Rugby

Dundee High 13 Aberdeen Rugby 33

Aberdeen Grammar roared back to form in the all Caley derby in Dundee where they held off a spirited Dundee High fight back, earning the praise of head coach Ali O’Connor who described the performance full of ”character” enabling the Rubislaw side to surge back into the top half of National League 1 at the midway point of their campaign.

”It was good to get a win after the acute disappointment of last week’s defeat at home to Cartha Queens Park, but it was hard fought as High came back strongly at us just after half time, but thanks to some great tackling, inspired by Chris Jollands and Alex Dravitski, we went on to secure the game. We now have a week to prepare before we meet league leaders Jed – Forest in the Borders,” said O’Connor.

Captain Sam Knudson was equally relieved to have put behind them the fiasco of losing out last week to one of the league strugglers, and said: ”This was just the response we needed. Our attitude was right just from the start. We even managed to close the door on High when they threatening to take over the game. I thought Jordan Robertson had a great game in our front row.”

The Grammar captain and stand off was a key player throughout, leading his line with authority, while scoring a try for his side that had seven changes from the one who lost to Cartha.

The visitors had the best of the early exchanges, racing into a 14 – 0 lead through a penalty try and fine effort from Knudson, both converted by full back Bryn Perrott who went on the slot for of his four out of five conversions, and generally have a solid game in the number 15 jersey.

Up to half – time, the Aberdeen held sway, taking the game to the homesters when the opportunity presented itself.

All that was to change when the sides turned around in the unfamiliar setting of Alloway Place, the pitch of Morgan Academy FP’s after Mayfield had been deemed unfit to play on due to repair work. High found their feet, and in a 10-minute spell after the break, scoring a try, touched down by Rory Aitken, and converted by Alan McKay who also kicked two penalties in the home side’s period of dominance, making it game on 14 – 13.

Grammar weathered the passion of the home side, going on to take command of the game, scoring three more tries, attributed to wingers Craig Shepherd and Nat Coe, but it was the industrious Jollands who ended the game on high for the Rubislaw outfit. Perrott kicked two of the conversions, making a good away day, rewarded with five tries, although they will face a much more severe challenge of a Border side on Saturday who will be keen to avenge the 10 try thrashing handed to them by Grammar on the first day of the season since when have soared to the top of the league, losing only once more at home to Musselburgh.  

© Jack Nixon