Premiership: Aberdeen Grammar down Glasgow Hawks to finally taste victory

Five tries to two victory gives Rubislaw men hope that all is not lost in this campaign

Tom Aplin kicked six from six as Aberdeen Grammar finally got their season going with a home win over Glasgow Hawks. Image: John Williamson
Tom Aplin kicked six from six as Aberdeen Grammar finally got their season going with a home win over Glasgow Hawks. Image: John Williamson

Aberdeen Grammar 38

Glasgow Hawks 13

JACK NIXON @ Rubislaw

THE case for summer rugby was well and truly made on a windswept, freezing day at Rubislaw where both sides attempted to ignore the wild elements and concentrate instead on the job in hand.

For a beleaguered Aberdeen side, it was a case of saving their season as they faced the unacceptable possibility of going a whole campaign without a win, while for the Glasgow side it was an opportunity to keep their prospects of a play-off place alive.

In the event, Grammar turned the tables on an out of sorts Hawks side, handing them a five try to two try beating, giving their supporters an early Christmas present with a much welcome first win of the campaign, begging the question why has it taken 11 games to find such fine form?


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Hawks, on the other hand, were never at the races, committing a series of early errors. They handed the home side the initiative which they grabbed with alacrity, going on the establish a two try lead in the first 20 minutes, which they never looked like surrendering as the afternoon wore on in the near Baltic conditions.

Ironically, it was the Glasgow side who eased into a 3-0 lead in only three minutes when centre Matthew Stewart kicked the easiest of penalties, only for Grammar to hit back with a phase of pressure which led to the first try of the day, touched down by draft prop George Breese, after they raced through a hesitant Hawks defence. Centre Tom Aplin kicked the conversion, going on to end the afternoon with a 100 percent record of place kicking, adding four more and one penalty to keep the scoreboard ticking over, gaining a psychological advantage in the process.

Try number two came on 19 minutes after more sustained home pressure, aided by some misfielding in the visiting back-line. This time it was fellow prop Callum Reddish who did the damage, bursting over from close range, with Aplin’s conversion making it 14-3.

Hawks then enjoyed a spell of domination, culminating in a fine try, touched down out wide by centre Brendan McGroarty, opening up the game with the visitors only 14-8 in arrears.

Grammar were not to be denied, ending the half well on top, although unable to get a third try thanks to some excellent cover defending by Hawks.

 

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The Rubislaw side started the second half with a flurry of activity, resulting in No8 Corey Buchan capping a great personal day for him and his pack with a pushover try, inevitably converted by Aplin, giving the small but vocal home crowd hope of an overdue win at 21-8, only for Hawks winger Thomas Glendinning to pop up in the corner for Hawks after an exquisite cross-kick from stand-off Joe Strain. That set alarm bells ringing among the Rubislaw faithful, even if the conversion was missed.

They need not have fretted, as their favourites were well up to the task, surging back with two killer tries, attributed to their irrepressible No7 Ben Inglis, who had just returned to the field of play after injury. and Cammy Scott.

In between those touchdowns, Aplin added a penalty and also kicked the extras, making it a perfect day him and his tireless team-mates.

It’s probably too early to say whether or not Grammar have saved their skins, but Aplin was in no doubt his side had turned the corner. “It was one of those days when everything clicked,” he said. “We now have Jed-Forest firmly in our sights. It was a great all-round performance from the guys.”

His head coach, Ali O’Connor, agreed, adding: ”It has been a long time coming but nonetheless very welcome. We can build on this.”

His opposite number Andy Hill was disappointed but said: “We made too many mistakes early on and let Grammar get a foothold in the game. They took full advantage and were worth their win but we’re not out of it, and a top four place in the play offs is still our target.”

 

Teams –

Aberdeen: C Shepherd; R Cameron, D Russell, T Aplin, B Renton; C Scott, S Knudson; C Reddish, M Schosser, G Breese, C Walker, A Robertson, B Inglis, N. Coe, C Buchan. Subs: G Robertson, C Robertson, P Mullholland, A Andrade P Ritchie.

Glasgow Hawks: H Lee; H Hughes, B McRoarty, M Stewart, T Glendining; J Strain, F Burgess; A Rogers, I Totic, G Strain, A Syme, E Bulger, L  Stewart, T Brown, L McNamara. Subs: I Carmichael, M Downer, J Porter, F Gosse, J Thompson.

Referee: Iain Kenny

 

Scorers –

Aberdeen Grammar: Tries: Breese, Reddish, Buchan, Inglis, Scott; Cons: Aplin 5; Pens: Aplin.

Glasgow Hawks: Tries: McCroarty, Glendinning; Pens: Stewart.

Scoring sequence (Aberdeen first): 0-3; 5-3; 7-3; 12-3; 14-3; 14-8 (h-t) 19-8; 21-8; 21-13; 26-13; 28-13; 31-13; 36-13; 38-13.

 

Yellow Cards –

Glasgow Hawks: Strain, Downer.

 

Man-of-the-Match: All the contenders came from the home team, including draft players George Breese and Cammy Scott, hooker Matthias Schosser, No 8 Corey Buchan, and all-action flanker Ben Inglis, who in the end of the day was the afternoon’s stand out, turning in a lion-hearted performance.

Talking Point: Referee Iain Kenny was the perfect man for the occasion, demonstrating the sensitivity the elements demanded, and letting the players get on with it. And, finally, many in the small but vociferous crowd owed much to the three coffee ladies who helped them forget the chill borth wind and the occasional flurry of snow with the endless supply of piping hot drinks.


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About Jack Nixon 56 Articles
Jack is a Borderer, born in Langholm, and a graduate of Moray House College of Education in Edinburgh. He was a founder member of Livingston Rugby Club in 1968 and has been rugby correspondent for the Aberdeen Press and Journal since 1997. He has been going to Murrayfield man and boy since 1954!

3 Comments

  1. I agree. Thought the referee was excellent today. Very clear, not fussy and got nearly everything right. Excellent standard.

  2. It was Cammy Scott who scored the last try for Aberdeen.
    The commentator read the wrong name out. Easily done.

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