Aberdeen Grammar 17
Currie Chieftains 26
JACK NIXON @ Rubislaw
IN the mud and glaur of Rubislaw, on a foul afternoon as you could wish upon anyone, Aberdeen Grammar and Currie Chieftains, contrived to serve up an astonishingly good game of rugby considering the hostile elements in which they had to play.
Chieftains came through as worthy winners, claiming the honours with two tries in each half, giving them a welcome bonus-point to take back to Malleny Park where they are still very much in the hunt for a home game in the semi-finals of the Premiership play offs next month.
Grammar, for their part, lost ground in their quest for a play-off place by virtue of Selkirk’s draw away to Musselburgh, slipping to fifth place behind the Souters, although on this form are well capable of springing a surprise against Hawick in their remaining two games. They should have had at least a losing point to show for their efforts.
Grammar head coach Ali O’Connor certainly thought so. “The difference between the two sides lay in Currie’s ability to take their chances,” he said. “Two tries in six minutes just after the break did the damage, even if we managed to battle back in the closing stages, but failed to make our pressure count.”
Opposite number Mark Cairns was happy enough to come away with five points. “This is a hard place to come and win, but once we got to 26-10 ahead just after half-time we lost momentum, due in part to having a number of players pick up injuries, including scrum-half Gregor Christie who had an outstanding game.
“Given the very difficult conditions, especially in the second half, it was a very competitive game of rugby. They came back strongly, playing some tight controlled rugby, while we were guilty in coming off some of our tackles. I don’t think we’ll catch Marr in the run in, but getting a home tie in the semis would be good.”
Grammar came out the blocks the more aggressively, and after some fine probing kicks from hand by stand-off and captain Sam Knudson, eased into a three point lead when centre Tom Aplin slotted a 35 yard penalty. Lifted by the score, the hosts pushed home their advantage in 15 minutes, marshalling the visitors back to their own line where German prop Matthias Schosser finished off the fine work off is fellow forwards. Aplin added the extras to make it 10 – 0 and the possibility of a shock on the cards.
But, as is the Grammar way, they immediately let the Edinburgh side back into the game, failing to clear their lines, allowing centre Ryan Southern a clear run in for a try which was converted by Adam Hall.
Having got off the hook, Chieftains rubbed salt in the home wound, and it was no surprise when Hall scored and converted another try on the half hour mark, enabling them to turnaround 14-10 to the good.
The second half started disastrously for the homesters who surrendered tries in the 41st and 47th minutes, scored by Christie and replacement prop Reece Patterson, one of which was converted by Hall.
At this point in proceedings, a rout looked on the cards, but in fairness to Grammar they set against that with real determination, clawing their way back into the game. However, despite a number of near things, they were unable to close the gap, until the try of the match on the hour when Aplin ran all of 70 yards to touchdown, and even had the breath to convert the effort.
Try as they might, the gallant Grammar came up short in their bid to win a hard earned losing bonus point, enabling Chieftains to head down the A90 with five precious points, closing to within three points of Marr in the process.Error, group does not exist! Check your syntax! (ID: 27)
Aberdeen Grammar: F Sneddon; N Brown, M Mitchell, T Aplin, D Russell, S Knudson, J Troup; C Reddish, A Cook, M Schosser, N Coe, J Robertson, D Wallen, B Inglis, G Ryan. Subs used: S Renfrew, R Anderson, A Robertson, C Shepherd.
Currie Chieftains: F Sayers; C Meager, S Hamilton, R Southern, J McCaig; A Hall, G Christie; G Carson, F Scott, M Sonogni-Argiro, M Poole, S Edwards, M Vernel, W Nelson, R Davies. Subs used: R Patterson, G Williamson, J O’Brien, H Ferguson
Referee: Ian Kenny
Aberdeen Grammar: Tries: Schosser, Aplin; Cons : Aplin 2; Pen: Aplin.
Currie Chieftains: Tries : Southern, Hall, Christie, Patterson; Cons: Hall 3.
Scoring sequence (Aberdeen first): 3-0; 8-0; 10-0; 10-5; 10-7; 10-12; 10-14 (h-t) 10-19; 10-24; 10-26; 15-26; 17 – 26.
Man-of-the-Match: Was a close thing with the majority of the candidates coming from the two packs, including Aberdeen Matthias Schosser and Ross Anderson, while the visitors were best served by Rhys Patterson and Rhys Davies, On a day best suited to forwards in the backs the eye-catchers were Aplin and scrum-half replacement Craig Shepherd for the homesters but it was his opposite number Gregor Christie who comes out tops after a fine probing performance in the No 9 jersey.
Talking Point: Why on earth we play rugby in the winter? Although after this refreshingly good game there were very few complaints from the small but vociferous crowd, many of whom had braved the elements and made the trip from Edinburgh.