1. 2XV vs Ross Sutherland

    The 2XV fixture against Ross Sutherland, originally scheduled for this Saturday (3 November), has been postponed to 16 February 2019.

  2. Hamilton 12 Aberdeen Grammar 35

    Aberdeen Grammar put behind them their run of four defeats behind them, storming to an emphatic 35 – 12 win against Hamilton, one of the National League 1 strugglers, leaving the Lanarkshire side in second from bottom, while making their own case for a top half finish, and now in seventh place.
    For Grammar head coach Ali O’Connor it was a win which brought relief, and a glimpse of the potential his side had shown earlier in the campaign. ”This was a vastly improved performance after the disappointments over the last four weeks, not only did we score five quality tries, but equally encouragingly, our defending was excellent. Given that this has been a huge problem of late, it was a great relief. We can now build on this in the upcoming two games, first against bottom side Cartha Queens Park at Rubislaw, and then away to Dundee. There were a number of stand outs today, including lock Ewan Stewart who is rapidly becoming our most effective ball carrier, while it was good to have Andrew Cook back in the front row, but overall it was a sound team effort,” said O’Connor.
    Grammar got their Halloween celebrations off to an early start with four first half tries, although it was the Laigh Bent side who opened the scoring through centre Ross Jamieson who raced clear of the Rubislaw side’s cover defence for a try which was converted by stand off Andy Wilson. Stung into action, Cook took the ball at speed for Grammar from a ruck before releasing centre Tom Aplin for the first of his two tries, and when full back Bryn Perrott added the extras it was game on at 7 – 7.
    But it was the visitors who looked the more likely, and no surprise when they eased ahead through a Perrott penalty to which flanker Chris Jollands added a try after fine work by centre Sean Mills, opening up a gap of eight points, although Perrott missed the conversion.
    Encouraged by the 15 – 7 lead, Grammar turned the screw, scoring two more tries in the 10 minutes before half – time, attributed to Aplin who scored his second after intercepting a home pass, followed by one from Mills who cashed in on stand off Sam Knudson’s charge down of a Hamilton clearance. Neither touchdowns were converted, but at 25 – 7 the game was as good as over by half – time.
    Grammar added a penalty, kicked by Perrott and a try in the second half, scored by Knudson who neatly stepped inside his man to give Perrott an easy kick at goal.
    But it was Hamilton who had the last word when stand off Wilson nipped over for a try he was unable to convert, although it mattered little as Grammar had done enough to win their first game since beating Kelso 46 – 33 on September. ”It’s been a long wait, but we are hopefully back in the groove,” said Greig Ryan after another fine game in the number eight jersey.
    ©Jack Nixon
  3. 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
  4. 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

  5. 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

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