1. Falkirk 0 Aberdeen Rugby 62

    Aberdeen Grammar moved smoothly into the semi-finals of the National League Cup, easing past National League 2 side Falkirk who, although game, were not able to contain the classy Rubislaw side who breached the home line 10 times.

    Head coach, Ali O’Connor who was realistic enough to recognise his charges would face much sterner opposition in the semi-final on March 30 when they take on National League 1 opponents Kelso in the Borders, but said: ”This was a good, convincing win, while serving as a good workout for our big league game away to Gala on March 2 which, if we win, should go a long way to ensuring we are in the top six, which given there is likely to be a new structure next season is vital to us. We played some great rugby once we got into our stride. In the second row Ewan Stewart’s ball carrying was particularly impressive. Andrew Cook had a great game in the front row, and Sean Mills was a standout at full back, making for a good day for us.”

    Grammar took time to get into their stride, which was not surprising, given the number of changes in personnel, including bringing Byrn Perrott into the stand-off berth to form a new partnership with Tommy Morrison. Once these two clicked, the Grammar line kicked into gear, leading to a first half lead of 19-0.

    Tries from winger Calum Ruxton, No 8 Greig Ryan and hooker Andrew Cook, two of which were converted by Perrott, put the Aberdeen side in easy street.

    The second half was pretty well one-way traffic, as Grammar turned on the style, running in seven tries based on good support play and strong running from in particular Stewart, and centre Nat Coe, and with Ryan directing operations in midfield in harmony with Perrott, the outcome was always going to be a painful one for Falkirk.

    Perrott was always available when not providing, resulting in him nipping over the home line twice in as many minutes before being replaced by Ciaran Wood as O’Connor rang the changes. Further tries for Wood (2), centre Murray Mitchell, Mills, and flanker Alex Dravitski merely underlined Grammar’s overall supremacy.

    The four second half conversions were equally shared by Perrott and Mills.

    Grammar will now play Kelso who were comfortable 40-5 winners at home to Kirkcaldy, although a trip to Poynder Park should hold no fears for O’Connor’s men, having beaten the Border side twice on league business, racking up 112 points in the process, not that the Grammar head coach will be taking anything for granted. 

    © Jack Nixon



  2. Aberdeen Rugby 42 GHA 19

    Aberdeen Grammar moved into the top six of National League 1 after ruthlessly destroying third placed GHA in a second half in which the Glasgow scarcely put a foot in the Aberdeen half, while running in three sumptuous tries of their own in a totally dominating 40 minutes.

    The afternoon had in fact started badly for the home side who seemed to take longer to settle on the secondary pitch at Rubislaw after the two sides agreed the main pitch was unsafe to play on after the recent frost.

    GHA raced into a five-point lead in four minutes when full back John O’Brien raced through a non – existent home defence to touch down in the corner for a try scrum half George Baird was unable to convert.

    Stung into action, Grammar hit back in 10 minutes when after a series of rucks, No 8 Greig Ryan took control, as he was to do for most of the afternoon, plunging over for a try that full back Bryn Perrott was able to convert.

    But despite taking a 7 – 5 lead, Grammar still looked vulnerable against the slick, enterprising visiting backs who regained the lead after winger Aaran Purewal took advantage of poor home tacking to run in under the posts in 14 minutes. The conversion by Baird made it 12 – 7, only for Grammar to retaliate through the excellent Chris Jollands who sliced through the static GHA defence and with Perrott doing the business with the boot a hectic first 20 minutes came to an end with Grammar 14 – 12 to the good.

    Not surprisingly the pace of the game eased going into the break, although both sides managed a try each just before half time, firstly James Sutherland, the GHA No 8 plundered the Grammar line for a converted try, only for Ryan to score his second of the afternoon, right on the stroke of half – time to give his side a 21 – 19 lead after Perrott had stroked over the conversion, but with the strong wind in their faces, there were fears that the Rubislaw side might not cope.

    These fears were quickly allayed, as astonishingly GHA failed to cash in, dropping out of the game as an attacking force, while the Ryan and Jollands show got purposefully under way, although the latter had a ten minute break late in the first half when he fell foul of referee Lee Fish who had a poor afternoon, failing to make allowances for the dreadful conditions which demanded a more sympathetic response from the official.

    But while the two back rowers were the mainstays of the home attack, captain and stand Sam Knudson had a fine game, as did winger Nat Coe who scored two second half tries, but it was the try of centre Tom Aplin which sent the Rubislaw faithful home happy when Ryan picked up the ball on the half way line after a stuttering move in the back division to send Aplin over to round off a fine afternoon. Perrott added the extras to all three tries, making for a 100% record with the boot.

    Jollands played down his major contribution to game, but said: ”This is a good side who are growing in stature as the season progresses. We got it together after a shaky start. We can now go on and capture a high placing in the league, but first we have a break, followed by a National League Cup game at Falkirk on February 16. But it’s our final league position which matters. We’re on the way to achieving a high one after today.”

    Grammar’s next National League 1 game will be at Gala on March 2, followed by games at home to Hamilton and Dundee, and a trip to Glasgow where they meet Cartha Queens Park who are all in the bottom four of the division.

    © Jack Nixon


  3. Marr 33 Aberdeen Rugby 7

    Aberdeen Grammar’s hopes of a high finish in National League 1 were badly dented in Ayrshire where Marr took full advantage of the visitors having a player sin binned midway through the first half leaving the Rubislaw side struggling to get back into the game after conceding three quick tries.

    When Grammar winger Nat Coe was adjudged to have deliberately knocked on, it signalled 10 minutes of misery for the Aberdeen side who did not help themselves with some poor defending, leading to the home side going into the half time break 26 – 7 to the good, and well on their way to victory.

    Head coach Ali O’Connor conceded his side had lost control of the game during the absence of Coe, but said: ”Up until that point we had been competing well, and then again for a 15 minute spell after half time we did everything but score. If we had managed two tries then we would have been right back in the game. Out defending let us down in the first half which is so disappointing after last week’s excellent all-round show against Selkirk. We will just have to get back on track at home to GHA next week.”

    But while Grammar competed well after shipping four tries to trail 26 – 0 on the half hour mark, scoring a fine try through their first-class flanker Chris Jollands, they badly missed the leadership of No 8 Greig Ryan and the ball carrying skills of Ewan Stewart in the second row. With these two missing the normally on fire Grammar pack, lacked the drive required to topple a team of the calibre of league leaders Marr.

    The home touchdowns were generally soft and avoidable, while the lone Grammar try was well worked and was converted by centre Tom Aplin.

    It was generally honours even in the second half with the Rubislaw creating numerous try scoring opportunities but unable to find the composure to breach the home line.

    The Ayrshire side managed one of their own when Liam McLauglin touched down to put the seal on the game, leaving the Grammar coaching team to reflect on wasted chances.

     © Jack Nixon

  4. Aberdeen Rugby 30 Selkirk 17

    Aberdeen Grammar stretched their unbeaten run to seven games, following an impressive 30 – 17 win over Selkirk, reducing the gap on the fifth placed Border side to one point in the process, while keeping themselves on track for a top four, or even third place in National League 1.

    Head coach Ali O’Connor was all smiles, in stark contrast to the time the two sides met when Grammar heartbreakingly lost out to a last gap, touchline conversion at Philiphaugh, and said: ”The players were well aware of the enormity of the occasion. The win took away all the pain of that day, away back in September. A lot has happened since then, not least our continuing good run of form, based today on quality defending in the first half. But we are not getting carried away, we now have two tough games against league leaders Marr, and third placed GHA.”

    Grammar had to shrug off losing lock Robin Cessford with a pulled hamstring in the warm up, his place going to Aaron Robertson who in the event had a first-class game.

    The home pack were in fact instrumental in winning the game, taking the game to Borderers right from the off, tackling like demons, and scoring all four of the home touchdowns in a highly entertaining game of rugby.

    The front row of Ross Anderson, Calum Reddish and Matthias Schosser were particularly effective, as were the try scoring back row of No 8 Greig Ryan (2) and Chris Jollands and Alex Dravitski who each grabbed a score.

    But while the Grammar back division saw less of the action, they played their part in defending, and once they stopped kicking away hard-won possession became a force in their own right, particularly stand off and captain Sam Knudson who led his line with authority, and not guilty of aimless kicking, his many breaks setting up numerous attacks in the second half.

    Lock Ewan Stewart continues to be a ball carrier of the highest order, linking well with his purposeful back rowers.

    Both sides took time to get into the game with the early scores coming from penalties exchanged by Tom Aplin for a Grammar and Rory Banks for Selkirk before Aplin gave the Rubislaw side a lead they were never to lose, on the half hour mark with his second kick. Despite incessant pressure from the home side it took until the stroke of half time to score a try when not for the first time Ryan nipped over the line. Aplin added the conversion to make it 13-3 at the break.

    A tense second half looked in prospect for the Rubislaw faithful, only for Grammar to raise their game with two stunning tries in three minutes, ten minutes after the break.

    Dravitski and Jollands were the scorers and, with Aplin adding one conversion, it was game set and match, especially when Ryan popped up on the wing to grab his second try and with it a valuable try bonus point. Job done, Grammar not surprisingly tired, giving Selkirk the opportunity to snatch two late tries, attributed to Gregor Nicol and Ewan MacDougall, both converted by their first class kicker Banks, although on this occasion, there was no late pain for Grammar.

    ”We have been working on our defence, it paid off today. The late tries only came when we tired,” said club captain Doug Russell.

    The 2XV had an excellent 34-13 win away at RAF Lossiemouth.

  5. Aberdeen Rugby 66 Kelso 7

    Aberdeen Grammar ran in 11 tries against a depleted Kelso side, eventually winning 66-7 in a one-sided affair.

    The P&J match report and photos from the game will follow.

  6. Kelso Match OFF

    Kelso will not be travelling after their coach company took police advice on probable treacherous road conditions on Saturday.

    The match is therefore postponed.

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