Premiership: Jed-Forest push Aberdeen Grammar closer to the trapdoor

Big win at Riverside Park lifts Borderers to sixth in the table

Jed-Forest's Gregor Young getting to grips with Aberdeen's Craig Shepherd. Image: Bill McBurnie
Jed-Forest's Gregor Young getting to grips with Aberdeen's Craig Shepherd. Image: Bill McBurnie

Jed-Forest 42

Aberdeen Grammar 9

DAVID BARNES @ Riverside Park

WE’VE known for a while that Aberdeen are headed towards the Premiership trapdoor, and this heavy defeat to the team which started the day second bottom of the table all but confirmed it. With five games to go and 12 points to make up, survival is possible, but it would be some escape act if they pulled that off.

“When you suffer two injuries in the pack in the first 10 minutes, and you are already suffering a number of unavailabilities, it’s going to be a tough day at the office, and it would have been easy to fold, so the thing that gives me most comfort is the way that guys stuck in until the end,” reflected Grammar head coach Ali O’Connor.

Ben Renton, Glen Robertson, Jackie Burnett, those guys literally emptied their tanks, especially during the last 10 minutes when the score-line was big against us. They just kept putting their bodies on the line, so you’ve got to be proud of that.


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“We’ll carry on going until it is mathematically impossible [to stay up] and then beyond that,” he added. “We talked in the changing room afterwards about what it means to this club to go out there and represent ourselves in the best way possible, so we’ll carry on doing that. If results come our way then great, and if they don’t we just have to keep on going, and that’s something the guys have enough character to do.”

Jed head coach Scott Tomlinson echoed O’Connor’s words about Grammar’s resilience, while congratulating his own charges for a dominant all-round display.

“Fair play to Aberdeen, they never gave up, they competed for every breakdown, and I feel sorry for them with the injuries they got early on,” he said. “I’m happy with our performance, we fronted up in the forwards, we dominated the scrums and line-outs, and you can see we’ve got a decent pack.

“The Jed back division has been lightning for the last 10 years, but those boys are getting older and teams are also ready for that so have got good at shutting our space down, so we have to be clever, and we’ve worked hard to become more dominant up-front. We’ve got a good bench as well.

“That result eases us a bit closer to safety but it’s not over yet. We’ve moved up to sixth and we want to be in that top half of the league. That’s where we should be.”

 

Aberdeen recovered from the loss of flanker Patrick Mulholland in the first minute after a boot to the head by picking-up a penalty at the resulting scrum, which Tom Aplin fired home to establish a 3-0 lead. But the visitors then made a pig’s ear of collecting the restart, and ended up handing Gary Munro an immediate chance to square it, which the scrum-half happily took full advantage of.

With loose-head prop Matthius Schosser departing the scene on the 10 minute mark, Jed turned the screw at scrum-time, and it was off the back of this powerful platform that slick hands put Mason Cullen over on the right for the game’s opening try.

A breakdown in home discipline gifted Aplin three opportunities to kick at goal inside a six-minute window, with the centre successful twice to put his team back ahead. When Jed finally got back onto the front foot, they conceded a penalty for going off their feet at a ruck which handed Aberdeen an easy exit from their own 22.

Finally, the Borderers managed to keep it together for long enough to make their superior power up-front count, squeezing four scrum penalties before referee Ross Mabon finally reached for his pocket and sent visiting tight-head George Breese to the sin-bin. Aberdeen were out of front-row replacements, meaning scrums went uncontested, so Jed kicked to the corner and then rumbled the maul over the try-line, with Darren Gillespie grounding.

Jed finished the half with flourish when Lewis Young made 50 yards on the left. When he was finally brought down by the last man, the ball was sent right-ward, with Gillespie rampaging through one of the many gaps in Aberdeen’s stretched defence for his second try in the space of three minutes.

 

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A holding-on penalty conceded by Aberdeen winger Renton directly in front of the posts early in the second half allowed Munro – who had been off target with all three of his tricky conversion attempts – to get his place-kicking radar tuned back-in.

Jed claimed the bonus-point on 48 minutes, when  Craig Cowan went over on the left after a bustling run from Dom Buckley, and when Dan Wardrop got try number five with 23 minutes still to play after a sustained period of pressure, a rout was on the cards.

Aberdeen couldn’t escape the choke-hold Jed had taken of this match, but they dug deep to keep it semi-respectable. Gregor Young had a try chalked off for an infringement earlier in the move (which resulted in Thomas Jeffrey being sent to the sin-bin) and Munro missed a penalty attempt, before Paulo Ferreira – who had been replaced on 50 minutes – came back off the bench for a three minute cameo which featured his seventh try of the season, scored under the posts in the 75th minute.

 

Teams –

Jed-Forest: L Young; M Cullen (N Stingl 66), Gregor Young©, D Buckley, R Marshall; R Nichol, G Munro; G Paxton ( T Jeffrey 32), F Scott (P Ferraira 72-75), P Ferraira (H Meadows 50), C Skeldon (P Ferraira 78), G Law, D Wardrop, D Gillespie (J Howe 42), C Cowan (F Campbell 50).

Aberdeen Grammar: C Shepherd (S Knudson 40); D Russell, M New, T Aplin©, B Renton; C Scott, P Ritchie; M Schosser (G Robertson 14), L Buchan, G Breese, C Walker, C Robertson, P Mulholland (S Renfrew 1), B Inglis (J Burnett 40), C Buchan (A Addy 52).

Referee: Ross Mabon

 

Scorers –

Jed-Forest: Try: Cullen, Gillespie 2, Cowan, Wardrop, Ferraira; Con: Munro 3; Pen: Munro 2.

Aberdeen Grammar: Pen: Aplin 3.

Scoring sequence (Jed-Forest first): 0-3; 3-3; 8-3; 8-6; 8-9; 13-9; 18-9 (h-t) 21-9; 26-9; 28-9; 33-9; 35-9; 40-9; 42-9.

 

Yellow cards –

Aberdeen: Breese (34mins); Russell (72mins).

Jed-Forest: Jeffrey (65mins), G Young (72mins)

 

Man-of-the-Match: Jed’s second-rows stood tall in a dominant forward performance, with Gregor Law just edging it.

Talking point: The score-line doesn’t reflect how competitive Aberdeen stayed throughout this contest. It is a credit to the players and the backroom team that they have continued fighting whilst enduring a painful run of defeats. Let’s hope they can keep that resilience up for the rest of the season.


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About David Barnes 2752 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.