Aberdeen Grammar 39
JACK NIXON @Rubislaw
ONCE this battle of the basement teams got underway, all talk of relegation evaporated into the early autumn air of Aberdeen, as Grammar and Jed set about proving to their respective supporters that they would not be the only winless team in the Premiership at the end of the afternoon.
In the event, it was Jed head coach Scott Tomlinson who was the more relieved and certainly the happier after his young side, eight of whom were under 19 had run in nine tries to hand the home side a 56-39 thrashing in their first game of the season at Rubislaw, making it 20 tries conceded in three outings.
“This is not always the easiest of places to come but we were on the ball once we had found our feet after a long bus journey,” he said. :Our youngsters did us proud. It’s a great tribute to the coaching staff at Jed Thistle. I thought Kyle Grieve was a stand-out in the back-row but they were all heroes.”
His opposite number, Ali O’Connor, in stark contrast, could only express his horror that his charges for the third week in a row had failed to make their tackles.
“For nearly half an hour we held our own to lead 20-17, only to be blown away in a 12 minute spell in which we shipped three tries to trail 27-20,” he said. “Missing tackles in the process. There’s work to be done there but it’s a tough league and we’ll need to learn quickly. We also gave away too many penalties. I will need to look closely at the video.”
Grammar took the lead in only two minutes when centre Tom Aplin kicked a penalty in front of the posts, only for Jed to hit back immediately with a try wide out, exposing the home defence for the first and certainly not the last time. Full-back Lewis Young was the Border side’s scorer. Stand-off Gary Munro missed the conversion, something he was to do twice more in the first half.
Grammar surged back through another Aplin penalty and then kicked a conversion after Matt Schosser had rumbled over to make it 13-5, raising home hopes, especially as Aplin kicked the extras.
The German internationalist then blotted his copybook when he high tackled a Jed forward, leading to a yellow card, handing the visitors the initiative.
A try for Jed winger Mason Cullen made it 13-12 after Munro found kicking form, but Grammar hit back with once through their winger Nathan Brown, converted by Aplin.
At 20-12, you might have fancied the Aberdeen side to win, but it was not to be as three more tries rained in on the home line to make it 27-20 to the Riverside team, a scoreline which could have been more had Munro not missed four of his five conversion attempts. The Jed tries were attributed to prop Paulo Ferreira, No8 Garry Young and winger Robbie Shirra-Gibb.
Grammar stormed out of the blocks in the second half with an early try from their best player, No8 Greig Ryan, and although Alpin missed his first kick at goal to tie up the scores, it mattered little as the Borderers took control, scoring four more touchdowns through a second for Ferreira, scrum-half Aiden Bambrick, centre Gregor Young and Munro, who by this time had found his range, adding a penalty and three conversions.
The Grammar cause was not helped by a second yellow for Schooser, which led to a red card.
The home side battled on in the midst of the Jed try-fest, adding two of their own, scored by replacement Patrick Ritchie and Aplin, who converted his own late score.
But it was curtains for Grammar who might well struggle to overcome this major blow this early in the season, especially in a week when a young player broke his leg in training.
Matthew Emmison had a sound game in the Grammar back row, while Craig Shepherd never gave up trying on the wing.
Aberdeen Grammar: R Cameron; N Brown, D Russell,T Aplin, C Shepherd; A Addy, T Morrison; C Reddish, M Schosser, P Mulholland, N Coe, M Emmison, C Buchan, G Ryan. Subs used: L Robertson, J Robertson, S Renfrew, P Ritchie, S Ryan.
Jed-Forest: L Young; M Cullen, G Young, R Marshall, R Shirra-Gibb; G Munro, A Dambrick; T Jeffery, A Stewart, P Ferreira, A Sweenie, B Howe, B McNeil, K Grieve, G Young. Subs used: G Paxton, D Hunter, E Lauder, G Williams, N Stingl.
Aberdeen Grammar: Tries: Schosser, Brown, Ryan, Ritchie, Aplin; Cons: Aplin 4; Pens: Aplin 2
Jed-Forest: Tries: L Young, Cullen, Ferreira 2, Shirra-Gibb, Gary Young, Gregor Young, Bambrick, Munro; Cons: Munro 4; Pen: Munro.
Scoring sequence (Aberdeen Grammar first): 3-0; 3-5; 6-5; 11-5; 13-5; 13-10l 13-12; 18-12; 20-12; 20-17; 20-22; 20-27 (h-t) 25-27; 25-32; 25-37; 25-39; 25-42; 30-42; 32-42; 32-47; 32-49; 32-54; 32-56; 37-56; 39-56.
Yellow cards –
Aberdeen Grammar: Schosser
Red cards –
Aberdeen Grammar: Schossen
Man-of the-Match: Jed prop Paulo Ferreira, despite being injured in the warm-up, played in the game, adding two tries to his great work in the front-row for the winners.
Talking point: It is too early to panic but securing a win is becoming fairly crucial for Aberdeen already if they are to avoid a long hard season of playing catch-up.