Stewart’s Melville 18 Aberdeen Grammar 26
Aberdeen Grammar launched the new campaign with a convincing win in Edinburgh where the Rubislaw side eased past Stewart’s Melville to move into the second round of the Scottish Cup.
Head coach Ali O’Connor was pleased with the outcome which enabled him to extend his run of wins to five out of five since taking charge of the team near the end of last season.
“It was as you might expect, a patchy performance in our first competitive game of the season,” said O’Connor. “But it puts down a marker, especially as we are back at Inverleith next week in National 1.
“There was much to admire, not least the pace of winger Calum Ruxton, who scored two fine tries. On the other wing, Grant Walker was at his best, getting a try of his own.”
Encouragingly, the Grammar pack was dominant, superbly led by new captain Calum Champion whose leadership was matched by a raging performance.
“Calum’s intelligent play was a major factor in the win. I was impressed by hooker Fergus McKenzie, who came on as a replacement in the second half. But there’s work to do, especially in the lineout, but it’s an encouraging start,” added O’Connor.
Stand off Ali Addy had a good game for the visitors, dovetailing nicely with scrum half Andrew Ovenstone, although his out of hand kicking left much to be desired and his coach added: “We will be working on this.”
Addy did, however, land two conversions, while Ovenstone kicked the final effort after veteran centre Pecili Nacamavuto had made the win safe.
The home side led 13-7 at half-time but had no answer to the hard-running Grammar backs in the second half.
The game was marred by a second-half injury to the Stewart’s Melville stand off Michael Hanning, bringing the game to a halt for 25 minutes, but after medical attention he was fit enough to go home.
A return to Inverleith on Saturday should hold no fears for Grammar, who look strong and capable in all departments.
© Jack Nixon
Stewart’s Melville: Samuel Ross; Neil Bowie, Ali Greg, Euan Morrison, Sean Murchie; Michael Hanning, Mark Sinclair; Cameron Taylor, Craig Willis, Paul Dixon; Alex Rappstad, Gareth Henderson; Lewis Scott, Duncan Wood, Jonathon Goldring.
Replacements: Finn Hobbis, John Grant, Thomas Spowart, Dylan Russell, Jack Calder.
Aberdeen Grammar: Sam Knudson; Grant Walker, Alex Ratcliffe, Peceli Nacamavuto, Calum Ruxton; Ali Addy, Andrew Ovenstone; Colin Neilson, Frank Selbie, Matthias Schosser; William Inglis, Harry Bloomfield; Aaron Robertson, Liam Findlay, Calum Champion.
Replacements: Shane Clark, Alex McLeod, Fergus McKenzie, Conor Lavery, Matt Arnold.