the play.

    Awarding the try did not win the game for the visitors who by that time were well in the ascendency, but it was out of place in an otherwise great game of rugby.

    Marr were in fact worthy winners, having scored four converted tries in the second half to the two scored and converted by the home side. The Ayrshire side were full of guile, powerful runners and best served by stand off Conor Bickerstaff, their two try No 8 Ross Miller and kicker and full back Liam McLoughlin.

    Grammar’s stand outs were Perrott, stand off and captain Sam Knudson, props Callum Reddish and Jordan Robertson, hooker Andrew Cook, and lock Ewan Stewart.

    The try scorers for the Rubislaw side were Perrott(2), wingers Doug Russell and Sean Mills, Calum Reddish, and Cook. Perrott and centre Tom Aplin added a conversion each, while Perrott slotted an early penalty in a game to remember at a thrill and and a point a minute.

    But according to forwards coach Iain Stanger it was ”one that got away. We matched them in every department, except place kicking. It’s most frustrating.” 

    © Jack Nixon

    Aberdeen Grammar: Bryn Perrott; Douglas Russell, Murray Mitchell, Sean Mills; Sam Knudson, Tommy Morrison; Calum Reddish, Andrew Cook, Jordan Robertson; Aaron Robertson, Ewan Stewart; Alec Dravitski, Will Alton, Greig Ryan.

    Replacements: Liam Buchan, Cameron Robertson, Ethan Murray, Ciaran Wood, Calum Ruxton.

    Marr: Liam McLoughlin; Jack Scott, Richard Dalgleish, Gregor Paxton, Tom Steven; Conor Bickerstaff, Finlay hazel; William Farquhar, Oliver Rossi, Calvin Henderson; Ewan Hamilton-Bulger, Daniel Law; Ben Johnston, Mackenzie Pearce, William Miller.

    Replacements: Fraser Miller, Graeme Dick, Alexander Grant, Andrew Mill, Alistair Walker.

  2. Selkirk 28 Aberdeen Grammar 26

    Aberdeen Grammar were agonisingly denied a National League 1 double in a week in the Borders, when in the last minute of normal time, Selkirk flanker Sean Nixon crashed over in the corner to tie up the scorers at 26 points a piece.
    Worse was to come for the Rubislaw side who had beaten Kelso the previous week, as winger Frazer Anderson, coolly slotted the difficult kick from the touchline to break the hearts of the visitors who had been leading 26 – 7 going into the last 20 minutes of the game.
    For head coach Ali O’Connor it was a defeat which was hard to take as his side had been in control for most of the game with the visiting pack dominating the home forwards throughout, inspired by the coaching skills of former Grammar hooker Iain Stanger.
    O’Connor said:”It was hard to take, especially as we had though lion’s share of the game. Normally I would be happy to take seven points out of two trips to the Borders, but not today. But there were some fine individual performances to go with our team one. Ewan Stewart and Chris Jollands were superb in the pack, while captain and stand off Sam Knudson led the backs with distinction, but it was one of those days for a team that deserved better.”
    Seconds before the fatal last gasp blow, referee Craig Clark had inexplicably awarded a penalty to the Philiphaugh side against the Grammar back row, enabling the homesters to take the play to the Aberdeen line with a dire outcome for the visitors.
    Over the piece it could be argued Grammar did not take better advantage of playing with the strong wind, only turning around 12 – 7 on the back of two tries and a conversion, attributed to Knudson and flanker Alex Dravitski, one of which was converted by centre Tom Aplin. The home try was fell to lock Andrew Mackay, converted by Anderson. Grammar compensated in part with two early tries in the second from scrum half Ciaran Wood and the versatile winger Nat Coe, both of which were converted by Knudson to ease 24 – 7 ahead and apparently out of sight.
    Selkirk had other ideas, battling back through better use of the wind, touching down twice thanks to centre Ross Nixon and lock James Bett which were converted by the excellent, reliable Anderson. At 26 – 21 Grammar had one more chance to settle the game when in 78 minutes Knudson pushed a penalty wide of the posts in the difficult swirling wind. The Soutars took full advantage, clinching the game with Sean Nixon’s try and of course Anderson’s fourth perfect kick.
    For Grammar’s teenage full back Liam Rongonui, playing in his first league game for the club, it was a day to remember. ”I was excited and nervous, but really enjoyed it. Just a pity we had to lose,” he said. 
     
    © Jack Nixon
  3. Kelso 33 Aberdeen Grammar 46

    Aberdeen Grammar successfully completed leg one of their bid to land a Border double, easing past Kelso in a high scoring game at Poynder Park, giving them all the confidence in the world for stage two on Saturday when they return to meet Selkirk at Philiphaugh.
     
    Head coach Ali O’Connor was delighted with his side’s six try effort, especially as the afternoon had got off to the worst possible start when in the warm last week’s hero Sean Mills pulled a hamstring, and was unable to take any part in the rest of the proceedings. His replacement Tom Aplin took full advantage of his opportunity to start the game, going on to score two tries, and a penalty to earn himself the man of the match award.
     
    O’Connor said: ”When Sean came off before the game even started, I thought it might just be one of those days, but the guys rallied round, and in particular Tom who stepped up to the mark. At the moment we are scoring tries for fun, but we need to stop leaking points if we are to be a threat in the league, although we are in a good place, third in this very competitive set up, and looking forward to a return to Border country next week. We fell off the pace at one point late in the game, but recovered to win with something to spare.”
     
    In a frantic affair, the Rubislaw side generally had the better of the league’s strugglers who have yet to win a game in National League 1, but made a good fist of taking on the highflying visitors, matching their two first tries with two of their own. Grammar took an early led through lock Ewan Stewart, and with full back Bryn Perrott adding the conversion, it was a perfect start for the Aberdeen side considering the earlier disruptions.
     
    Kelso hit back with tries of their own, scored by Cormac Izuchukwu and Andy Tait both of which were converted by stand off Craig Dods, but it was Grammar who held sway after flanker Alex Dravitski raced over for a converted try, but it was the irrepressible Aplin who gave Grammar a 17 – 14 lead at the break with a well struck penalty.
     
    Aplin continued where he left off in the second half, adding two tries, and generally getting into the action in support of his team mates, enabling them to race into a 33 – 14 lead, only halted by a controversial yellow card for flanker Chris Jollands for handling in a ruck. During his absence the Border side closed the gap, but Grammar rallied to add to their tally, running out comfortable 46 – 33 winners.
     
    The Grammar second half scorers were Craig Shepherd, Perrott who also added three conversions, and a penalty, and of course that man Aplin.
    For the home side, Izuchukwu grabbed a second, and flanker Angus Thomson(2). Dods kicked two conversions, but the day belonged to Grammar, made all the better for the Robertson family when all the brothers Aaron, Jordan and Cameron all entered the fray in the latter stages of the game.

    © Jack Nixon

  4. Aberdeen 42 – 12 Kirkcaldy

    Aberdeen Grammar were made to work hard for their win against a stuffy Kirkcaldy side who dominated the set pieces in a stop, start affair, which eventually came to life when replacement full back Sean Mills took to the field in the second half, setting the game on fire with his energy and direct running, and some accurate place kicking.

    The former Gordonians player was in fact not supposed to have been on the pitch as earlier in the week, he had been wrongly diagnosed with a broken wrist, and set to spend time on the sidelines. ”Luckily it was not broken, and I was given the chance to play.In the event I thoroughly enjoyed the game when I came on,” said Mills.

    His coach Ali O’Connor was certainly pleased to see the skilful, hard running full back enter the fray and said:”Up to that point we had been playing second fiddle to the Kirkcaldy pack, and although we led 14 – 7 at the break, the game was still in the balance. Sean changed all that, and seemed to inspire those around him. In the end we were good, convincing seven tries to two winners, but it was good to get back to winning ways after the disappointment of last week’s defeat at Musselburgh.”

    Grammar started brightly enough, racing into a seven point lead after only two minutes when full back Bryn Perrott nipped over after a fine passing move, involving his backs and forwards before slotting the conversion himself. At this juncture in the game, the Kirkcaldy pack kicked into action, taking control the game, but unable to break down the home defence, restricting Grammar to the odd break out, one of which led to No 8 Greig Ryan cruising over after splendid work from stand and captain who up to this point in the game had been the most enterprising player in the Rubislaw side.

    Lifted by the bonus of a second try, Grammar pushed for a third, only to give away an interception try when Kirkcaldy stand off Alex Black ran 80 yards to the home line for full back Finlay Smith to convert, making it 14 – 7 at half – time and game on.

    All that was to change when Mills came on, as the pacey, energy of the replacement changed the shape of the afternoon, leading to four tries, attributed to winger Calum Ruxton(2), hooker Andrew Cook and winger Nat Coe, all of which were converted by Mills who even had the temerity to challenge the touch judges who had looked like turning down one of his post splitting efforts.

    For the stunned visitors, they had nothing to show for their endeavour, apart from a late try for winger Chris Carey, but the day belonged to Grammar, or more specifically that man Mills.

    © Jack Nixon

  5. Musselburgh 35 Aberdeen Grammar 27

    Two weeks into the new season and Aberdeen Grammar were given a stern reminder that life in National League 1 is not going to be easy, given their astonishing 10 try romp against Jed – Forest last weekend at Rubislaw, but followed by a 35 – 27 defeat at Musselburgh.

    Head coach Ali O’Connor conceded it had been a huge disappointment after the champagne rugby of last week, but said: ”We were the architects of our own downfall, having dominated for the first 20 minutes, failing to take our opportunities, gave Musselburgh the confidence to come and have a go at us. We then ended up chasing a game we really should have won. Had we shown a little more composure it would almost certainly have led to us taking control of the game. It’s hugely disappointing, although there were positives, including a five star performance from our No 8 Chris Jollands who scored three tries.”

    It was in fact, the Grammar back row of Jollands, Robin Cessford and Alex Dravitski who kept the Rubislaw side in the game, enabling them to take 15 – 12 lead into the break, thereafter they were chasing the game, shipping three tries in the second half, and generally losing the pace of the game, but still managing to score touchdowns through Jollands and centre Murray Mitchell to sit nicely with the first half efforts of Jollands(2) and Dravitiski.

    Centre Tom Aplin converted one of the five Grammar tries, giving them a try bonus point, on a day when most of the positivity of last week deserted them.

    The Stoneyhill side’s came from winger Martin Cimprich, replacement Craig Owenson, prop Robert Scott, scrum half Kyle McGhie(2). Stand off Danny Owenson kicked two penalties and two conversions on a day when Grammar were handed a lesson on chance taking and perhaps not to take anything for granted

    A home game against Kirkcaldy gives them the opportunity to make amends for a poor performance, albeit against a good Musselburgh side.

    © Jack Nixon

  6. Ardrossan 7 – 60 Aberdeen

    Ten try Aberdeen sweep away Ardrossan in the National League Cup

    Aberdeen Grammar won their first game of the 2018/19 campaign with a convincing 60-point win over National 3 side Ardrossan Academicals. 

    Grammar displayed their fierce attacking running and a rock-solid defence, holding hosts Ardrossan so a singular try at Sorbie Road, with several debutants and long-term injured staking their claims for future squad selection.

    The men from Rubislaw started strongly with debutants Carl Nolan (MOTM) and Ciaran Wood making immediate impacts with the latter being held up over the line in the second minute. The resulting scrum allowed, scrumhalf and captain, Sam Knudson to pass wide for, club captain, Doug Russell to open the scoring on the near wing.

    The next ten minutes saw Grammar score twice more with ex-Highland standoff Wood powering over for the third try of the match.

    Winger Calum Ruxton was next to step up to the plate running two-thirds of the pitch to score after two minutes of madness that saw both team spill balls and put in huge hits. 

    Aberdeen was not without fault, being pinged several times for ruck infringements and knocking the ball on at key points.

    The first half ended with Wood scoring his second try with a lovely chip through and leg drive reaching out to just dot the ball over the Ardrossan line.  

    Half Time Ardrossan Academicals 0 – 29 Aberdeen Grammar

    The second half saw Aberdeen playing into the wind and the sun.

    The first few minutes looked like the Grammar of past with the squad switching off allowing Ardrossan standoff Stuart Lewis to pick up a dropped Aberdeen pass, 5 metres out, and trot under the posts for Accies only try of the game.

    The next 20 minutes saw Aberdeen defend relentlessly as Ardrossan tried to batter their way back into the game. The men from Ayrshire were camped in the Aberdeen 22 for sustained periods of time only to be let down by little handling mistakes in critical moments.

    In the final quarter, the men in red found their second wind, running in 5 tires. Andrew Cook and Bryn Perrott both showcased their ability to read the game, both plucking a wayward Ardrossan pass out of the air in the final ten minutes from inside the Aberdeen 22 and running the length of the pitch to score.

    Full Time Ardrossan Academicals 7 – 60 Aberdeen Grammar

    Head coach Ali O’Connor, said: “The boys played well. Straight out the box, with the wind behind us, we played a good territory game forcing Accie’s errors and giving us great attacking position, which we took full advantage of.  

    “Our goal for this week was to be ruthless and I think we achieved that.

    “We gave away a soft try in the second half, trying to be over elaborate in our own territory and became passive at the breakdown in parts after being pinged repeatedly. However, we finished strong with 5 tries in the final 20 minutes and I’m pleased with the result and the lad’s performance.”

    Scorers

    Ardrossan – Try: Lewis Con: Lewis

    Grammar – Try: Aplin (2), Cook, Ruxton (2), Russell, Perrott (2), Wood (2) Con: Aplin

    Ardrossan: Fraser Gilbert, Martin Gaetano, Ruairidh Anderson, Robert Hunter, Cieran Couper, Stuart Lewis, Bruce Hunter, Ben Hamilton, Scott Campbell, Kyle McNulty, Euan Thomson, Stuart McMaster, Finlay Cairns, Jamie Thomdon, Stuart Lamont

    Replacements: Logan Maxwell, Harry Macdonald, Gordon Telfer, Anthony Finnigan

    Aberdeen: Bryn Perrott, Douglas Russell, Sean Mills, Tom Aplin, Calum Ruxton Ciaran Wood, Sam Knudson, Matthias Schosser, Andrew Cook, Calum Reddish, Aaron Robertson, Ewan Stewart, Robin Cessford, Carl Nolan, Alec Dravitski

    Replacements: Colin Neilson, Ethan Murray, Christian Brew, Andrew Ovenstone, Lam Rongonui

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