Hillhead Jordanhill 27 Aberdeen Grammar 39
Aberdeen Grammar secured their National 1 place with this win in Galsgow, scoring seven tries in a rousing game.
Grammar coach Stuart Corsar said: “I always knew we would not go down. We have come good when it mattered. I set the players the target of winning our last five games, so it is two down with three to play.
“Replacement winger Jamie Gilmour did a great job with his two tries. We made hard work of it and could have defended better, especially against a side which has not won a game. Leaking five tries was not part of the gameplan.”
Grammar made the perfect start when in four minutes veteran winger Grant Walker raced over in the corner for an unconverted try, only for (Hills No 8) Tonci Buzov to tie up the scores four minutes later.
The visitors then took control of the game, scoring two tries in the space of three minutes – from Adrian Hamilton and stand off Alex Hagart, who kicked one conversion. Flanker Ali Mackie scored Grammar’s fourth try, converted by Hagart.
But Grammar allowed Hillhead back into the game on the back of poor defending and the hosts scored two unconverted tries through Chris Tulloch and Ivan Miljak.
Grammar led 24-15 at the break and reasserted control with an early second-half try from Gilmour. But, thanks to the scrappy nature of the game, the home side kept in touch with touchdowns from Buzov and AJ McFarlane, one of which was converted by (No 10) Nik Jurisic, one of three Croats in the Hillhead line up.
Grammar finally put the game to bed through tries from Gilmour and centre Conor Lavery, who scored his first try for the club. None of Grammar’s second-half touchdowns was converted.
Grammar’s Sam Knudson was an effective full back, building on his growing reputation but picking up a hand injury which will keep him out of Aberdeen University’s British Universities Cup semi-final.
Grant Walker enjoyed his best game of the season until having to leave the field of play with a shoulder injury.
Grammar captain Morgan Ward, who was a stand out in the number nine jersey, said: “It’s a great relief to have saved ourselves but we should never have been in this position in the first place.
“We must now finish the season on a high against unbeaten Selkirk, Dundee and Watsonians.”
© Jack Nixon
Hillhead Jordanhill: Richie Graham; Andrew Gallacher, Scott Halliday, Francisco Machado, Rory Harte; Nik Jurisic, AJ McFarlane; Ivan Miljak, Harry Perston, George Stephenson; Chris Tulloch, Callum Stove; Charles Balncard, Mungo Ryan, Tonci Buzov.
Replacements: Stephen Hems, Angus Lean, Luke McKinney, Adam Plunkett, Robbie Dwyer.
Aberdeen Grammar: Sam Knudson; Alex Ratcliffe, Peceli Nacamavuto, Conor Lavery, Grant Walker; Alex Hagart, Morgan Ward; Peter Gillies, Stuart Davies, Colin Neilson; Stuart Smith, Ed Nimmons; Ali Mackie, Calum Champion, Adrian Hamilton.
Replacements: Mike Cox, Matthias Schosser, Chris Jollands, Jamie Gilmour.