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