Aberdeen Grammar 25
JACK NIXON @ Rubislaw
ABERDEEN GRAMMAR made the most of home comforts at Rubislaw where they saw off the considerable challenge of Jed-Forest. The visitors might regard themselves as unfortunate to have returned to the Borders without so much as a losing bonus point, although they did have countless opportunities to kick the penalty that would have given them one in the frantic closing stages.
In fairness, the Riverside Park side were still trying to win the game at that late stage of proceedings, but over the piece were second best to the organised, determined northerners, as Jed coach Gavin Kerr conceded. “We lacked composure at key moments, although we made a huge contribution to a free-flowing game of rugby and were probably beaten by the better team,” he said.
Ali O’Connor, the Grammar head coach, was understandably pleased at his side’s good start to the season which has seen them win three of their four starts.
“Crucially we stuck to our game plan, which in the first half was to use the strong wind, and kick into the corners,” he said. “It worked well, enabling us to turn around 14-5 up. We had some fine individual performances out there, but most of all it was a team effort. We were even able to bring in some new faces, proving we have cover all over the side, not least at scrum-half, where Jamie Troup and Patrick Ritchie both had game time.”
The early stages of the game were in fact dictated by Jed, who took every opportunity to run their back three, all members of the Young family, although it was winger Calum who overshadowed his brother Gregor on the other wing, but both were well supplied by their full-back brother Lewis.
After surviving the early Border raids, Grammar came into their own in 20 minutes when centre Tom Aplin bulldozed his way through the stricken Jed defence, and just for good measure slotted the conversion. Boosted by the turn in fortunes, the Rubislaw side pressed home their case, but were unable to breach the stuffy Borderers defence.
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Instead it was Jed who closed the gap in 33 minutes when Robbie Yourston cashed in on good forward play for an unconverted try, only for the home to respond just before the break when stand-off and captain Sam Knudson released winger Nathan Brown for his sixth try of the campaign. Aplin made it 14 – 5 with a magnificent kick from the touchline.
Despite having the wind at their backs Jed did not take full advantage in the second half, although Yourston did cut the deficit in 42, only for Aplin to reply in kind seven minutes later, but when Calum Young sycthed in under the posts for his second try, converted by Yourston, it looked odds on it being a successful Border outing at only 17-15 in arrears.
Grammar, however, had enough in the tank, rallying to score a try through their effervescent club captain and winger, who swept past the back-pedalling Jed defence in 68 minutes. Although Aplin missed the kick, he made amends with a late penalty to deny the visitors the losing bonus.
Aberdeen Grammar: T Morrison; N Brown, M Mitchell, T Aplin, D Russell; S Knudson, J Troup; R Anderson, B Inglis, M Schosser, N Coe, R Cessford, C Jollands, W Alton, Greig Ryan. Substitutes: C Reddish, J Spence, D Walden, P Ritchie.
Jed-Forest: L Young; C Young, R Marshall, R Yourston, G Young; M Mitchell, N Stingl; G Paxton, F Campbell, H Meadows, G Young, G Law, D Grieve, M Weekley, B McNeil. Substitutes: C Lothian, G Clarkson, J McGough.
Referee: Hollie Davidson.
Aberdeen: Tries: Aplin, N Brown, D Russell. Cons: Aplin 2. Pens: Aplin 2 .
Jed-Forest: Tries: Yourston, C Young; Con: Yourston; Pen: Yourston.
Scoring sequence (Aberdeen first): 5-0; 7-0; 7- 5; 12 -5; 14-5 (h-t) 14-8; 17-8; 17-13; 17 -15; 22-15; 25-15.
Man of the match: Aberdeen’s Matthew Schosser gave his all in the front row, tackling like a demon while having the temerity to indulge in a number of breaks, though Jed’s Calum Young ran him a close thing with his powerful running that produced two fine tries.
Talking point: The fact that a small Border town like Jedburgh can still put out a team mainly made up of local boys. Who says rugby in the Borders is dead?