1. Falkirk 12 Aberdeen Grammar 44

    Aberdeen Grammar snapped a three-game losing streak with a comfortable victory at Championship A side Falkirk in the Caledonia Cup.

    The hosts scored the first try of the match at Cala Park but the Rubislaw side’s quality told in the end as Grammar ran in eight tries to secure the victory.

    Full-back Stevie Aitken scored four tries while Tom Preece (2), Erlend Oag and Jamie Lauder also touched down as two conversions from Sam Knudson gave the Premiership side a winning start to the cup campaign.

    Grammar coach Kevin Wyness was satisfied with his side’s display. He said: “We were very poor in the first half and it was a typical cup tie performance where we possibly thought we were better than the opposition.

    “They scored first and went 7-0 up and that was a wake-up call for us. Although our line-out was a bit scrappy, we dominated the scrum and looked dangerous. In the second half we stuck to our game-plan better. To score that number of tries in difficult conditions was very pleasing and for Stevie Aitken to score four tries from full-back was a magnificent effort. Falkirk scored the first and last tries and they deserved their scores.

    “We haven’t had the best of luck recently so it was pleasing to get a victory.”

    Wyness was particularly happy with the impact Lauder made in his comeback match for Grammar. He said: “Jamie was exceptional. He didn’t play for us last year and has been playing for Aberdeen University. I have worked pretty hard to convince him to come back as in my opinion he is the best scrum half in the area.

    “He is one of those guys that it wouldn’t matter if he was playing against Falkirk or South Africa, he gives his all and looks comfortable.”

    The Rubislaw men have been on the wrong end of some debatable refereeing calls in recent weeks but Wyness was content with how rookie whistler Mike Adamson controlled the game. He added: “Mike gave up playing for Glasgow Hawks and has been fast-tracked.

    “He ran the game well. People like Mike who have an affinity for the game are few and far between and he refereed the match with common sense.”

    Next up for Grammar is a home match in the Caledonia Cup against Dundee High Rugby on Saturday.

    Aberdeen Grammar: Steve Aitken; Erlend Oag, Harry Duthie, Peceli Nacamavuto, Calum Gordon: Sam Knudson, Luke Earle-Wright; Matt Schosser, Sam Bingham, Struan Cessford; Andy Cramond, Jamie Metcalfe; Greig Ryan, Tony McGinness, Tom Preece.

    Replacements: Rob Coates, Matt Dixon, Stuart Smith, Mark Ryan, Jamie Lauder.

  2. Edinburgh Accies 42 Aberdeen Grammar 26

    Edinburgh Accies 42 Aberdeen Grammar 26

    Aberdeen Grammar looked a sorry outfit at the end of a game they will want to forget played in difficult conditions, but made more demanding by their own frailties on a day when they leaked five tries – two of which were gifted early in the game.

    Head coach Kevin Wyness conceded his side had made a poor start. He said: “We shot ourselves in the foot, giving away two soft tries. But as far as I could see there was only one side being refereed out there. I just don’t know what we are to do to please referees. I thought we made a big step forward last week, but it’s one back this week. There again last week we had a game the officials wanted to flow. It’s not easy.”

    Grammar had taken the lead with little more than a minute played when stand off Mark Ryan kicked a straight forward penalty. But that was as good as it got in the first quarter, as a series of missed tackles and miskicks led to tries for wingers Jamie Farndale and Edinburgh pro Lee Jones.

    Both efforts were converted by home stand off Alex Blair who quickly added two penalties to give Grammar a mountain to climb after 20 minutes with Accies 20-3 up.

    Ryan, in particular, looked decidedly vulnerable in the difficult conditions, though in fairness the former Ellon layer recovered his composure sufficiently to set up winger Erlend Oag for a try right on the stroke of half-time before converting from the touchline.

    Blair and Ryan exchanged penalties just after the break to make it 23-13 before Farndale ran in his second try, converted by Blair – the most influential player on the pitch.

    Duncan Morrison grabbed the vital try bonus point with a fourth try for the home side duly converted by Blair. Ryan gave Grammar a glimmer of hope with two more penalties to take his tally to 14 points.

    A late fifth converted try from Shaun Strudwick sealed the Aberdeen side’s fate, but it was Grammar who had the last word when Tony McGinness scored a consolation try which in the absence of Ryan was kicked by replacement Sam Knudson.

    Overall a patchy performance in which Grammar lacked the necessary guile to seriously trouble the Edinburgh side which was particularly well served by their half back pairing of Blair and Mike Campbell

    More worryingly the Aberdeen side lacked leaders up front. Although there were fine individual efforts from number eight Tom Preece and Andy Cramond, who was a tower of strength in the second row, while Oag was a constant threat on wing.

    Grammar now take a week out of league action and will meet Kirkcaldy in the RBS Caledonia Cup at Rubislaw on Saturday, giving them an opportunity to get their house in order for their three Premiership games before the Christmas break.

    © Jack Nixon

    Edinburgh Accies: Nyle Godsmark; Lee Jones, Ewen Campbell, Iain Berthinussen, Jamie Farndale; Alex Blair, Mike Campbell; Alex Allan, Michael Liness, Phil Cringle, Jamie McCarthy, Alex Toolis, Greg Campbell (captain), Hamish Watson, Callum Reid.

    Replacements: Duncan Morrison, Shaun Strudwick, Scott Riddell, Ruairidh Bonner, Chris Dean.

    Aberdeen Grammar: Stevie Aitken; Erlend Oag, Will Wardlaw, Harry Duthie (captain) Peceli Nacamavuto; Mark Ryan, Morgan Ward; Matt Dixon, Sean O’Connor, Struan Cessford, Andy Cramond, Jamie Metcalfe, Sam Bingham, Tony McGinness, Tom Preece.

    Replacements: Matt Schosser, Sandy Warnock, Rob Cessford, Calum Gordon, Sam Knudson.

    Referee: Charles Samson


  3. Aberdeen Grammar 20 Glasgow Hawks 23

    Aberdeen Grammar 20 Glasgow Hawks 23

    Aberdeen Grammar had to rely on a last-minute try to gain the consolation of a losing bonus point which, coupled with another for scoring four tries, all of which were unconverted, moved them out of the relegation zone at the expense of Stirling County.

    Glasgow Hawks were, however, worthy winners leaving Grammar to play catch-up rugby for long spells.

    But had the Aberdeen side’s kicking game been up to scratch, Grammar would have won.

    However, Grammar coach Kevin Wyness was reasonably pleased with some aspects of his side’s play.

    Wyness said: “The difference between the two sides was Glasgow’s Scott Wight, who kicked four of his five attempts at goal.

    “He also dictated the play from stand off with some astute out-of-hand kicking. We failed in this crucial area, missing all six of our efforts including four conversion attempts. At this level in the game, it is vital to have a place-kicker who can do the job.”

    Wyness praised the contribution of Grammar’s Peceli Nacamavuto, who was in an unfamiliar position on the wing.

    He said: “Naka was asked to move from the centre and go hunting for the ball. He did this superbly, setting up the best try of the game for Harry Duthie in the first half.”

    Ironically it was Wight, who last season was farmed out to Grammar on a number of occasions from Glasgow Warriors, who got the Hawks going in three minutes with the first of his two successful penalty kicks.

    Grammar hit back in 10 minutes when prop Gordie Reid rumbled over to give his side the lead.

    Grammar stand off Graeme Clow missed the first of his six kicks at goal and was then shown how it should be done by Glasgow centre Jack Steele who knocked over a monster penalty from the halfway line to reclaim the lead in 18 minutes.

    Hawks pressed home their advantage three minutes later when Hooker Jack McFarlane breached the Grammar line. Wight added the conversion with consummate ease to make it 13-5.

    Grammar’s Duthie had the last word of the half, crashing over after a scintillating break from Nacamavuto to make it 13-10, which brought the Rubislaw crowd to its feet.

    Any hope Grammar had of building on the captain’s try disappeared when full back Angus Rennie failed to clear his lines, enabling Hawks winger Haddon McPherson to score a try. Wight rubbed salt in the gaping home wounds with a touchline conversion to make it 20-10.

    Wight added his second penalty of the day four minutes later to give Grammar a mountain to climb at 23-10 down.

    But Grammar rose to the challenge, resulting in their excellent number eight Tom Preece going over, followed by Erlend Oag’s late touchdown..

    It was too little, too late on a day when Grammar ended the first half of the season still too close to the relegation zone.

    © Jack Nixon

    Aberdeen Grammar Rugby: Angus Rennie; Erland Oag, Will Wardlaw, Harry Duthie (captain), Peceli Nacamavuto; Graeme Clow, Morgan Ward; Gordon Reid, Sean O’Connor, Matt Schosser; Andy Cramond, Jamie Metcalfe; Fraser Brown, Tony McGinness, Tom Preece.

    Replacements: Mike Cox, Sandy Warnock, Rob Cessford, Sam Knudson, Sam Ryan.

    Glasgow Hawks: James Gormley; Ally Maclay, Robert Beattie, Jack Steele, Haddon McPherson; Scott Wight, Sean Yacoubian; Steven Findlay, Jack Macfarlane, Brendan Cullinane; Andrew Linton, Angus Hamilton; Andrew Kirkland, Stephen Leckey, Ross Miller (captain).

    Replacements: Callum Kerr, Craig Bachurzewski, Mat Bartoszek, Dan Smart, Andy White.

    Referee: Kevin White


  4. Heriot’s 21 Aberdeen Grammar 18

    5 October 2013

    Heriot’s 21 Aberdeen Grammar 18

    Aberdeen Grammar were taught a lesson at Goldenacre, one they would do well to heed for the rest of the season, which is to accept the referee is right, even when the majority thinks he is wrong.

    Referee Neil Paterson, normally a sound judge, struggled in this game, dishing out a red card, three yellow cards and awarding a penalty try against Grammar.

    The whistler also failed to pick up two blatant knock-ons prior to the two open-play tries scored by the Edinburgh side.

    He also produced three yellow cards for the home side, and gave Heriot’s a penalty try. Once again, however, Grammar should have had the game in the bag by half-time. They spurned chances on a regular basis before the mayhem of cards ended with Aberdeen prop Struan Cessford being sent off for allegedly kicking the ball out of Heriot’s scrum half Oliver Brown’s hands.

    Grammar coach Kevin Wyness refused to criticise his side and said: “We really should have won this game, having once again dominated up front. Giving away a try right on the stroke of half-time did not help.

    “Significantly we played better when we were reduced to 14 men, but this is definitely one that got away.

    “We were all over them for long periods.”

    Grammar made a good start, easing ahead through two well-struck penalties from stand off |Graeme Clow, who looked in good nick after a spell on the sidelines.

    The back row trio of Tony McGinness, Tom Preece and Robin Cessford were particularly impressive, but over-elaboration in the back division prevented Aberdeen from pushing further ahead.

    Instead it was Heriot’s who scored the first try of the day when winger Max Nimmo grabbed a touchdown, converted by stand off Graham Wilson.

    Two yellow cards for the home side led to the rampant pack being awarded a penalty try and a lead of 13-7, only for Heriot’s to take advantage of poor Grammar tackling and score through centre Max Learmonth.

    Wilson’s conversion gave the home side a lead of 14-13 it scarcely deserved.

    The second half was something of an anti-climax with both sides intent on keeping out of the way of the referee, although Aberdeen lock Jamie Metcalfe ended up in his book before Cessford, a former Heriot’s player, was sent off for his fresh-air kick, which ended with a converted penalty try for the home side.

    Grammar had the last word, enjoying their best spell which resulted in Angus Rennie scampering in for an unconverted try.

    Heriot’s: Keith Buchan; Max Nimmo, Max Learmonth, Cameron Ferguson, Harry Boisseau; Graham Wilson, OJ Brown; Craig Owenson, Stuart Mustard, Mike McDonald, Russell Nimmo, Murray Douglas, Jack Turley (captain), Alex Henderson, Jason Hill
    Replacements: Nathan Borel, Robbie Tait, Chris Mulligan, Kevin Mackenzie, David McMaster.

    Aberdeen Grammar: Steve Aitken; Will Wardlaw, Peceli Nacamavuto, Harry Duthie (captain), Angus Rennie; Graeme Clow, Morgan Ward; Gordon Reid, Sean O’Connor, Struan Cessford, Matt McCall, Jamie Metcalfe, Rob Cessford, Tony McGinness, Tom Preece.
    Replacements: Sam Bingham, Matt Schosser, Callum Murray, Mark Ryan, Luke Earle-Wright.

    Referee: Neil Paterson.


  5. Aberdeen Grammar 22 Currie 23

    28 September 2013

    Aberdeen Grammar 22 Currie 23

    Aberdeen Grammar’s prospects of surviving in the top flight of the Scottish club game looked to be slim after an appallingly poor second-half performance by the home side handed Currie a first league win and a lifeline at the bottom of the Premiership.

    While Currie coach Ally Donaldson was able to hail his side’s qualities, opposite number Kevin Wyness admitted to being embarrassed by the performance after watching his lacklustre charges fade out of the game.

    Yet Aberdeen had put in a sound three-try opening half-hour based on solid scrimmaging and back-row play boosted by the effervescent Tony McGinness and the ball-carrying skills of Tom Preece.

    An angry Wyness tried to fathom what had gone wrong with a side which had looked full of promise, only to disappear as an attacking force, enabling a determined, gutsy Edinburgh outfit to not only come into the game but to go on and win it.

    “I have never been so angry with a group of players,” said Wyness

    “We had steamrollered them up front and were set to pick up a fourth try when it all went wrong.

    “Our front row had been dominant, while McGinness and Preece were running the show from the back. Our decision-making then let us down, and what followed was embarrassing.

    “Players and coaches must take collective responsibility before we take on Heriot’s. It’s not going to be an easy week in training.”

    A lone Mark Ryan penalty accounted for all of Grammar’s second half scoring.

    Yet Aberdeen seemed to have scored a match-clinching try in 70 minutes when replacement scrum-half Luke Earle-Wright Went over in the corner under a pile of Currie players.

    Referee James Matthew’s decision not to award a try was difficult to understand, though it would have been hard on the enterprising Edinburgh side which ended the match in control.

    The early forays had given no indication of the final outcome as Grammar surged into the lead after the temporary setback of conceding a fourth-minute penalty, kicked by Currie stand off George Horne.

    Grammar scored tries through winger Angus Rennie, centre Harry Duthie and flanker Rob Cessford, two of which were converted by Ryan.

    Currie had, however, showed their intent with a try of their own when centre Joe Reynolds cut through a non-existent home defence for a converted try.

    Currie took over in the second half, boosted by an early converted try by flanker Mark Cairns, setting the stage for teenager George Horne to cap a fine day with two late match-winning penalties, to the disbelief of a shocked Rubislaw crowd.

    © 2013 Jack Nixon

    Aberdeen Grammar: Will Wardlaw; Angus Rennie, Harry Duthie (captain), Peceli Nacamavatu, Erland Oag; Mark Ryan, Morgan Ward; Matt Schosser, Sean O’Connor, Struan Cessford, Callum Harvey, Jamie Metcalfe, Rob Cessford, Tony McGuiness, Tom Preece.

    Replacements: Sam Bingham, Matt Dixon, Cameron Turner, Steve Aitken, Luke Earle-Wright.

    Currie: Ruaridh Smith; Harvey Elms, Ethan Pollock, Jack Broadley, Calum Kerr; George Horne, Joe Stachan; John Cox, Joe Roe, Alastair Hamilton, Gary Temple, Elliot Mitchell, Chris Dumont, Mark Cairns (captain), Ross Weston.

    Replacements: Reece Patterson, Graeme Carson, Michael Clements, Ian Vance, Joe Reynolds.


  6. Aberdeen Grammar 19 Ayr 25

    21 September 2013

    Aberdeen Grammar 19 Ayr 25

    Aberdeen Grammar squandered a great opportunity to topple Premiership champions Ayr as they let slip a 16-5 lead.

    Coach Kevin Wyness was frustrated by his side’s inability to control the game in the second half.

    He said: ”It was a hugely disappointing outcome for us after dictating the play for most of the first half.

    “Losing a soft try on the stroke of half time was a turning point. Had we gone in 16-5 up,it would have been different.

    “We then lost another silly try, making it a bad day for us. Although we played well enough to win and had some fine individual performances, including a great show from open side flanker Tony McGinness.”

    Wyness who had to be consoled by a losing bonus point for the display against an Ayr side relieved to have stopped a run of defeats.

    “I am pleased to have won after two defeats. This is a hard place to come and win. We’renow back in the title race,” said Ayr head coach Peter Laverie.

    Ayr had made the best of starts, scoring in four minutes when Robbie Fergusson got on the end of a slick handling move for an unconverted try.

    Grammar hit back in eight minutes when stand-off Mark Ryan kicked the first of his three first-half penalties, confirming his value to the Rubislaw side.

    Thanks to the effective work of the home pack, admirably led by number eight Tom Preece, Grammar were able to score the try their play merited when openside flanker McGinness nipped over to give his side the lead. Ryan converted.

    The former Ellon player then kicked two vital penalties just before the break.

    However, Grammar’s slackness gave away a try on the stroke of half-time, scored by Andrew Dunlop and converted by winger Kerr Gossman to make it 16-12.

    Ayr built on the unexpected reprieve, upping the play in the second half. However, it was Ryan who pushed Grammar further ahead with a penalty.

    The Milbrae side then enjoyed the bounce of the ball in 62 minutes. Three of their pack looked to be offside, but the incident was not spotted by referee Lloyd Linton, enabling Murray McConnell to score the easiest of tries. The score was converted by Ross Curle which levelled the match at 19-19.

    Ayr finished the stronger, pressurising the harassed home defence into conceding two late penalties which were kicked by Curle for a victory they just about merited for an improved second-half showing.

    Scotland international Moray Low was impressive on his return to the Grammar ranks from Glasgow and said: “I enjoyed being back and thought we were a bit unlucky not to win.”

    Aberdeen Grammar: Angus Rennie; Calum Gordon, Will Wardlaw, Harry Duthie, Erland Oag; Mark Ryan, Luke Earle-Wright; Moray Low, Sean O’Connor, Struan Cessford, Ed Nimmons, Jamie Metcalfe, Greig Ryan (captain), Tony McGuiness and Tom Preece. Replacements: Fraser Brown, Matt Schosser, Callum Harvey, Sam Ryan and Morgan Ward.

    Ayr: Grant Anderson; Craig Gossman, Robbie Fergusson, Dean Kelbrick, Kerr Gossman; Finn Russell, Peter Jericevich; Denford Mutamangira, Fergus Scott, Nick Cox, Scott Sutherland, Callum Templeton, Graham Fisken, Andrew Dunlop and Calum Forrester (captain). Replacements: Stuart Fenwick, George Hunter, Peter McCallum, Murray McConnell and Ross Curle.

    Referee: Lloyd Linton

    © Jack Nixon

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