1. Aberdeen Grammar 57 GHA 47

    Aberdeen Grammar made it five wins in six starts in their first season back in the Premiership since 2013 in an eight-try win in a rollicking game of rugby.

    The visitors from Glasgow managed to score seven touchdowns.

    Ali O’Connor, the Grammar head coach, was appreciative of his side’s free-running performance. But O’Connor was less impressed by the Aberdeen team’s midfield defending.

    He said: “We played some fine attacking rugby but our defending was woeful. We’ll need to improve for our away trip to play second-paced Currie at Malleny Park or else our great start to the season will count for nothing.

    “It was a great game to watch but a nightmare for defence coaches. In fairness, GHA just kept coming back at us. I thought lock Robin Cessford was our standout. He was in the thick of everything, even tackling. His two tries were a just reward for all his effort.”

    Cessford was pleased to be on the winning side, but said: “At 36-12 at half-time the idea was to deny them a score in the second half. Instead we gave away a further 35 points.

    “It’s a win, although I should have had a hat-trick of tries.

    “The referee’s decision to chalk off my third with the last play of the game for a forward pass was a bit harsh, but I’ll settle for two, although we need to address our defending for our trip to Currie.”

    GHA took the lead in three minutes when winger Jackson Baillie took advantage of an exposed right flank to score the first of his three tries, which was unconverted, only for Will Alton to nip over after fine work from his fellow forwards.

    Centre Tom Aplin kicked the first of seven out of eight successful kicks at goal to give his side the lead they never surrendered for the rest of the game. Thereafter the score came thick and fast at the rate of one every five minutes with Grammar’s centre Murray Mitchell leading the way with a hat-trick of his own, including a great run from the halfway line, selling an outrageous dummy on the way to the line.

    Not surprisingly Grammar’s prolific try scorer, winger Nathan Brown, got in the act, adding his eighth and ninth tries of the campaign to the tally.

    Although the Braidholm side got one back before the break, at 36-12 it looked to be curtains for the visitors. But with the chaotic defending continuing, the game was kept alive. Cessford got two tries but they were cancelled out by GHA full back Grant Mollinson with a brace of his own.

    With Aplin kicking like a dream, as well as GHA stand-off Jack Anderson, it was no wonder the final tally edged past the century mark in a thrilling encounter for the spectators.

    But while it was great to watch, there will need to be a different mindset in defence if Grammar are to come away with a win in Currie on Saturday.

    In the meantime, at the top of the league, Marr kept their 100% record intact after a 38-13 win at home to Selkirk. Marr remain six points ahead of the Rubislaw side.

    © Jack Nixon

    Aberdeen Grammar: Sean Mills: Nathan Brown, Murray Mitchell. Tom Aplin; Sam Knudson, Jamie Troup; Calum Reddish, Ben Inglis, Ross Anderson; Nat Coe, Robin Cessford; Chris Jollands, Will Alton, Greig Ryan.

    Replacements: Matthias Schosser, Andre Cook, Jonny Spence, Tommy Morrison, Craig Shepherd.

    GHA: Grant Mollinson; Jordan Craig, Charlie Longeran, Jack Reilly, Jackson Baillie; Jack Anderson, George Baird; Tony Brogan, Hamish Clark, Michael Fox; Adam Barnett, Adam Kerr; Milan Marinkovic, Mike Ryan, Luke McCutcheon.

    Replacements: Luis Barron, Sean Fisher, Elliot Hardie, Andrew Gillman, Andy Scott.

  2. Musselburgh Photos

    John Williamson’s excellent photographs from the Musselburgh game can be found here.

    It may be necessary to have a Flickr account to view these.

  3. Musselburgh 32 Aberdeen Grammar 38

    Aberdeen Grammar head coach Ali O’Connor paid tribute to his forwards who dominated in the mud and rain at Musselburgh, scoring five of the six tries in the 38-32 win.

    The victory keeps the Rubislaw side in third place in the Premiership, six points behind leaders Marr.

    O’Connor said: “Not for the first time, there were some big performances form the forwards. Robin Cessford was immense.

    “We relied on our pack to get us on to the front foot and in the conditions today that was really important.

    “We put the pressure on Musselburgh, forcing them into making mistakes, earning us a try bonus point, and enabling us to go into next week’s game against GHA with optimism.”

    The Stoneyhill side opened the scoring with a try in nine minutes when winger Sandy Watt nipped over, giving scrum-half Danny Owenson the easiest of kicks.

    Grammar prop Ross Anderson drove over for a try from short range, converted by centre Tom Aplin, to level at 7-7.

    Home winger Gregor Tait outpaced the Aberdeen defence before his opposite number did the same at the other end, giving him his seventh try of the campaign.

    Both were converted, but it was Musselburgh who oved ahead with an Owenson penalty which only served to spark a burst of scoring from the visitors.

    First over was Cessford with two fine dashes to the line, a second from Anderson and a final effort from flanker Chris Jollands, two of which were converted by Aplin.

    In the midst of the Grammar scoring spree, the hosts kept in the game with touchdowns from Tait and lock McKinstry, and a penalty from Owenson.

    Grammar club captain Doug Russell underlined the contribution made by Cessford and No 8 Greig Ryan, saying: “These two were standouts on a day made for forwards.”

    © Jack Nixon

    Musselburgh: James Ferguson; Sandy Watt, Rory Smith, Rory Watt, Gregor Tait; Paul Cunningham, Danny Owenson; Robert Stoss, Paddy Portsmouth, Colin Arthur; Willliam Fleming, Graeme McKinstry; Cameron Pryde,Max Outram.

    Replacements: Euan Bonthron, Jack Haynes, Calum Champion, Aidan Reddick, Tom Foley.

    Aberdeen Grammar: Tommy Morrison; Nathan Brown, Murray Mitchell, Tom Aplin, Doug Russell; Sam Knudson, Jamie Troup; Calum Reddish, Ben Inglis, Ross Anderson; Nat Coe, Robin Cessford; Chris Jollands, Will Alton, Greig Ryan.

    Replacements: Jonny Spence, Andrew Cook, Dominic Wallen, Mungo Somerville, Craig Shepherd.

  4. Aberdeen Grammar 25 Jed-forest 15

    Aberdeen Grammar’s solid start to life in the Premiership continued at Rubislaw where they won their third start I four games, including two wins at home, sending out a strong message that no team coming to Aberdeen can expect easy pickings.

    Head coach Ali O’Connor was delighted for several reasons, not least for having new players come in and make their mark, while pleasingly his side were able to stick to their game plan.

    He said: “We had agreed that playing with a strong wind we should kick behind the Jed defence into the corners. It worked to perfection, enabling us to score two good tries, and then we followed it up with a disciplined, controlled second half. Performance.

    “Composure is not always our strength but we were spot on, especially up front where prop Matt Schosser was immense in attack and defence.

    “We were also able to give game time to two of our number nines, Jamie Troup and Patrick Ritchie. They both acquitted themselves well.”

    It was Grammar who eased ahead in 20 minutes when centre Tom Aplin took on the Borderers, bulldozing over near the posts, giving himself the easiest of conversions.

    Jed responded with one of their own when, after fine work from his forwards, winger Calum Young raced over in the corner for a try centre Robbie Yourston was unable to convert.

    Grammar rallied and prompted by Stand-off Sam Knudson’s trickery were able to release winger Nathan Brown for his sixth try on league business in the corner, giving Aplin a difficult kick at goal which he stroked over with the nonchalance of a kicker in form, giving the home side a half-time lead of 14-5.

    Jed reduced the deficit to six points two minutes into the second half when Yourston kicked a simple penalty, only for Aplin to kick a similar effort seven minutes later, but when Calum Young raced through a static home back line for his second touchdown of the afternoon in 56 minutes, the alarm bells were ringing for the home support at only 17-13 to the good for Grammar.

    They need not have worried as club captain and winger Doug Russell took things into his own hands, running all of 50 yards through a retreating Jed defence to touch down in the corner and, although Aplin was unable to convert, he made the game safe with a straight-forward penalty two minutes from time.

    © Jack Nixon

    Aberdeen Grammar: Tom Morrison; Nathan Brown, Murray Mitchell, Tom Aplin, Doug Russell; Sam Knudson, Jamie Troup; Ross Anderson, Ben Inglis, Matthias Schosser; Nat Coe, Robin Cessford; Chris Jollands, Will Alton, Grieg Ryan.

    Replacements: Calum Reddish, Jonny Spence, Dom Wallen, Craig Shepherd, Patrick Ritchie.

    Jed-Forest: Lewis Young; Callum Young, Rory Marshall, Robbie Yourston, Gregor Young; Monty Mitchell, Niklas Stingl; Grant Paxton, Finlay Campbell, Harry Meadows; Garry Young, Gregor Law; Donald Grieve, Michael Weekley, Ben McNeill.

    Replacements: Cole Lothian, Gary Clarkson, Elliot Lauder, Jye McGough, Sean Paxton.

  5. Selkirk 24 Aberdeen Grammar 44

    Aberdeen Grammar surged back to form in the Premiership after their disappointing defeat to Glasgow Hawks by thrashing Selkirk 44-24.

    The Rubislaw side raced into a 15-point lead in as many minutes and finished the half in charge at 32-5 up.

    Head coach Ali O’Connor said: “We put last week’s poor performance well and truly behind us. Four tries in the first half was amazing. Centre Tom Aplin had a great game, capping it with a fine day with the boot.”

    Winger Doug Russell and stand-off Sam Knudson got Grammar off to a bright start, although Aplin missed both conversions.

    Thereafter, he was in impeccable kicking form, adding two penalties, and converting the tries of flanker Will Alton and Nat Coe before the break, while Selkirk had the consolation of a touchdown by full-back Ryan Cottrell. Knudson made it 37-5 after half-time to effectively end the game as a contest, although the home side managed tries from flanker Scott McClymont (2) and centre Henry Blithray to earn a try bonus point.

    Grammar had the last word as Aplin raced away to score then added the extras for a personal haul of 19 points.

    © Jack Nixon

    Selkirk: Ryan Cottrell; Frazer Anderson, Josh Welsh, Henry Blithray, Jacob Henry; Callum Anderson, Aaron McColm; Luke Pettie, James Bett, Bruce Riddell; Andrew Mackay, Peter Forrest; Andrew McColm, Scott McClymont, Harry Borthwick.

    Replacements: Ross Purvis, Grant Forrest, Derry Alexander, Luca Merolle, Luca Berte.

    Aberdeen Grammar: Bryn Perrott; Nathan Brown, Nat Coe, Tom Aplin, Doug Russell; Sam Knudson, Jamie Troup; Andrew Cook, Ben Inglis, Matthias Schosser; Jordan Robertson, Robin Cessford; Chris Jollands, Will Alton, Greig Ryan.

    Replacements: Morgan Martin, Cameron Robertson, Gregor Nichol, Murray Mitchell, Patrick Ritchie.