01/05/08 Ellon Turn Tables on Super Twa's in Season Finale
Aberdeenshire 2nd XV 7-18 Ellon 2nd XV
In the event it wasn't particularly close, the scoreline flattering Ellon. The two best sides in the North District Referee’s Society Cup met in the Woodside final yesterday but Ellon triumphed with something to spare thanks to the boot of Mark Ryan.
The biggest crowd that Woodside has seen for some time enjoyed a fine spectacle with two sides committed to playing an enterprising brand of rugby. However, those in the home contingent had to endure a difficult opening before the Premier 3 side eventually earned their silverware. Aberdeenshire started on the back foot and they spent pretty much the entire first half in the same uncomfortable position. On the rare occasions they worked up a head of steam and muscled their way into the Ellon mixer, someone – James Broadribb, Robin Campbell, Alex Moore – would belt the ball 70 yards downfield and the team would have it all to do again.
‘Shire did dominate the set scrum but that was about as far as it went and even then a bobbling ball allowed Ellon to nick the odd one against the head. It was one of those days. ‘Shire just stopped playing with the same belief that has carried them this season and lost a little confidence. Conor Henry said about the Super Twa’s performance, "Our defence was magnificent throughout, it has been all year. It is obvious that the boys are playing for each other out there and there is a trust in each other now that we haven't always had."
For ‘Shire, Tim Condon never stopped trying but sadly it wasn’t enough. The Ellon big men bossed this match and gave flyhalf Ryan an armchair ride especially in the first forty. They had the whip hand at the breakdown where they played the referee for a fool and they displayed good skills when they were needed. ‘Shire struggled to get any continuity because their opposition are past masters at slowing the ball at the breakdown. Just how all eight managed to avoid a yellow card suggests that they sail close enough to the wind to give Ellen MacArthur a few lessons.
Ellon’s front three even had the audacity to set up the first try with a neat little move down the right flank that his winger was always going to get to first. That try on ten minutes was followed a few minutes later when the flyhalf sent the winger up the middle of the park with a sublime offload that nevertheless should have been read by the opposition.
The Aberdeen club needed to put an early dent in the Ellon lead to sew some doubt in their minds but they couldn't worry their way over the try line until the 63rd minute. Delightful running from the loose forwards saw Fotheringham, Theron and Condon link well. James Broadribb made numerous breaks, aided and abetted by John Maclennan with the abrasive Sutherland being found by Leith before Barry Davies crossed the line for a fine end to the best piece of play of the evening. White’s drop goal conversion to add the maximum set up a tense final period, with ‘Shire gaining confidence all the time. In the end, two kickable penalties were enough to stretch the victory.
Chances were missed. One final pass sailed harmlessly into touch, a penalty five yards from the Ellon line was reversed for foul play and Robin Campbell was brought down agonisingly short of the line when it seemed that the ‘Ginga Ninja’ must score. Last night's display was commendable, and certainly does a huge amount for confidence ahead of next season. Allan MacCreadie, the Super Twa’s coach, said: "Despite those last kicks going over, I have been incredibly proud of the way we played. Ellon are a very dangerous team and we stepped up against them.” "In all the games where we have stepped up to the plate in defence and that is the benchmark that we have set ourselves. If we concede more we lose, but if we can hold them out we have a chance."
Squad: 15. J.McLennan 14. M.Robertson 13. M.White 12. J.Broadribb 11. R.Campbell 10. A.Moore 9. G.Leith
1. A.Sutherland 2. A.Cook 3. S.Mountain 4. D.Coull 5. T.Condon 6. C.Henry (c) 7. J.Dickinson 8. M.Fotheringham
16. B.Strachan 17. L.Roberts 18. P.Moon 19. B.Morris 20. B.Davies 21. C.Flett 22. E.Theron 23. B.Hardy
Report: Conor Henry
26/04/08 Super Twa's Edge Mackie to Secure Final Berth
Aberdeenshire 2nd XV 32-12 Mackie Academy FP 2nd XV
The Super Twa’s reached the Referee’s Cup final yesterday after ending brave Mackie’s adventure in a terrific clash at the Woodside Sports Complex. The Aberdeenshire giants will now return to Woodside – and an appointment with previous winners and North East rivals Ellon for the fourth time this season.
Mackie pushed ‘Shire to the limit on a sunny day. ‘Shire scored first through explosive hooker Andrew Cook, but then could not get quite finish Mackie off, with a lapse in concentration allowing Mackie a swift reply. ‘Shire grabbed the second try through recently crowned ‘Player’s Player of the Season’ Andrew Cook. After surviving a spell of intense pressure, Robin Campbell scored his fourth and fifth tries of the season
The winger deservedly both tries and were assisted by some risible tackling from his opposite number who will recoil in horror when he sees the replays. ‘Shire showed greater efficiency in attack, with Sean Mountain and Tim Condon crossing the gain line at every opportunity.
‘Shire increased the tempo of their game to give Moore a penalty goal but Mackie produced a spell of thoughtful, patient rugby that might have broken a less knowledgeable side. There was variation from Alfie Myles and it came all the harder for Mackie when they lost a forward to a injury. ‘Shire who were missing ‘Player of the Year’ Coull to a first half shoulder injury, had surpassed all expectations to reach the last four, demonstrated their worth against their streetwise opponents. They subjected Mackie to a nerve-shredding finish as they went in search of the fifth try that would ensure victory. Campbell was joined on the score sheet by Lachie Roberts , while Moore also booted two conversions during an enthralling encounter.
Squad: 15. J.Broadribb 14. M.Robertson 13. A.Myles 12. P.Moon 11. R.Campbell 10. A.Moore 9. M.White
1. R.Hempsey 2. A.Cook 3. S.Mountain 4. D.Coull 5. T.Condon 6. C.Henry (c) 7. J.Dickinson 8. M.Fotheringham
16. A.Sutherland 17. L.Roberts 18. D.Welsh 19. G.Leith 20. B.Davies 21. C.Flett
Tries: Campbell 2, Cook 2, Roberts
Cons: Moore 2
Report: Conor Henry
19/04/08 Super Twa's Top Group with Rout at Peterhead
Peterhead 1st XV 7-82 Aberdeenshire 2nd XV
Peterhead were buried beneath a fourteen-try avalanche as their Referee’s Cup run came to an abrupt end against a workmanlike but seriously clinical Aberdeenshire team that now face Mackie in the semi final next week.
It was the first time these two teams had played since ‘Shire’s inclusion in a higher league and, unfortunately for Peterhead, when measured against the Div 4NM big boys they were found wanting.
When the referee started to be more lenient at the breakdown and turn a blind eye to infringements offering Peterhead a lifeline, there seemed a possibility that Peterhead might be able to take advantage, but the truth was ‘Shire were playing their best rugby in the midfield going through the phases without any real penetration. To be fair, ‘Shire were far from lethal at this point, more often resorting to ambitious running with the final clinical pass often letting the side down, with Fotheringham and his bright orange gloves having a particularly unpleasant afternoon. It was early as the opening minute when it suddenly clicked into place and hooker Cook barreled over the line for the first try.
It was closely followed by outhalf Moore carving a path through the defence before passing to his colleague Broadribb for another easy try. The Super Twa’s 12, Broadribb, epitomised the difference between these sides at a uncharacteristically sunny Balmoor Park as he and his team-mates took the game to Peterhead from the start with an uncompromising blend of aggression and finishing to claim further excellent tries in the first half through John Dickinson and a fine grubber by prop Sean Mountain. With fly-half Moore varying attacks superbly, they effectively wrapped up victory by half-time.
If Peterhead still had hopes of recovering but ‘Shire slapped that idea down with a try minutes after the restart, full-back Maclennan making the ground before passing to flanker Dickinson for the touchdown. The Super Twa’s began to threaten a massacre. First the big lock Duncan Coull was shunted over the line by his pack. ‘Shire shifted from Plan A to Plan B and put the ball wide for Robin Campbell to score in the corner. Russell Hempsey charged in from a safe ’22 yards, and Mally White’s constant sniping at the fringes were also rewarded with a touchdown.
‘Head got one back when Robin Campbell ran round a defence that seemed to have switched off, but that only resulted in a Super Twa’s backlash that brought three tries in quick succession from Moon, Lachie Roberts and lock Fotheringham. Peterhead’s only consolation was preventing ‘Shire reaching the century, and showing the required pluck of underdogs by battling right to the end and being rewarded with a well-constructed try for the guesting Campbell to crash over under the posts.
‘Shire coach Allan Macreadie said: "We didn't expect it to be easy. Peterhead really got stuck into us early on and fought very hard but we played some nice stuff. We like the hard ground. It suits our way of playing and I think we switched off a bit towards the end.
There were no stars, but many heroes for the Super Twa’s on Saturday. Macreadie pinpointed the work of the midfield duo of Robertson & Broadribb and winger Campbell in stifling the Peterhead backs, and taking the game to them, while the pack earned praise for their ability to overcome the early hiccups and defend heroically on their line through concerted minutes of Peterhead pressure. There was precious little fluidity in the first half but an eagerness to work hard and an appetite for kicking deep and chasing. At times it was almost like sevens as the kicks were run back and tackles missed, and attacks swept into and petered out in 22s.
Super Twa’s captain Conor Henry commented after the game, "This time, we knew that if we could be a bit more accurate with the stuff we've been working on, that we could win - but it took a huge effort. "There was a lot of attacking; these are two sides that want to play with a lot of width, trying hard to get the offloads going. We don't always get them because the skills levels maybe aren't quite there, but we're working hard to play that type of rugby."
Squad: 15. J.Broadribb 14. D.Hewitt 13. J.McLennan 12. M.Robertson 11. R.Campbell 10. A.Moore 9. M.White
1. R.Hempsey 2. A.Cook 3. S.Mountain 4. D.Coull 5. T.Condon 6. C.Henry (c) 7. J.Dickinson 8. M.Fotheringham
16. P.Moon 17. B.Thomson 18. B.Strachan 19. L.Roberts
Tries: Broadribb 4, Cook 2, Moon 2, Roberts, Campbell, Dickinson, Coull, White, Robertson, Fotheringham, Mountain, Mclennan, Hempsey
Cons: Moore 4, White, Campbell
Report: Conor Henry
12/04/08 Coull, Campbell and Collected as Super Twa's Succeed at Ellon
Ellon 2nd XV 18-22 Aberdeenshire 2nd XV
Aberdeenshire cemented their position at top of Pool B in the Referee’s Cup with a 22-18 victory in the battle at The Meadows on Saturday. The conditions didn’t play as big a part as they had done in the previous mistake-strewn and tense affair at Westdyce, but Aberdeenshire did just enough to take the crucial points and put considerable daylight between themselves and the rest of the group.
A second-half try from Duncan Coull ensured that Allan Macreadies' side should be enough to secure a semi final place, but Ellon will be deeply disappointed at the outcome after missing three kicks at goal when the home side seemed they odds on for the victory. Aberdeenshire made a solid start with Alex Moore slotting a second minute penalty and an Ellon flanker sin binned from as early as the 8th minute for consistent infringements, though the visitors failed to take immediate advantage during this frantic start to the game, it was former ‘Shire player, Edwards who would prove to be the difference between the sides in the opening quarter.
The Super Twa’s continued with their patient phase play, and the ‘Ginja Ninja’s’ of Robin Campbell and Bruce Strachan proving their worth to the large traveling support. Strachan’s experience in the front row was never doubted throughout the afternoon, but it was Campbell’s, strength, skill and pace which will have caught the attention of the selectors. Campbell linked well with Leith to get ‘Shire’s opening try of the afternoon after a cheeky box kick over the Ellon defence.
The Super Twa’s urgency and physicality at the breakdown made it hard for Ellon to settle and after two unforced errors from Moore at out-half, Ellon were expected to come back into contention. With a converted try and penalty for the home side, a tense final quarter was expected. The Super Twa’s continued in the same vein after the restart with another break from Barrie splitting the Ellon defence and sent Condon plundering in search of the third try. The front eight provided a solid platform with Cook and Dickinson’s ball carrying being a great source of clean ball. Davies tackled with aggression throughout the contest and scrapped consistently in line with the laws of the game at each and every breakdown.
Super Twa’s Captain Conor Henry commented after the game, "Ellon tried to slow our ball down and they were given time to get to breakdowns in numbers and put pressure on us. When we got quick ball, that was when we had good phases. Trouble is, teams know that when we get quick ball, we are dangerous.”
There are few bigger frustrations for a team than to have to leave an arena with the opposition celebrating, and Super Twa’s deserved every plaudit for their solid, team performance today. ‘Shire look forward to their final pool fixture with Peterhead with every intention of progressing further in this competition.
A special mention must go to the injuried Duncan Healey who had to be taken to the hospital early in the second half. His injuries have turned out to be pretty bad with 2 broken ribs and shoulder damage. Everyone at the club wishes him well in his recovery and offers any support he may need.
Squad: 15. J.Broadribb 14. D.Healey 13. L.Barrie 12. B.Hardy 11. R.Campbell 10. A.Moore 9. G.Leith
1. B.Strachan 2. A.Cook 3. A.Sutherland 4. D.Coull 5. T.Condon 6. C.Henry (c) 7. B.Davies 8. J.Dickinson
16. P.Moon 17. D.Welsh 18. D.Hewitt
Tries: Campbell, Sutherland, Coull
Cons: Moore 2
Report: Conor Henry
05/04/08 Shire Just Do Enough For Runners Up Spot
Aberdeenshire 1st XV 36-0 RAF Kinloss
On yet another cold changeable spring day Aberdeenshire welcomed RAF Kinloss for their final league game of the season. You would be excused for thinking this years Old Crocks match had been brought forward when looking at the Shire team sheet with veterans such as Cantley, Howatt and Condon all included in the starting line up. There was also the addition of leisurely speedster Broadribb playing in the unfamiliar position of stand off half. However the day belonged to the clubs tatty loving Irishman Diarmuid O’Sullivan who was made honorary captain for his last game for the club after 6 good years service in the Shire pack.
Shire were shocked into action after the aging midfield of Broadribb, Cantley and Howatt were left floundering by the slight Kinloss 10 who waltzed through the pedestrian defence for the first serious attack of the game. Luckily enough cover was there to prevent a shock start to the game.
This did spring Shire into action and they then went onto dominate the next 20 minutes of the half with the forwards providing good quick ball for the excellent Penney to score a brace and Leith to gather his own chip and chase to give Shire a comfortable 18-0 lead. However much like the previous week Shire went off the boil with very little additional action being seen before the half time break.
The second half was poor viewing for spectators who braved the weather with Shire unable to raise their game and control much beyond that of the pucky makeshift Kinloss side. Shire huffed and puffed for 3 more scores from Christie, Broadribb and Steve Cook to make the final score 36-0 but really it should have been far more.
Shire did have the consolation from what was ultimately a disappointing season with this win confirming runners up spot in the league. One position better than last year, so lets hope that trend continues next season!
The club would like to wish Diarmuid O’Sullivan all the best on his move to Edinburgh and a second fairwell to Jake Law who will be moving on yet again. Also, all the best to Lackie and Mel Roberts who are heading back to Oz, both have contributed to the club in touch and senior rugby. Thanks to all for their great service to the club.
Squad: 15. M.Christie 14. S.Penney 13. R.Cantley 12. C.Howatt 11. L.Roberts 10. J.Broadribb 9. G.Leith
1. D.O’Sullivan (c) 2. A.Cook 3. A.Sutherland 4. J.Mason 5. M.Roulston 6. T.Condon 7. C.Livingston 8. J.Law
16. L.Smith 17. S.Cook 18. D.Coull
Tries: Penney 2, Leith, Christie, Broadribb, S.Cook
Cons: Cantley, Smith 2
Report: Gary Leith
Super Twa's Secure Victory in Westdyce Winter Wonderland
West Dyce 7-31 Aberdeenshire 2nd XV
The Super Twa’s installed themselves as one of the main contenders to lift the North District Referee’s Society Cup at Woodside come May 3 after an authoritative display at Westdyke Park yesterday. This was supposed to be a ding-dong North-East derby but, in the event, it fell a little flat thanks to the one-sided nature of much of the play.
After a series of uncharacteristic errors in the opening minutes, Westdyce took the lead to ensure that Aberdeenshire would be required to get involved a gutsy snowball fight in order to secure the points. Aberdeenshire needed to show some composure under pressure, yet the early signs pointed to a vastly-experienced Westdyce outfit taking control. The Super Twa’s enjoyed a concerted spell of territorial pressure, but their scrum could not make inroads, and allowed Westdyce too many opportunities but ended the half in loose control. Playing at a Test-match intensity, the Aberdeenshire men looked to dominate the opening 40 minutes in style, and they finally delivered when centre Gurr crossed wide out to round off a sweeping move. This action was closely followed by the visiting forwards, who took matters into hand and drove a lineout 20 yards which took the action to the Westdyce line. Prop Chris Kelly was held up before Sean Mountain eventually found a way through. Davies and his golden boots failed to add the conversion, but ‘Shire were good value for their 12-7 interval lead.
The second half started when debutant Matt Robertson scored the sort of try that most wingers only score in their dreams. The slight speedster was fed the ball around the halfway line and he picked a line off his right wing that split two defenders who should have done better. Not content with that, Robertson ran the ball up to the Westdyce fullback before engaging the afterburners and rounding the last man for a memorable solo score. But then Aberdeenshire added 19 unanswered points in what remained of the contest. No. 8, Mike Fotheringham skipped past some poor tackling to score under the posts before Yorkshire flanker John Dickinson dabbed down in much the same place after a neat inside/outside move.
With a handy advantage on the scoreboard, another Aberdeenshire try would put this one to bed but the atrocious weather, ambiguous and confusing application of the laws ensured the contest finished 7-31 in favour of the visitors who look forward to visiting the Meadows and renewing battle with Ellon in their next fixture.
In other news from the dressing room, Super Twa’s coach Allan MacCreadie has reportedly organised special educational sessions on 'the laws of the game' for Charlie Flett and Northern Irish flanker Michael McGowan. The off-field sessions are specially designed for rugby players and the gents are set to concentrate on a chapter entitled Why the 'clothes-line' is NOT a move used in rugby. Despite McGowan’s disciplinary problems in the past, the ‘Shire coaching staff value his contribution to team morale. McGowan always gets the players geed-up before games, calling out "let's get ready to rummmmmmmble" as they walk down the tunnel, a source close to the team revealed.
Squad: 15. P.Moon 14. C.Kelly 13. J.Gurr 12. B.Hardy 11. D.Welsh 10. J.Crockett 9. B.Morris
1. S.Mountain 2. T.McLeman 3. C.Flett 4. C.Henry (c) 5. M.McGowan 6. B.Davies 7. M.Fotheringham 8. J.Dickinson
Tries: Gurr, Mountain, Fotheringham, Dickinson, Robertson
Cons: Davies 3 *missed one in front of the posts
MoM: Fotheringham, Dickinson
Report: Conor Henry
29/03/08 Shire Turn Up For Home Encouter With Islanders
Aberdeenshire 1st XV 51-10 Orkney
Aberdeenshire welcomed the well travelled Orkney team to Woodside for yet another rearranged fixture. Shire had a lot to prove after loosing the away fixture earlier in the season in what was probably the teams worst performance of the season.
On a fine day for rugby Shire kicked off and from one of Orkney’s many mistakes on the day the home side were on attack. Shire started as well as they have all season and had the try bonus pointed wrapped up within 10 minutes. Scoring some of the best tries the side has scored all season with the forwards dominating the lineout and in open play all players showing fine handling skills to finish off overlaps. After 25 minutes the Shire players thought the game was won but Orkney had other ideas and began to test the Shire defence which for a short period looked tired by not pushing forward in defence and giving away cheap penalties. This lead to Orkney crossing the Shire line twice before the break to make sure the hosts knew there was a game still to play.
Shire started the second half better but the game turned into a bad tempered affair with players taking the law into their own hands as the referee let the game get away from him. At another breakdown that was a mess and with Orkney piling bodies over the ball yet again the usually mild mannered John Mason was yellow carded for trying to clear the ball with his feet in a dangerous manner according to the official. Captain for the day Gary Leith tried to explain to the ref that the frustration was coming from persistent cynical foul play of the visitors but his word yet again fell on deaf ears. With only a few minutes left on the sin bin Shire were struck yet another numerical blow. With Orkney’s wild backrow player making another questionable big tackle Shire’s Steve Cook was sinned binned for leading into the following ruck with his head? So Shire were down to 13 men. This seemed to inspire the Shire team and with the return of hot head Mason the 14 men finished as they started by creating quick ball and scoring at will to deservedly break the half centaury.
A mention must go to unlikely hat-trick hero Matt Christie who was on the end of the try of the game and MoM Gordon Kehoe who went about his business well and has got better and better the more he has played for the club. We wish Gordon well on his travels back to Canada and hope to see him back in Shire colours next season.
Squad: 15. R.Anderson 14. L.Barrie 13. J.Broadribb 12. A.Moore 11. M.Christie 10. D.Leslie 9. G.Leith (c)
1. S.Cook 2. A.Cook 3. D.O'Sullivan 4. J.Mason 5. G.Kehoe 6. T.Condon 7. C.Livingston 8. J.Law
16. A.Sutherland 17. M.Roulston 18. J.Gurr
Tries: Christie 3, A.Cook 2, Anderson, Barrie, O'Sullivan, Leith
Cons: Leslie 3
Report: Gary Leith
22/03/08 The Student Backline Teaches Shire a Lesson
St Andrews University 28-17 Aberdeenshire 1st XV
Aberdeenshire visited picturesque setting of St. Andrews to play a University side much changed from the previous weekends encounter. With no Scottish University duties this weekend the students were at full strength. Shire didn’t quite have that luxury with a number of players unavailable and Alex Moore and Mike McGowan having to call off at short notice. These players were replaced by Justin Gurr and Tim Condon respectively.
On quite a mild day compared to the winter weather of Aberdeen, Shire started slowly letting the speedy University backs get the upper hand when their pack could supply them ball. University possession was increased by Shire making basic handling errors and trying to attack their forwards in narrow channels too often. This possession paid off the hosts as a couple of quick phases lead to an overlap which was well finished by St Andrews left wing. Shire then began to gain territory and a good tackle and turnover by scrum half Leith lead to a penalty which stand off Leslie kicked to the corner for an attacking lineout 5 metres out. From this lineout Shire drove close to the line and hooker Cook then peeled off to the blindside to touchdown. Shire then began to pressure the home team playing a lot of rugby in their 22 but again to many 1 pass forward runners were being used and the defence weren’t tested enough. St Andrews soaked up this pressure and then turned the tables on the visitors playing some slick rugby to score 2 more tries. Shire managed to keep it close going into the break with quick thinking from Leslie which lead to him intercepting the St Andrews 10s pass at half way to score under the posts.
Shire started the second half much like the first not being able to string enough meaningful phases together to make the St Andrews defence work. The third quarter was mostly stalemate with the hosts having the territorial advantage. This paid off as poor backline defence and organisation lead to 2 more tries for the students. With the game getting away from them Shire to there credit fought on and were rewarded with a pushover try scored by blindside Condon. With time running out Shire again attacked and should have scored the bonus point forth try but with less than a metre to go try scorer Condon tried to take it on one time to many which lead to the referee awarding a suspect penalty to the hosts which ended the game.
This game was there to be won and if a more varied forward attack could have been put into play and winning more of our own lineout ball more possession would have came and the St Andrews defence would have been tested fully. Credit to the students who defended well and their backline was definitely the best we’ve played against all season bar Dundee High. Lessons must be learned and remembered for next seasons encounters as these are games we have to win.
A special thanks must go to Ryan Mountain who has came and supported the boys on every away game since his injury. Also thanks to everyone else who has travelled the to support the 1s this season.
Squad: 15. R.Anderson 14. M.MacLugash 13. L.Barrie 12. J.Gurr 11. J.McLennan 10. D.Leslie 9. G.Leith
1. S.Cook 2. A.Cook 3. D.O'Sullivan 4. D.Coull 5. M.Roulston (c) 6. T.Condon 7. C.Livingston 8. G.Kehoe
16. M.Fotheringham 17. M.White 18. R.Hempsey
Tries: A.Cook, Leslie, Condon
Report: Gary Leith
15/03/08 Shire To Strong For Late Students
Aberdeenshire 1st XV 35-19 St Andrews University
St Andrews University finally travelled to Woodside for this rearranged fixture after failing to fulfil their match responsibilities before Christmas. Shire started the game with the intent of winning. They controlled the first minutes and managed to score a try from some dominating forward play leading to Jamie Stephen finishing off some neat play from Sir David Leslie. Shire continued to dominate the first half scoring two tries from quick hands from the backs to see Michael MacLugash go over in the corner. Saints Uni showed some heart to scrape a try back before half time.
Shire started again as the left off. Using the forwards size, strength and experience to dominate the Uni pack which lead to a powerful drive from a lineout and Gary Leith break off the back and dive over the line to score Shires 4th. Again Shire continued to dominate and some good back play saw Alex Moore trot over the line for Shires 5th try of the afternoon. Saints Uni showed some heart and managed to pull back two tries before a brilliant pass from Dave Leslie saw Shire's Hooker, Andrew Cook, brush through two tackles and step the full back to finish the Uni team off with Shire's 6th try.
A well deserved victory for Shire gives the team a good platform to work from, ahead of next weeks return match away to St Andrews University.
Squad: 15. R.Anderson 14. M.MacLugash 13. L.Barrie 12. A.Moore 11. J.Stephen 10. D.Leslie 9. M.White
1. A.Sutherland 2. A.Cook 3. D.O'Sullivan 4. J.Mason 5. M.Roulston (c) 6. C.Livingston 7. J.Law 8. G.Kehoe
16. L.Roberts 17. G.Leith 18. S.Mountain
Tries: Stephen, MacLugash 2, Leith, Moore, A.Cook
Report: Andrew Cook
01/03/08 A Good Second Half Isn't Enough To See Shire Through
Lasswade 13-11 Aberdeenshire 1st XV
Aberdeenshire visited National 3 Lasswade in the first round of the Shield confident of a another National league scalp. Aberdeenshire must have still been in awe of Lasswade’s impressive Grandstand and facilities, as they kicked off with a strong wind at their backs as the visitors couldn’t capitalise on this advantage. Instead it was Lasswade who played the conditions better and run the ball well against a loose Shire defence. This play was rewarded with a drive over try midway through the first half for a deserved lead for the hosts. Shire finally got something from their wind advantage with a penalty converted by Leslie for a half time score of 5-3.
No number of changes were made at the break with the impressive White moving from scrum half to centre, Moore moving to stand off and Leith replacing Leslie. Initially this didn’t help Shire’s cause as with only minutes on the clock the referee decided that a second penalty in Shire’s 5 metre area warranted a yellow card for the replacement Leith. Now this was a very harsh decision as this offence was touch and go if it was a penalty at all and it would be difficult to justify this yellow card in a top level game. Lasswade took advantage of the extra man and scored another drive over try to extend their lead to 10-3. To their credit Shire held out the rest of the sin bin period and began to get a grip on the match when they returned to full strength.
With some impressive lineout drives Shire were within metres of the Lasswade line but from the ensuing penalty a quick tap was taken and the ball was knocked on to take the pressure off the home side. At that point a senior player should go there hands on the ball and kicked for another lineout but you can’t knock the players for having a go. Yet more pressure was put on by the Shire pack and this time it was rewarded with another penalty converted by Moore. However this was quickly cancelled out by penalty for the Lasswade making the score 13-6. This didn’t dampen Shire spirits and again they rumbled into the hosts 22 and from another well driven lineout stand off Moore was the unlikely scorer from the impressive Shire maul. The missed conversion from wide out made the score 13-11 with around 10 minutes to go. Shire attacked right until the final whistle but a knock on relieved the home players and supporters as they just hung on for a hard fought win.
Squad: 15. R.Anderson 14. S.Penney 13. L.Barrie 12. A.Moore 11. M.Christie 10. D.Leslie 9. M.White
1. A.Sutherland 2. S.Mountain 3. D.O'Sullivan 4. J.Mason 5. M.Roulston (c) 6. C.Livingston 7. J.Law 8. G.Kehoe
16. S.Cook 17. E.Theron 18. G.Leith
Pens: Leslie, Moore
MoM: White, Theron
Report: Gary Leith
16/02/08 Shire Struggle To Reach The Premier Level
Aberdeenshire 1st XV 12-99 Dundee High School FP
After taking the scalp of National 1 Hillfoots / Alloa in the previous round Aberdeenshire now looked forward to one of the biggest games the club had played in recent memory. Premiership 1 big guns Dundee HSFP were the visitors for this forth round Scottish Cup tie. This was the first time a Premier 1 side has visited Woodside since the league restructure.
With a hard frost on the ground the game was in doubt at 9:00am but the sun came out and the pitch was in perfect condition for running rugby in time for kickoff. The biggest crowd on the season turned up to watch the only Premier 1 action in Aberdeen this season.
Before the game the Shire squad were well aware of the occasion and looked ready for business. Although straight from kickoff Dundee put their game plan into action by running the ball and keeping out of contact which lead to a score with less than a minute on the clock.
This was just the start Shire had tried to plan against and as was feared the Premiership 1 strugglers gained confidence and went from strength to strength playing some excellent high paced rugby which the Shire defence just couldn't cope with. With a little over 10 minutes played the team 6 divisions above their hosts were out of site.
When Aberdeenshire did get hold of the ball they made some headway and were even putting some pressure on the Dundee line towards the end of the first half only for the ball to be turned over and Dundee to run the length for the ultimate sucker punch try. Half time score of 0 - 66.
The second half was much more of a contest with Aberdeenshire putting in a stronger performance by gaining more possession and being able to play the game at their own pace.
The attitude of the entire Aberdeenshire squad was excellent throughout and they never let the heads go down and continued to support each other. This teamwork paid off as Shire crossed the Dundee line twice with two well worked tries from Matt Christie and Steve Penney with Dangerous Dave Leslie converting one. The second half score finishing a more respectable 12 - 33 to the visitors.
The back three of Jamie Stephen, Steve Penney and Matt Christie all deserve a special mention for their tireless work in defense and attack throughout the game. Also a mention must be given to the Shire support who came out in numbers to cheer on the boys.
A big thanks must go to Dundee HSFP who came here with a full squad and played an open exciting brand of rugby. Aberdeenshire need to learn from playing such high quality opposition that the team must play their own game at their own pace which will improve defensive organisation which was lacking too often in this game. However the players can gain a lot from this game and take the determination and spirit shown into the first round of the Sheild competion against Lasswade.
Also watch out for next month's edition of Scrum magazine as there should be an article about Dundee High's visit to Woodside.
Squad: 15. M.Christie 14. S.Penney 13. R.Anderson 12. A.Moore 11. J.Stephen 10. D.Leslie 9. G.Leith
1. S.Cook 2. S.Mountain 3. A.Sutherland 4. J.Mason 5. M.Roulston (c) 6. B.Davies 7. C.Livingston 8. G.Kehoe
16. D.O’Sullivan 17. T.Condon 18. J.Broadribb 19. D.Coull
Tries: Christie, Penney
Report: Mike Roulston / Gary Leith
Super Twa's Cut Down in Tough Ellon Lesson
Ellon 38-0 Aberdeenshire 2nd XV
Conor Henry believes that some good can come from the Super Twa’s 38-0 League defeat by Ellon – if ‘Shire heed lessons from Saturday’s game at The Meadows they will surely reverse their recent losing streak. "We front up week-in and week-out. We have to make sure we move up a grade and we continue to do that," Henry said as the ‘Shire players trooped dejectedly off the pitch. "It was a big jump up for us today but we have got a team that performs regardless of the opposition.” Aberdeenshire, missing a regular front row all season, continued to ask more of their players, and with the 1st XV hosting the DHSFP at Woodside, Coull and Condon were replaced by Kelly and debutant Brice A.
In fact, Ellon were 19-0 up at half-time and looked to be cruising. The Meadows men were on song, varying the play so that the ‘Shire defence didn't know which way to turn, and their outhalf was causing havoc every time he touched the ball. But Ellon gradually increased the pressure, flinging the ball from one side of the field to the other in their trademark 100mph style, forcing the visitors back until a gap emerged and Milburn flew through it, with the conversion added from the touchline. Although Ellon controlled the half, they had started out slowly. Shire continued to work their way back through a power play by their pack which won a five-metre lineout and allowed flanker Lachlan Roberts to roll off the side of the maul and set Fotheringham up for the try which was judged to have been held up by the referee.
Shire put the squeeze on at the start of the second half, using their forwards to win ball and gain territory but their backs just didn't carry the same threat with an aggressive Ellon defence not conceding any advantage. A large number of unforced errors ensured a scrappy afternoon which the referee happily allowed to continue despite having the power and ability to clarify the breakdown. This misinterpretation of the law allowed a free for all at the breakdown with both sides taking the law into their own hands, fists and boots on a number of occasions.
Nottingham Forest had lost a couple of games and the team's confidence was low. They waited with some apprehension in the dressing-room for Brian Clough's pre-match talk. He would give them a right roasting. Instead the great man strolled in, tossed a ball on to the floor, said, "that's a football, go out and play with it," and left. I think it exemplifies the attitude the Super Twa’s should take into their last two matches of this league campaign. At present they look tense and unsure of themselves, making the small elementary mistakes that render coherent and successful rugby impossible. Time to tell them to go out on the field and enjoy themselves. Such an approach couldn't produce worse performances or worse results. It's not that the players aren't trying; they may be trying too hard.
Up front we have been solid enough in the set-piece and our line-out has generally been adequate. But there's a sad lack of fire and our rucking has been abysmal, our counter-rucking (which is what either produces turnovers or slows up the opposition's ball) almost non-existent. We are overdoing the pick-and-drive, especially since precious little drive follows the pick. I doubt if Dave Roberts has received quick clean ball six times in the last two matches. Changes in personnel will do nothing for us unless there's a change in attitude. We may also pray for a change of luck. Certainly the bounce of the ball has gone against us; it's cost Tim Condon and Mike Fotheringham a try in recent matches. But that's how it goes. When a team is out of form, it's almost always out of luck too.
Squad: 15. M.MacLugash 14. D.Hewitt 13. R.Cantley 12. L.Barrie 11. B.Morris 10. R.Campbell 9. M.McCardle
1. B.Thomson 2. N.Smith 3. C.Henry (c) 4. T.McLeman 5. M.Fotheringham 6. L.Roberts 7. C.Flett 8. D.Roberts
16. D.Welsh 17. F.Brice 18. C.Kelly 19. C.Howatt
Report: Conor Henry
09/02/08 Excellent Team Performance Rewards Shire with Home Premiership Tie
Aberdeenshire 1st XV 10-0 Hillfoots / Alloa
Aberdeenshire welcomed Hillfoots/Alloa to Woodside in the third round of the Scottish Cup. This was seen as a stern test for Aberdeenshire as Hillfoots/Alloa are currently plying their trade in National League Division 1. What better opportunity for Shire to show that they are capable of playing at a higher level. To make the cup tie more interesting the winners would face Dundee High in the 4th round at home. Shire despite many injuries to key players put out a decent side on the day and had every confidence of causing an upset.
Shire were dominated the game straight from the kick off retaining possession at will and bullying the opposition all over the park. However, despite the lion’s share of possession Shire failed convert the many scoring opportunities into tries. There were some telling runs into the opponents 22 in the first half especially from Alex Moore and Liam Barry, however, the Hillfoots defence held firm.
Gordon Kehoe had his best game by far in a Shire shirt and made good yards from restarts. He was ably supported by the rest of the backrow and overall the strength of the Shire pack proved to be too much for the Hillfoots pack. This was no where more apparent than in the scrums where Shire pushed their opposition at will and managed to secure quite a few turnovers in the process. The coaching staff’s use of the bench played dividends with some fresh legs, Shire pressed harder and harder into the Hillfoots half. The introduction of Andy Manson (playing his last game for Shire before going to Korea) meant that Shire competed better than ever at rucks and managed to turn over a lot of opposition ball.
Robbie Anderson had a great game and was well assured under high balls and set off on a number of counter attacks that almost resulted in scores. In defence Robbie was resolute and put in some big hits on the Hillfoots opposition on their rare excursions into the Aberdeenshire half.
The two Aberdeenshire wingers Steve Penney and Jamie Robertson also had some telling breaks into the Hillfoots half. However, the only score of the first half came from the boot of Dave Leslie with a well taken penalty.
In the second half Shire raised the tempo and began attacking the Hillfoots line a lot more. They kicked to the corners and tried for driving lineouts and managed to inch closer and closer to the Hillfoots line. The breakthrough came when Steve Cook got the ball near the Hillfoots try line and managed to bulldoze his way over from five yards (which Dave Leslie converted). This is why “Big Cook” is top of the try scoring list with 10 tries so far this season. This score was met with great celebration from the home support as they knew that Hillfoots would not come back from this based on the amount of possession and domination that Shire had throughout the game.
One of the most positive parts of the game from a Shire point of view was that the lineout worked very well on the day with Shire winning almost 100% of their own lineout ball. This particular issue had been a major factor in some of Shire more disappointing performances earlier in the season. A lot of credit has to go to the lineout jumpers Gordon Kehoe, John Mason and Mike Roulston, but the sure throwing of Shaun Mountain was the telling factor on the day. Also the kicking game of the half backs Leith and Leslie in the second half was invaluable in keeping the pressure on the National 1 visitors.
This was a great win for Shire and it means that for the first time since the restructuring of the leagues Aberdeenshire host a Premier 1 club at home in Scotland's major cup competion. Who’s the say that they can’t pull of an upset if they manage to convert possession into points, however, whatever the outcome it is sure to be a great day for the club.
Squad: 15. R.Anderson 14. S.Penney 13. L.Barry 12. A.Moore 11. J.Stephen 10. D.Leslie 9. G.Leith
1. S.Cook 2. S.Mountain 3. A.Sutherland 4. D.O’Sullivan 5. M.Roulston (c) 6. B.Davies 7. C.Livingston 8. G.Kehoe
16. M.Christie 17. A.Manson 18. J.Mason
Report: Diarmuid O’Sullivan
Super Twa's Edged In Granite City Derby
Aberdeenshire 2nd XV 18-24 Gordonians
The opening weekend of the Six Nations was littered with that phenomenon known as 'the entirely predictable shock'. Despite whipping themselves into a frenzy of optimism not seen since the final episode of Rab C. Nesbitt, Scotland turned out to be predictably rubbish and look well placed to defend the wooden spoon they worked hard to get their hands on at last year's Championship.
After a week of comfort-eating deep fried Mars bars and drinking Irn Bru, the last thing the Scots needed is a trip to Cardiff to listen to Katherine Jenkins trying to shatter glass and fire up the already deliriously happy Welsh fans at the Millennium Stadium. Local rugby supporters were given the pre match entertainment at Woodside, with Gordonians and the Super Twa’s renewing acquaintances for their second Granite City duel of the season.
They are still building, still rediscovering confidence and they played only in bursts. The lack of conviction in their finishing cost them the three or four extra tries they so thoroughly deserved. But the Super Twa’s are climbing. Gordonian’s sealed victory with a glorious try by the centre after 67 minutes. The game was hotly contested as local derbies are, with the opening 40 minutes not being without controversy. Gordonian’s second try was awarded by official McCaskie as the Gordon’s winger left toe came perilously close to the touchline as he danced his way over, and as his left thigh came perilously close to wiping out the corner flag. However, Aberdeenshire coach and stand in referee Chris McCaskie continued to endear himself to the Super Twa’s when judging that Condon’s impressive drive over the line was held up. Had the Aussie been in the correct position when the ball was grounded, there would have been no contesting this score really and the referee would not have been making a tartan spectacle of himself.
This was a match between two teams of attacking intent. ‘Shire tribulations in converting pressure and energy into points began in the opening passage of play when McCardle and Law opening the defence up. Law opened the scoring with penalty from 24m. The extravagant talent of Michael MacLuash and Duncan Coull made things happen and with Robbie Cantley at his steaming best in midfield and Dave Roberts delightful skills illuminated, Aberdeenshire played some delightful rugby. Tom McLeman had another miracle match, so heavily involved that it was as if he was out there as one of three identical triplets. Charlie Flett was a considerable force in the front five and Andrew Falconer is discovering himself at the back. Aberdeenshire offered a defence vastly improved from the debacle against Perthshire. Throughout the half, it was the same story, most notably when a glorious pass from McCardle unlocked the Gordon’s defence and delivered a cool pass to Cantley running free down the left. There were many other golden chances but ‘Shire, no doubt to their own fury, managed to convert only one further oppportunity. The effervescent Maclennan attacked after catching a kick ahead and when ‘Shire moved the ball to the left, electric handling from MacLuash and Roberts put the impressive Coull through on the angle and cut the cover to pieces to score.
Throughout the match, you sensed that ‘Shire were only two scores away from a achieving landslide such was the balance between the sides and after they let the pace drop at the start of the second half, they cranked it up again. A lapse in concentration allowed Gordon’s back into proceedings with two tries from stretching the Super Twa’s defence. At the very end, Aberdeenshire pressed hard for a consolation try. Gordonian’s had no intention of allowing it.
The game ended close to the Gordons line with the Super Twa’s desperately in search of one further try. They worked a clever lineout move with Tim Condon taking the ball at the back and flicking it to Ben Thomson. For half a second, the line opened up before the scrum-half Roberts, then it closed as he threw a pass that went behind to McCardle who stormed through to have the last word. The chance was taken, final scored Aberdeenshire 2nd XV 18 – 24 Gordonidians 2nd XV.
Super Twa’s Captain Conor Henry commented at the end of the game. “We weren't a million miles off against Gordonian’s, we just weren't clinical enough and that's not unusual in a friendly match of this nature. The challenge then was to build on that and it's fair to say there's almost a sense of relief that we got that performance today with the squad we had. We felt that performance was in the team and it was certainly good to get it out there. The lads put a lot of thought into having a big game and they were happy. They showed a lot of intent and intensity to fight back into the game.
Squad: 15. J.McLennan 14. M.MacLugash 13. R.Cantley 12. A.Falconer 11. D.Hewitt 10. M.McCardle 9. D.Roberts
1. N.Callanghan 2. B.Thomson 3. C.Henry (c) 4. T.McLeman 5. C.Flett 6. D.Coull 7. J.Law 8. T.Condon
16. D.Welsh 17. P.Chalmers 18. C.Kelly 19. J.Crockett
Tries: Cantley, McCardle, Coull
MoM: MacLugash / Coull
Report: Conor Henry
26/01/08 Resurgent Super Twa's Forced to Settle For Second Best
Aberdeenshire 2nd XV 17-21 Selkirk
If events at the end of this week talk of the waywardness and ills of Robert Burns, and yet endeavour to underline just how meaningful and important a figure in Scottish history the Ayrshire writer turned out to be, we saw on Saturday a proud Super Twa’s rugby team killing the notion that they were rugby's equivalent of the pretty, twinkle-toed performers for whom fleeting entertainment held sway over the integrity of peers.
Sclatches of mud, bucketfuls of sweat and tears of anguish were all in evidence at Woodside as the hosts fought tooth and nail to ensure Selkirk were given a rigorous examination.
After the disappointment of seeing last weekend's home defeat against Perthshire, The Super Twa’s were handed the much harder task of entertaining Selkirk at Woodside and, if it wasn't entirely convincing, they eventually did restore confidence sharing a six try thriller to the delight of the watching masses.
‘Shire watched the visitors race into a commanding lead before slowly but surely reeling them in until a try from Liam Barratt with ten minutes left on the clock brought the home side to within 4 points of their guests. It was as close as they got. The only difference between the two sides being a missed conversion in each half from McCardle and the guesting Fergusson.
"What has brought us the performance was the camaraderie," Twa’s Captain Conor Henry added, pointing to his team-mates enjoying the moment of being so close the Borderers team. "We are a really tight unit, we gelled this week and I think that it shows on the pitch." It was a fascinating match that ebbed and flowed with one side then the other having the whip hand. The visitors were under the cosh for long periods of the 80 minutes. Selkirk were overly reliant upon a muscular forward pack but this Super Twa’s side are not easily bullied.
After going comfortably ahead, though, Selkirk promptly took their foot off the gas and let a stuffy Super Twa’s side back into this match. The home forwards, led by John Mason and Tim Condon, began to make inroads into the heart of the Selkirk defence. The home team enjoyed a long period of pressure in Selkirk's red zone and, if they had used all the overlaps they would have had a healthy lead.
‘Shire were forced into increasingly desperate defence and how they managed to concede four penalties in quick succession inside their own 22 without anyone being shown a yellow card will remain one of life's mysteries. In addition Selkirk held out numerous attacks, with the powerful support play provided by Thomson, O’Shaugnessy and Coull and the elusive running of full back John Maclennan being particularly impressive.
The first 20 minutes of the second half was a real forward battle with no quarter given and defence to the fore. It was always going to take something special to get the next points and it came from ‘Shire centre and man-of-the-match Liam Barratt. He fielded a kick in his own half, skipped past a couple of challenges and ran 30 metres to score in the corner. Fergusson added the conversion. ‘Shire gave expression to their talent with some impressive handling rugby that resulted with a try for Fergusson , the fly-half racing up the right touchline for a score in the corner. The glorious product at the end of what was a passage of sheer indulgent rugby.
The fightback by ‘Shire continued but despite a siege on the Selkirk line, there was no points dividend for the visitors. What really mattered for ‘Shire was a rediscovery of the form that gave the Granite City side such a good league run early in the season. Henry commented at the final whistle, "when we've got the ball we are able to do things with it. We didn't play as well as we might have liked or as well as at other times in the season, but what we did show here was the character that has got us through this season.”
Squad: 15. J.McLennan 14. M.MacLugash 13. L.Barrie 12. C.Howatt 11. D.Robertson 10. M.McCardle 9. D.Roberts
1. D.O’Sullivan 2. N.Smith 3. S.Cook 4. J.Mason 5. M.Fortheringham 6. C.Henry (c) 7. L.Roberts 8. T.Condon
16. B.Thomson 17. G.Fergusson 18. D.Coull 19. M.White 20. B.O'Shaugnessy 21. P.Chalmers 22. D.Hewitt 23. S.Penney
24. L.Legendre 25. B.Davies 26. D.Welsh
Tries: Mason, Barrie, Fergusson
Report: Conor Henry
20/01/08 Not Quite The Centuary In The Return Fixture
Waid Academy FP 0-83 Aberdeenshire 1st XV
Aberdeenshire left Aberdeen early on Saturday morning to make the trip south to Anstruther to face Waid Academy in their second League encounter in almost as many weeks. Shire were hopinCentaury g to put in another good performance on the back of the post-new year victory that saw them blitz their opposition by 107 points to nil.
Shire travelled knowing that they could not take that result for granted as Waid would undoubtedly provide stiffer opposition on their own turf, especially if they could field 15 players for the full 80 minutes.
The team was largely unchanged, but Shire welcomed back A. Cook, D. O’Sullivan, J. Gurr and A. Rogers who were unavailable for the previous encounter. As Shire arrived in Anstruther, there was an air of confidence about the squad as they went about their warm-up and preparations for the match.
This confidence carried into the opening minutes of the match as Shire tore into the Waid backline with some good ball carrying and scored their first try wide on the right after a solid break and some fast recycling from the forwards opened up the Waid defence and Shire powered over for the opening try.
Coach Chris McCaskie had barely had time to note the scorer and the fact that D. Leslie had actually missed the conversion before Shire crossed the try line again.
Some good forward play drove the Waid defence right onto the back foot and from a well constructed ruck 5 metres out, scrum-half Leith fired a quick pass out to fly-half Leslie whos quick decision to change the play to the blind side saw him create a three-on-two overlap. He drew his man perfectly before releasing Davies who’s quick pass put winger Stephen in at the corner.
Shortly after, Shire went in for their third try of the day only to have it disallowed by the referee. A great run from Livingston saw him break a couple of tackles before a desperate covering player managed to pull him down 5 metres from the line, the resulting pass from the floor put supporting back row partner Davies in for the try but the referee adjudged the pass to have gone forward to the disappointment of this reporter!
However, it wasn’t long before Shire got their third try and and their first glimpse of the illusive bonus point. Again, some quick interplay between backs and forwards was the key and Waid were starting to look like they might concede a cricket score if they didn’t do something to slow down the Shire onslaught.
It was at this point that things started to go a little bit awry for Shire as they tried to force plays and became a little indecisive in the quest for the fourth try. Waid started to get some joy in slowing things down and taking the sting out of the game as Shire began to get a little loose around the rucks and mauls, not imposing themselves on the opposition and letting Waid dictate terms around the contact zone. Shire were just not being ruthless enough in clearing out the rucks and as a result, Waid were able to impinge upon the offside line at will and although getting penalised for it, it stopped Shire playing at the pace they wanted to play at.
A little bit of frustration started to creep into the Shire play at this point and a silly infringement gave the referee no option but to award a penalty about 20 yards out , almost dead centre. Fortunately for Shire, the Waid fly-half missed the penalty and Shire’s clean sheet was still intact.
This scare served as a wake up call for Shire and after a polite chat from captain Roulston, they started to tighten things up and looked to release their back line with a little more regularity and slowly but surely this started to pay dividends as the Waid defence couldn’t handle the pace and running lines of the shire backs.
The last 10 minutes of the half saw Shire consolidate the Try bonus point with tries 4, 5 and 6 to take a comnfortable lead into the break.
The second half started a little slower than the first half, but it wan’t long before Shire finally started to grind down the Waid resistance and they began looking like they could score at will. The forwards were now starting to control things in the tight and when the ball went to the backs, the Waid defence were getting stretched trying to keep up with the pace at which the ball was moved around.
It was therefore no surprise that Shire ran in a further 7 tries in the second half to inflict another heavy defeat on Waid, who, credit where credits due, never gave up and made sure Shire had to work hard to produce the scores.
In the end however, Shire were carrying too much firepower in every area of the pitch and despite Waid’s best efforts, ran out 83-0 winners.
This was a good away result for Shire who, as expected, were made to work a lot harder than the last time the two teams met.
This week it was the turn of vice-captain Leith to be named as man of the match (something I was trying to keep out of this report). “Bilbo” had one of his best games of the season as he controlled his pack from scrum-half and never stopped talking and encouraging the rest of the team when captain Roulston took a well earned break during the second half.
Although Leith was named MOM, it was a good team performance with a lot of highlights. Andrew Cook again showed what a great prospect he is running in a hat-trick of tries. O’ Sullivan, returning from his Christmas break at a Guiness retreat put in a fantastic shift in the second row along with captain Roulston who got on the scoresheet again with try number 3 in two games. Not bad for the oldest player in the squad! And another good points day for Leslie – 5 for his try and 20 with the boot.
Squad: 15. A.Moore 14. R.Anderson 13. J.Broadribb 12. M.Snell 11. J.Stephen 10. D.Leslie 9. G.Leith
1. R.Hempsey 2. A.Cook 3. A.Sutherland 4. J.Mason 5. M.Roulston (c) 6. B.Davies 7. C.Livingston 8. G.Kehoe
16. J.Gurr 17. S.Cook 18. A.Rodgers
Tries: A.Cook 3, Leith 2, Stephen 2, Broadribb, S.Cook, Gurr, Kehoe, Roulston, Leslie
Cons: Leslie 10
Report: Barry Davies
Super Twa's Left To Reflect On Shortcomings
Aberdeenshire 2nd XV 5-55 Perthshire
It must have been doubly galling for the coach that his team gifted five first half tries to their visitors which left them a mountain to climb but they never really looked like scaling the heights.
As we have come to expect, Aberdeenshire showed admirable spirit but it was not enough to paper over the rustiness in the squad and, to make matters worse, the home side set some sort of record for unforced errors. In wintry conditions, a number of home players looked nowhere near the potential they had shown in the first half of the season. Time and again Aberdeenshire attacks came to naught as support play was absent. In truth this Aberdeenshire side has limited shortcomings but they were ruthlessly exposed against a side of Perthshire experience. Everything starts with the big men and Aberdeenshire’s re-jigged tight five proved they could match the best at the scrum.
The reshuffle clearly disrupted their momentum, allowing the hosts to finish convincing winners of Div 4 NM. Despite the selection shake-up, Coach MacCreadie has insisted his side still had the firepower to potentially add the league scalp of Perthshire to those of Ellon and Hillfoots/Alloa. But when it came to the crunch, they were unable to offer meaningful resistance to a club with such remarkable pedigree. The writing was on the wall as early as the second minute when the opposite scrum-half edged Perthshire in front with a quick tap penalty to score under the posts.
It was the same pattern after the restart, with Aberdeenshire earning plenty of possession and territory – but being unable to match their opponents when it came to turning pressure into points. Though they did finish with something of a flourish. The line out provided clean ball, at the resulting phase break down, Duncan Coull cleared out, with Dave Roberts finding Conor Henry and then Steve Pirie, Henry on the loop was able to release Cantley and Fotheringham with David Robertson adding a textbook wingers try to offer a scant consolation for the efforts provided by the Aberdeenshire side.
Super Twa’s skipper Conor Henry insisted the scoreline had flattered Perthshire and claimed he was delighted with his side's display "in bits and pieces." Henry declared: "We did a lot of positive things and it was good to get a try near the end. "But we damaged ourselves by allowing them to score two early tries when we had been on the attack in the first half. "That was 10 points we handed them – and there is no way you can get away with doing that against a side of their quality."
Still a large number of supporters on Saturday afternoon showed that people will come out and support success and after the promising start to the season, the Super Twa’s need to take the next, hugely difficult, step up the ladder.
Squad: 15. R.Cantley 14. S.Pirie 13. C.Howatt 12. M.Christie 11. D.Robertson 10. LBarrett 9. M.McCardle
1. N.Smith 2. H.Llewlyan 3. C.Flett 4. B.Thomson 5. M.Fortheringham 6. C.Henry (c) 7. D.Coull 8. D.Roberts
16. C.Kelly 17. E.Theron 18. L.Smith 19. M.White
Report: Conor Henry