Aberdeenshire RFC

Aberdeenshire RFC

Season 2008/2009

25/04/09 Shire Dominate Semi But Leave Crowd Waiting

Aberdeenshire 1st XV 15-6 Ross High

After the emotional high of clinching the league title and receiving the trophy and winners medals at the previous nights annual dinner the Shire squad looked forward to yet another massive game at Woodside this season. The 22 man squad did not celebrate fully at the end of season celebration as a trip to Murrayfield was far too important for all involved with the club.

National 3 strugglers Ross High were the opponents but their current status wasn’t taken lightly by coach and players and the game was highlighted as being the biggest challenge of the season, truly gauging how far the team had progressed. It was clear as soon as the visitors arrived at fortress Woodside that there was an air of confidence within their squad as they strutted around the pitch. This was seen further as the Ross High squad deliberately walked through the Shire warm up which only proved to further fire up an already highly motivated Shire squad.

With a sudden change in the weather just before kick off saw a bright dry day turn into an overcast wet afternoon. With the roar of yet another large home crowd Shire received the kick off and a quick catch and pass from openside Selby led to Leith kicking for territory into the Ross High half. This was to set the tone of the match with the home team spending the majority of the first period in the visitors half. The Shire pack began to test out the Ross High 8 upfront and initially the larger opposition held firm but with the ball moved slightly wider the defence began to weaken. With a sharp turnover by the Shire backrow and midfield Leith kicked in behind the flat defence but was hit late by a frustrated Ross High forward which was spotted by the eagle eyed referee who penalised from where the kick landed. Cole duly stepped up to slot the 3 pointer to give the home side a deserved early lead.

Shire continued to control territory and possession and this should have led to the first try of the afternoon. From a number of well controlled phases Shire were on the front foot, with a tempting short side to attack and the Ross High back 3 out of position Leith again decided to kick, the pinpoint grubber sat up nicely just over the try line and with the defence nowhere to be seen it looked a formality for right wing Penney to touch down but with Cole also in close pursuit both went for the ball only to get in each others way and knock the slick ball on. Although frustrated the team continued to play positive rugby and harry the opposition at every opportunity. This positive rugby was sometimes played in the wrong areas of the field and from a kick through from the burly visiting 10 indecision in the Shire back 3 led to Ross High gaining possession in the hosts half for the first time in the match. From this a soft penalty was conceded which was in kicking range and converted to even the score at 3-3.

This soft score rallied the Woodside team and they were back attacking in the Ross High half from the restart. Play continued in this area for a prolonged period with the Edinburgh team only easing the pressure by clearing to touch when Shire tried to force the pass in damp conditions. This pressure did tell and from a set piece in the 22 the ball was shipped to Cole who spotted the full back out of position and put in a lovely weighted chip which bounced up high and with the outstanding Anderson leaping highest to make the grab and wriggle down for the score the home crowd finally had a try to cheer for! With the conversion missed the scored still flattered the visitors at 8-3.

With the first half coming to an end Ross High gained some relief with a midfield scrum. From a simple move the visitor’s big centre managed to slip the tackle but with plenty of Shire cover kicked for territory into the Shire 22. With a controlled lineout restart no danger seemed likely for the hosts but when the ball reached Cole his attacking instinct took over but failing to connect fully with the kick the ball sat up for the oncoming defence and from the gathered ball Shire were about to gift the opposition a try but a superb cover tackle from Cole’s midfield mate Anderson saved the day. From the ensuing breakdown Shire were unlucky to be penalised and again the portly Ross High fly-half converted the 3 point attempt. The half time whistle was sounded straight after to the real frustration of the Shire team. Half time score 8-6.

Some wise words from coach Strachan at the break settled the aggravated home squad and prepared them to start the 2nd half in the positive manner required. Fly-half Cole was replaced by Moore due to a shoulder knock and this seen Snell move from inside centre into the pivot role of 10. Shire tightened up there play and began to use the kicking game more to their advantage. With Leith peppering the suspect Ross High wingers with well placed box kicks and good territorial kicking from Snell and Moore Shire pressed even more. Another golden opportunity wasn’t long in coming to the hosts. From some good forward play in the 22 a good hard line was ran by Cook on a 1-2 ball which broke him free down the blindside and with a number of defenders hanging off him he managed to free his hands to pass to the supporting Leith but the pass didn’t stick to his dismay. Again Shire reacted well to the disappointment and continued to press for the next score. The game was then played at midfield for a period but a great kick chase from the Shire backline led to the Ross High full-back being turned over in possession, from quick ball the returning Cole had the space and pace to beat the shorthanded defence to cruise round for the crucial and long overdue try. With the conversion successful the Shire lead increased to 15-6. With the game nearing the fulltime whistle Shire controlled the game with yet more quality tactical kicking and excellent chasing from the backline. More tries could have came but the wet weather made handling that bit tougher. To their credit Ross High never gave up but never looked like breaking the solid Shire defence from their own play. The final whistle finally came to the shear delight of players and fans alike.

Yes a game which should have been won by more but semi-finals are all about results and Shire certainly covered that! The team readdressed the game plan at half time and credit must go to the forwards and backs for sticking to that plan. This win was the icing on a fantastic season for the club and everyone now looks forward to the Bowl final on May the 10th for Aberdeenshire’s first visit to Murrayfield and the Scottish Hydro Electric National cup finals day. Thanks again to all supporters who suffered through the rainy conditions to really help the boys push on to victory. This Bowl final is extra special for the players as long time supporters of the club get their long overdue big day out. A very proud time to associated with this fine rugby club.

Please contact Robbie Anderson regarding bowl final tickets and travel to Murrayfield.

Squad: 15. M.MacLugash 14. M.Christie 13. M.Snell 12. R.Anderson 11. S.Penney 10. S.Cole 9. G.Leith

1. A.Sutherland 2. S.Mountain 3. R.Hempsey 4. J.Mason 5. R.Chalmers 6. C.Livingston (c) 7. J.Selby 8. A.Cook

16. M.Roulston 17. T.Condon 18. A.Moore 19. J.Baxendale

 

Tries: Anderson, Cole

 

Cons: Cole

 

Pens: Cole

DGs: -

 

MoM: Selby

 

Report: Gary Leith

18/04/09 Shire Show Up For Big Occasion

 

Mackie Academy FP 13-32 Aberdeenshire 1st XV

Shire kicked off knowing that massive game was at hand today, potential League winner and Scottish Hydro Electric Bowl Quarter Final. The Shire team boasted a large crowd as the bus left Harlaw with anticipation high.

The game kicked off with tension high in both camps. The first touch of the ball that came from the leaping figure of Josh Selby who knocked the ball forward off the kick off lead to a scrum. First scrum of the game went well as newly appointed front rower Tim Condon came under pressure from the Mackie front row. First points of the game came from Stefan Cole who opted to kick for the posts making the score 3-0.The first try of the game came from a neat bit of handling from back rowers Cook and Selby which finally lead to Cole stretching out for the touchdown under the posts, making it easy for himself to convert. 10-0 Shire with 10 minutes gone.

Soon after the first try Shire made it 15-0 through and excellent piece of vision by No.8 Andrew Cook to find the space on the blindside, with the crucial pass coming from Gary Leith, which left Cook with plenty of room and James Baxendale on his left which helped make the opposite wingers job harder that it already was. Cook outpaced the fringe defenders and handed off the winger to jog over for the score. Cole converted to make it 17-0. Soon after shire found themselves deep in their 22 which a penalty coming from not staying on their feet at breakdown which the Mackie 10 opted to kick. He slotted the kick making the score 17-3.

The Shire team didn’t take kindly to this as they were quickly back into the opposition 22 with a ruck set up on the 5 metre line. Leith decided to go to the blindside option of Cook who was static but managed to make the most of it with a neat chip kick over the Mackie forwards, who were even more static, into the dead ball area where a lone prop had chased back from the open side and dived in front of Cook to miss the ball and let it run out of play.

Some frantic play in the Shire backs lead to tense moments for the travelling support as a lot of passes did not go to hand, or were thrown aimlessly behind the winger for the most crucial pass. In the last 10 minutes of the first half Shire boosted the score up again through winger Mike MacLugash who managed to get on the end of some tidy back line play and quick hands to tear down the wing and score in the corner taking the score to 22-3. Soon after shire again found themselves conceding a penalty just outside their 22 which the Mackie 10 opted to again kick for the 3 points. The flags went up to make it 22-6 The referee called an end to the half with the score poised at 22-6.

With the team told to stick to the game plan of a maximum of 2 phases in tight with the forwards then play the ball wide to the backs, the second half kicked off with the team from Woodside raring to go. The largest chunk of the half was played between the two 10 metre lines as a lot of passes again didn’t go to the hands of the backs for both teams. Some big tackling of the back of the scrum from No.7 Selby lead to the Mackie No.10 going down quite a few times with some injuries. The game started to turn quite scrappy the defence of the Mackie team weakened this lead to a darting run down the wing from Matt Christie who then put in Rob Anderson to score close to the posts and allow Stef Cole a kickable conversion. 29-6 after the conversion. Credit to Mackie though they didn’t give up and scored a try from the back of a scrum from their No.8 who was tackled by Selby but to no avail. 29-13 after the conversion. A few minutes later Shire tallied up 5 more points through a weaving run from Cole who offloaded to substitute Alex ‘Chunky’ Moore, who ran past and through 2 defenders to score under the posts. 34-6 with Cole slamming the kick off the outside of the upright to miss his first conversion of the day with the last kick of the game.

Final Score 32-13

Let the celebrations begin! As soon as Shire were seen off the pitch by the home side, the celebrations started. Champagne spraying everywhere and cheers from the crowd as Shire clinch the league and progress through into the semi finals of the bowl. An excellent display on a big day and all the way through the season from the Shire squad, who thoroughly deserve to win the title.

Huge thanks to all the supporters who travelled to the game and who have made the outstanding effort to make it to any of the games throughout the season. Also a huge thanks to Eric Strachan, whose coaching efforts have greatly affected the outcome of the league and helped Shire gain promotion after so long! Cheers!

Well done lads! SUNG BY THE SHIRE!!!

Squad: 15. M.MacLugash 14. M.Christie 13. M.Snell 12. R.Anderson 11. S.Penney 10. S.Cole 9. G.Leith

1. A.Sutherland 2. S.Mountain 3. T.Condon 4. J.Mason 5. M.Roulston 6. C.Livingston (c) 7. J.Selby 8. A.Cook

16. M.White 17. D.Coull 18. A.Moore

 

Tries: Cole, A.Cook, MacLugash, Anderson, Moore

 

Cons: Cole 2

 

Pens: Cole

DGs: -

 

MoM: Cole

 

Report: Andrew Cook

 

11/04/09 Tries Galore As Shire Ease To Victory

Aberdeenshire 1st XV 74-3 Blairgowrie

Shire came up against a weakened Blairgowrie who turned up with 14 men and only 1 win under there belts for the season. The Shire lads went into the game confident of taking the five points on offer and go within a game of taking the league. Notable absentees were the two towers of Chalmers and Mason, also feisty little half back Leith due to a head gash. With an inspiring speech from Captain Livingston Shire headed out with fury in their eyes.

Shire kicked of with Cole putting up a nice hanger for Selby to come through like Air Jordon and take, the ball was played back with Shire on the front foot and put through the hands to Baxendale who was taken in a ball and all tackle, the ball was laid back for Mountain who picked it up and drove on a few metres, the ball was placed back and fed to Cole who passed to Moore on the burst who broke through three tackles and with a slap on the back from Cole he dived over for the try to make it 7 -0, conversion successful from scrum half White.

The Blairgowrie restart went straight to Selby who broke the first tackle and off loaded to Livingston who shipped it onto Mountain at full trot who bulldozed over two before being taken to ground. From the quick breakdown Anderson received the pass and was tackled just before the line, Mountain was then at toe and picked and drove over the short distance for the second try which was converted successful 14-0. The first half was one way traffic as Shire put on another four tries with Cole, Anderson, A.Cook and Livingston all touching down to go into half time leading 38-0.

Half time talk was all about keeping our standards high to take into the Mackie game as the game had been won by the half time whistle. Some key changes by coach Stracthan putting usual fly half Cole back to his normal position and bringing Christie on for Baxendale. Steven Cook was also subbed for Coull as he picked up an ankle injury.

The opposition kicked off the second half with a low grubber which prop Sutherland scooped up and steam rolled over the first defender and palmed the next off before being taken to ground. The ball placed back to White who fed Jnr Cook on the burst who broke through but was pulled down by the full back. Livingston then picked it up and made a few metres, the ball was then passed to Cole who waved his wand and parted the defence like Moses parting the sea to allow Broadribb to stroll in without a hand laid on him to make the score 45-0, conversion successful.

Off the restart the ball didn’t travel ten but despite that the young debutant lock Richard Graydon collected the ball and set off with one Blairgowrie defender holding and being dragged along for the ride to the amusement of the crowd. White then gave a short ball to Livingston who broke through to run thirty metres before throwing the ball to no one in particular as he gasped for air, the ball was collected by Coull who ran on a few more metres then the ball was pasted through the hands which left Maclugash to race away under the bar with a summersault to touch down which awarded him the dick of the day yet again, the conversion unsuccessful by White.

Blairgowrie kicked off once again but was knocked forward with a scrum awarded to the opposition. Shire were then penalised for an early push which Blairgowrie took quickly and spread wide only to be collected by a monster of a tackle from Jnr Cook which dislodged the ball. Moore put boot to ball which was collected by the opposition full back which he ran back towards the chase with Cole making the tackle. Shire forwards then piled through to win the turn over, with an overlap of four on one but Moore decided to step inside to be tackled. The ball was spread wide through the hands once again with MacLugash picking up his double with the conversion successful by White 57-0. Shire then ran in three more tries by Anderson, Cole and Sutherland.

The game ended with Blairgowrie kicking a penalty to make the score 74-3. A pleasing result but could have been more due to the ball not being moved quickly enough and some devious calls by the referee.

Squad: 15. J.Broadribb 14. M.MacLugash 13. S.Cole 12. A.Moore 11. R.Anderson 10. M.Snell 9. M.White

1. A.Sutherland 2. S.Mountain 3. S.Cook 4. R.Graydon 5. M.Roulston 6. C.Livingston (c) 7. J.Selby 8. A.Cook

16. M.Christie 17. D.Coull 18. J.Baxendale

 

Tries: Maclugash 2, Cole 2, Anderson 2, Moore, Mountain, A.Cook, Livingston, Broadribb, Sutherland

 

Cons: White 7

 

Pens: -

DGs: -

 

MoM: Sutherland

 

Report: Josh Selby

 

04/04/09 Full Points For Under Par Shire

Glenrothes 7-55 Aberdeenshire 1st XV

Shire headed to 3rd place Glenrothes in buoyant mood after last week’s crucial victory against St Andrews Uni. Due to Rory Schlierkamp being called away to a fashion shoot for Primark, Mike Roulston was brought back into the team for his first start of 2009. With the motivational tunes of Michael Jackson still ringing in their ears, Shire headed out knowing that they needed to take advantage of the strong wind they had at their backs. Despite this it was a sluggish start to the game with the pack being drawn into a battle up front with a heavy set of home forwards. With some intelligent kicking from Cole & Leith, Glenrothes were kept back in there own half. It was one of these kicks that Leith chipped in behind home defence which sat up nicely for Cole to collect and score under the posts. Cole took his tally to seven with a simple conversion.

From the restart Shire soon found themselves back in the Glenrothes half. Once more the forwards battered away at the home defence whilst ignoring the easy option of spinning the ball out wide. However, the forwards hard work eventually paid off with Selby crossing the line for Shires second try of the game. Once more Cole made the conversion count to boost Shire to a fourteen point lead. A third try should have then been scored, after some good handling from the backs MacLugash broke clear of the home defence only to stop 5 metres short of the try line and allow the covering defence to catch him and win the ball back. Due to a head injury to scrum half Leith, Andy Cook moved into the unfamiliar position of scrum half. It was from here that he was fed the ball from the top of the lineout and proceeded to beat three defenders to score under the posts. A fourth try was soon to follow with Steven Cook making a trade mark rampaging run through the home defence to cross the line. Glenrothes made a brief foray into the Shire half but were soon turned over.

The clearing kick from Moore was charged down but the ball was won back straight away as Livingston leapt like a salmon to retrieve the ball in the air. Some quick ball from the ensuing ruck saw Cook Snr break down the blindside; he then passed it outside to Anderson and then stayed in support to get the return pass before feeding it inside to Cole who added a second try to his tally for the day and Shires fifth. The 1st half ended up with some swift handling from the Shire backs and saw Moore crossing the line in the right hand corner for a well worked score.

Despite not getting out of first gear and playing into the hands of Glenrothes, Shire took a 38 – 0 lead into 2nd half.

With a strong wind in their face and the rain continuing to belt down, Shire knew they were going to have to dig in to keep their proud defensive record intact. However, it was Shire who attacked first with some fancy footwork from veteran outside centre Broadribb, he rounded the 20 stone prop to score Shire’s fifth try of the day. Shire then found themselves stuck in there own half for large portions of the second half with Glenrothes pinning them back with kicks to the corner. Shire eventually broke once more into the oppositions half and attacked the Glenrothes line. With only one defender to beat Cole made a perfect pass to Anderson who only had to catch this inch perfect pass and stroll over the line. However unlike a vintage wine it seems that Anderson’s hands have not got better with age as he spilled the ball over the begging try line.

Despite the hilarity that followed this incident, Shire were soon on the attack again. This time the ball was shipped out the left wing where Baxendale pinned back his ears and beat three defenders to score under the posts. There is no doubt the screams of “you’re my hero James” from the highly sexually charged female Shire support spurred the youngster on. From the restart Shire got some quick ball and a text book 1-2 between Livingston and Cook Snr saw the marauding prop burst through the Glenrothes defence and like all good back row players Livingston stayed in support to get the ball back. Livingston used his electric pace to break away from the line of defenders but not for the first time this season he was isolated due to nobody being able to keep up with him. Livingston managed to stay on his feet as the covering defence tried to take him down as he waited for the aging Leith and Condon to reach him. Shire were soon stuck in their own 22 again as the referee continually penalised them for hands in the ruck this eventually saw Cook Snr being sin binned. Glenrothes eventually got rewards for their hard work as one of their forwards drove over and scored. The last play of the day belonged to Baxendale, with the words of “you’re my hero James” still ringing in his ears, the young winger once more took on and beat three defenders to score his second try of the day. Not to be out done by his fellow students attempts to woo the birds, Andy Cook grabbed the ball from Cole and sent a neat drop goal over the posts for the final conversion of the day.

It was not the finest of performances from a team who know they can play better but it was job done once more from Shire who ended up 55-7 winners. With only four games left to play and St Andrews seemingly throwing in the towel the title is almost ours.

Squad: 15. M.MacLugash 14. M.Christie 13. J.Broadribb 12. A.Moore 11. R.Anderson 10. S.Cole 9. G.Leith

1. S.Cook 2. S.Mountain 3. A.Sutherland 4. J.Mason 5. M.Roulston 6. C.Livingston 7. J.Selby 8. A.Cook

16. J.Baxendale 17. D.Coull 18. T.Condon

 

Tries: Cole 2, Baxendale 2, S.Cook, A.Cook, Selby, Moore, Broadribb

 

Cons: Cole 5, A.Cook

 

Pens: -

DGs: -

 

MoM: Baxendale

 

Report: Craig Livingston

28/03/09 Revenge Is Sweet If Tougher Than It Should Have Been

 

Aberdeenshire 1st XV 23-17 St Andrews University

Aberdeenshire prepared for their biggest game of the season so far with the visit of the St Andrews students to Woodside last Saturday. The players were treated to a light lunch at the Northern Hotel by the club before the game to settle some of the nerves in the camp. All involved were seriously motivated to avenge the clubs only league defeat at the hands of the visitors.

The first half saw Shire choose to play into a relentless wind which saw the hosts spread the ball wide and attack the St Andrews team ball in hand in what was a fairly even opening 10mins. A couple of line breaks gave Shire a glimpse of the line but the Uni managed to scramble back on each occasion to cover. The deadlock was broken by a superb break down the flank, with Anderson, McGlugash and finally Broaders combining to touch down in the corner for a fine finish, Cole narrowly missing the conversion. Shire led 5-0.

The students came back strongly but some good defence from Shire kept their strong running backs at bay. From a Shire lineout deep in their own 22 the ball was passed out to first five Cole who decided to attack the same flank Shire had previously scored down, unfortunately ‘the wind’ caught the pass which landed 5 yards behind the advancing back line, a scramble for the ball in the try area ended with a St Andrews Uni touchdown, converted to make the score 5-7. More open rugby pursued, both back lines making line breaks, covering tackles being made to prevent any further scores.

Despite the wind Shire found themselves with a lineout opportunity on the Uni line, a driving maul from the lineout set up a ruck on the line and a pop to Shaun Mountain saw him skittle students from close to power over the line, only for the ref to say it was held up which was a tough call on the home side. A converted penalty a piece was all that was taken from the second 20mins leaving St Andrews Uni leading 8-10 at half time.

Shire came out in the second half looking to use the tail wind to their advantage- immediately the bar was lifted and Shire cleared out a Uni ruck to win turnover ball, a delicate chip into the corner from scrum-half Leith saw a Shire attacking line, the lineout ball was thrown to front where the Herculean frame of Chalmers collected safely and brought the ball down, for an onslaught of the Uni line. The raw power was too much for the students as they conceded a penalty for offside and a quick tap gave Leith the chance to worm his way over the line from 5 yards out, the conversion no good to make the score 13-10. Shire quickly found their way back down to the Uni line through intelligent kicking and the forwards blasting the students off their own ball and another penalty from similar circumstances gave Captain Cavey the chance to dive over the line from another quick tap from Leith, the conversion just wide to make it 18-10. With 25mins left Shire had their sights set on a bonus point. Much more of the same ensued, Shire camped out on the Uni line, errors creeping in to rob them of the fourth try and allowing St Andrews to clear their lines. A further ‘forward’ pass from a scintillating backs move robbed MacGlugash of a score. The fourth try did however come, from St Andrews Uni attempting a clearance kick, openside Selby was up quickest and charged down the kick, Andrew Cook came from nowhere to collect and rampage over the line to make the score 23-10. The conversion was missed (see a pattern emerging??).

The high pace of the game told on the Shire team for the last 10mins, the pattern of play changed and the Uni team began to stretch a tired looking Shire with some brave handling along with some suspect quick lineouts. The students scored a try spreading the ball wide, breaking the line and touching down for a try under the posts, the conversion took the score to 23-17. The game was almost thrown away by Shire in the final minute as St Andrews had a 3 man overlap on the wing, the Shire defence drifted and did just enough to force a fumble. The final whistle sounded to leave a emptied Aberdeenshire team victorious 23-17. This went someway to ease the pain of the defeat earlier in the season to the same opposition.

A very good result from a hardworking display, especially by all forwards involved. However a frustrating end to the game could have been prevented if the team had taken more of the scoring opportunities that a dominant second half performance had yielded. Also being a bit more tactically aware in the last quarter would have kept the students in their place. The 23-17 final score doesn’t do Shire justice but that’s the case when you don’t take your chances. A satisfied squad now look forward to travelling to Glenrothes this Saturday and fine tuning the performance very conscious of last weeks end to the match.

Squad: 15. M.MacLugash 14. J.Baxendale 13. J.Broadribb 12. A.Moore 11. R.Anderson 10. S.Cole 9. G.Leith

1. A.Sutherland 2. S.Mountain 3. S.Cook 4. J.Mason 5. R.Chalmers 6. C.Livingston (c) 7. J.Selby 8. A.Cook

16. M.Roulston 17. T.Condon 18. M.Snell

 

Tries: Broadribb, Leith, Livingston, A.Cook

 

Cons: -

 

Pens: Cole

DGs: -

 

MoM: Leith

 

Report: Rory Chalmers

14/03/09 An Impressive 2nd Half Blows Away Madras

 

Madras College FP 0-25 Aberdeenshire 1st XV

Shire headed into what could have proved to be a tricky early kickoff against Madras on Saturday, with captain Caveman missing and Madras being the only team to beat second placed St Andrews so far this season.

Cheered on by a port fuelled traveling support and with a strong wind at our backs in the first half the plan was simple, go out and establish a good lead for the inevitable hard slog into the wind in the second 40. It didn't’t start too well for shire’s second best kiwi import Selby diving on the ball from the kickoff and damaging his ribs, and being replaced by Daddy Coull. However some nice play lead to an early try through MacLugash after good work from Broaders, going unconverted in the strong wind. What followed was 35 minutes of indiscipline with a spattering of good play from the shire, some good aggressive play from the forwards at the breakdown and Chalmers doing all the hard work in the lineout but all too often penalties were conceded in the opponents 22, giving them an easy get out. One more try was scored through veteran Sparrow, again going unconverted in the wind, and we also lost Cook Jr to a shoulder injury, which meant a move into second row for Cook Sr and Hempsey coming in at prop. 10 – 0 at half time, not the big points advantage we hoped for.

After a deservedly stern talking to from coach Eric Shearer, I mean Strachan Shire had to cut out the penalties and play well in the second half to take the essential 4 points and keep the pressure on St Andrews with the additional bonus point. And that is exactly what we did. The team started well, quick & clean ball from the forwards giving Leith the opportunity to send the ball out to his backs, Cole being able to use the experienced centre partnership to get Shire going forward. However the first try came from the forwards, with Cook Sr barrelling over about four defenders on his rampaging way to the line, he also showed nimble feet on the way back to half way, managing to avoid the broken bodies he had just left lying on the deck.

Then came the inevitable tough spell, with the wind advantage Madras put pressure on the Shire line for a long spell but after leaking three tries last week, the Shire defence held firm. The returning second row talisman Mason making his presence felt at the breakdown once more, and the mercurial Sutherland helping to clear the lines with an awe inspiring clearance that went all of 30 metres – sideways buy credit for trying Andy.

After defending valiantly and even Chunky & Condon forgetting their argument about not arguing, Shire turned it on towards the end, some nice play from the backs leading to MacLugash going over again in the corner, the excitement of the bonus point was too much and lead to the usual over celebration from our top try scorer. One more try followed, this time a charge down by the smallest man on the pitch, Leith (after his opposite number had been substituted), being picked up by Chalmers and driven over the line. All three tries in the second half went unconverted.

So the final whistle went and Shire had turned it on once more when they needed it, a bonus point and clean sheet away from home was a good result and well deserved after the 2nd half turn around.

A thank you must be given to Russell Hempsey and all the other guys at Varel who kindly sponsored warm up tracksuits which were used for the first time on Saturday. Although there was a bit of confusion about who wore what with letters being used instead of numbers!? Thanks to Matt Christie for that one!

Looks like it’s a free weekend ahead then the vital top of the table clash at home against second placed St Andrews on March 28th. After the 6-3 defeat earlier in the season the boys go into this needing no extra motivation.

On a trivial and non important point a I mention also has to be given to the bus trip home via Edinburgh for the Scotland Ireland game. It will go down in Shire legend as one of the most bizarre trips in recent history! With bus chairmen being overthrown and then being overcome by port, a bus virgin not making it past Perth before being out for the count and only being able to bang his head off the window constantly in his sleep and not to mention a certain other having another hissy fit because the committee had made him be sick on his best trousers! This last incident led to an episode of Opraph unveiling between the chairmen and said sickboy to resolve their issues!? Living TV have been in touch regarding making a reality show!

Squad: 15. M.MacLugash 14. S.Penney 13. J.Broadribb 12. A.Moore 11. R.Anderson 10. S.Cole 9. G.Leith

1. S.Cook 2. S.Mountain 3. A.Sutherland 4. J.Mason 5. T.Condon 6. R.Chalmers 7. J.Selby 8. A.Cook

16. M.White 17. D.Coull 18. R.Hempsey

 

Tries: MacLugash 2, Anderson, S.Cook, Chalmers

 

Cons: -

 

Pens: -

DGs: -

 

MoM: S.Cook

 

Report: John Mason

07/03/09 Shire Get The Half Century But At The Expence Of Conceeding Three

 

Aberdeenshire 1st XV 50-19 Orkney

Shire recieved the kick off, and for once they started the game well. Early pressure and some tactical kicking found Shire with a lineout on Orkneys 5 metre line. The line out was won, the hooker Shaun Mountain taking the ball back from the jumper he had just thrown it to, steam rolling the opposite number 9 (big achievement for a front row) and 10 to dive over the line for the first score of the game.

Despite Shire being in control of most aspects of the game, an intercepted pass between the forwards lead to Orkneys first trip into Shires 22, and after some quick hands and hard running, Orkney equalled the score. Shire didn't let their heads go down, however, and again found Shaun Mountain barrelling over from five metres out to score his second try of the game (and season). Orkney found themselves in possession once again, and after some sloppy tackling equalled the score once again.

Shire 10 Stefan Cole spurred on his team by scoring a two tries in quick succession right under the posts after a dazzling display of sidesteps and pace, converting both his own tries. Orkney again scored, this time with an unconverted try to keep them within touch. Winger Robbie Anderson and fullback Michael MacLugash both scored, one with a very audible shout of "Thats how you score a try boys!!", which earned the player in question (Mike) the 'dick of the day' award!

Shaun Mountain helped pile on the pressure to a faltering Orkney side by scoring the third try of his hat-trick, securing his place at the bar buying jugs post game. With the game drawing to a close, Orkney were looking to secure a bonus point with their fourth try of the game. However Shire back row player Andy Cook found himself with the ball, skipping through two tackles and then turning on the pace to score in the last play of the game, denying Orkney a losing bonus point, and cementing Shire's win..

With 5 out of 8 tries converted by Stefan Cole, the final score was 50 -19 to Shire.

Squad: 15. M.Christie 14. M.MacLugash 13. J.Broadribb 12. R.Anderson 11. S.Penny 10. S.Cole 9. M.White

1. A.Sutherland 2. S.Mountain 3. S.Cook 4. D.Coull 5. R.Chalmers 6. C.Livingston (c) 7. J.Selby 8. A.Cook

16. R.Hempsey 17. T.Condon 18. A.Moore 19. B.Morris

 

Tries: Mountain 3, Cole 2, Anderson, MacLugash, A.Cook

 

Cons: Cole 5

 

Pens: -

DGs: -

 

MoM: Selby

 

Report: Steve Cook

28/02/09 Shire Fight Off Mackie Challenge

 

Aberdeenshire 1st XV 33-9 Mackie Academy FP

It was yet another important game for the mighty Shire, to continue their impressive winning streak against what has come to be known as a very physical Mackie team.

The Shire could not ask for a better start, as from the kick off James Baxendale almost scored but just had his foot in touch from a kick in behind from scrum half Leith. The Shire did end up scoring first thanks to some great play but soon fell asleep and Mackie quickly started piling on the pressure, kicking a couple of penalties.

The Shire came together in the end thanks to some harsh words from our modest Captain who told me to mention his all round great performance during the game (as apparently the fans never tire of hearing about his athletic accomplishments).

Russell Hempsey powered his way over for what was a very impressive front row try (two metres from the line), knocking over the number 9 who, can you believe it, was the smallest of the scrum halfs on the day, but the wee little man did get his own back by dumping the mature prop back on his backside with a great tackle.

Michael Maclugash was the outstanding player of the day, scoring an impressive hat-trick. What was also impressive was that he did not throw a hissy fit all game. The highlight of the three coming from a Carlos Spencer like no look pass from Gary Leith. It must also be mentioned that Maclugash did get a great assist from super sub Ben Morris.

Our Kiwi import Stefan Cole, also kicked four out of five on the day to leave the final score 33-9.

All in all, another good win for the Shire, getting the maximum points out of the game and I’ll leave you with a quote from our Man of the Match Michael Maclugash to sum up the performance and the mood of the camp: “The mindset in the team just now is spot on. Morale is high and we’re all playing for each other. To be a part of that and to get the chance to contribute towards the team goals feels great!” Who knew he could be so eloquent?

The real highlight for the players was a comment from coach Eric Strachan who was only down as a spectator due to more important personal business. At the end of the match he stated that the game and result had finished a bad week off on a positive note for him. Great words for all to hear.

(Please note that this report goes down in infamous Shire history as being the slowest match report ever written for this website! Congratulations Shaun!)

Squad: 15. M.Christie 14. M.MacLugash 13. J.Broadribb 12. R.Anderson 11. .Baxendale J 10. S.Cole 9. G.Leith

1. A.Sutherland 2. S.Mountain 3. S.Cook 4. J.Mason 5. R.Chalmers 6. C.Livingston (c) 7. J.Selby 8. A.Cook

16. R.Hempsey 17. D.Coull 18. A.Moore 19. B.Morris

 

Tries: MacLugash 3, Hempsey, Selby

 

Cons: Cole 4

 

Pens: -

DGs: -

 

MoM: -

 

Report: Shaun Mountain

21/02/09 A Stuttering Shire Grinds into Gear

 

Harris Academy FP 6-34 Aberdeenshire 1st XV

Saturday’s cup game against Harris FP in neighbouring Dundee was an opportunity to get the season back on track with some game time seriously needed after a long lay off. The snow and frost that has been hampering the league campaign finally succumbed to spring like temperatures this meant it was close to perfect playing conditions.

Shire should have been more aware of ‘cup mentality’ coming up against a lower league side with only one loss this season. Their team talk would have been the most rehears thought all clubs on a cup day…’’tackle hard, disrupt the brake down and play with confidence as it’s a one of game!’’

Harris buoyed by a good crowed started with these words ringing in their ears. Shire looked sluggish and disbanded so subsequently are caught cold in the early exchanges with Harris benefiting from two contentious refereeing decisions to convert from square in front of the posts.

A swirling wind seemed to create havoc for the Shire pass with the ball landing a foot to short or scuttling along the uneven ground. The high ball tactic again used by Harris proved a thorn in the shire side as they gleefully took favour of the bounce of the ball.

With passes being forced, gaps not being taken and pressure at the contact area shire’s attacks were strewn with error and frustration set about. The only highlight in the first half was a score against the run of play. A passage of play that was so nearly butchered with every unconvincing pass before the Canadian catalyst Penny pounced to save shire blushes at the break. The conversion by top scorer Cole making it a slim 6-7 score line.

A seething coach fought back the volcanic urges to lay waste to a well below par performance and called on each player to get a grip and play like we know we can. No disrespect to Harris who had the majority of the ball and good fortune plus a wee bit of help from refereeing decisions the half time team talk proved to be a pivotal change in attitude.

The second half started with shire beginning to grind into gear (if you cant find it grind it) passes were now going to hand, confidence was on the up and all angles now being run. The attacks lead by the forwards who took control and set a standard quickly adopted by the backs. The efforts by the Harris defence after 50 minutes soon took its toll as the superior fitness afforded gaps exploited by scores from Cole 2 and Junior Cook. Uncontested scrums soon followed as the valiant display of some older opposition members creaked to many bones.

The final memoirs of the game came in the opposition 22 as Daddy Coull sealed a victorious score line that looked unimaginable in the disarray of the opening half. A potential banana slip avoided with a bit of grit and determination. On a positive note all players took up the opportunity of the Harris hospitality and the pies were well received.

Starting games too slow must be eradicated especially as we enter the business end of the season. The potential to be the highest scores and lowest conceders means Shire must learn to put teams away, are we capable of breaking a half Century!

Squad: 15. M.Christie 14. M.MacLugash 13. J.Broadribb 12. R.Anderson 11. S.Penny 10. S.Cole 9. G.Leith

1. A.Sutherland 2. S.Mountain 3. S.Cook 4. J.Mason 5. R.Chalmers 6. C.Livingston (c) 7. J.Selby 8. A.Cook

16. R.Hempsey 17. M.Snell 18. D.Coull 19. J.Baxendale

 

Tries: Penney, Baxendale, Coull, A.Cook, Cole 2

 

Cons: Cole 2

 

Pens: -

DGs: -

 

MoM: -

 

Report: Andy Sutherland

31/01/09 Great Play In Short Spells Is Enough For Full Points

 

Aberdeenshire 1st XV 38-0 Crieff & Strathearn 1st XV

After yet another week off due to the ever-becoming frustrating weather conditions, Aberdeenshire were raring to continue their league campaign at home against Crieff and Strathearn. Facing them for the second time this season Shire knew what to expect after coming on top 38-5 away from home the last time they met, however, with Coach Eric Strachan’s wise warnings of complacency the team was determined not to underestimate the mid-table team.

The game kicked-off with a rather unconventional drop-kick as the ball was tapped just two metres in an attempt to catch out the shire backs. It was worth a try, but didn’t work out quite as effectively as the Crieff fly-half had possibly been dreaming. The Shire backs were quick to react and eventually Shire gained their first share of the good possession on their opponents 22. From here, a well worked move from the back of a scrum and some silky smooth running skills demonstrated by Baxendale saw him score the opening try of the match.

After seeing what they were up against early on, the visiting team adopted a more natural approach at the re-start, kicking deep into the Shire pack. Led by the powerful running of Selby, the forwards proved their muscle as they bashed up the park with some constant support at the breakdown and quick “pick and go’s”. Once they had done their damage the backs were released with an overlap on the right hand side. Quick distribution from the hands of Cole released MacLugash down the wing, who eased past his opposite full-back with a neat little step, setting up an easy conversion for Cole in return for his good pass.

Cole was involved again for shire’s 3rd try of the first half when a solo effort saw him majestically chip over the Crieff back line, and with no one covering the pocket, he was able to run onto his own kick scoring under the posts. Showing off his brilliant individualism, the kiwi import felt the desire to copy Usain Bolt with a premature celebration. Unfortunately for the Crieff supporters he got over the try-line unscathed.

Shire finished a brilliant first half with some trademark running from James Broadribb, resulting in a crash ball through the Crieff centres which Steve Penney came onto at full tilt, smashing through to score the fourth try of the match.

Half time Score 26-0

A couple of changes were made at half time, and recently returned “veteran” utility back, Alex Moore, was replaced by Malcolm White. Aberdeenshire now had the task off finishing off the match in style to leave down a marker to league rivals Aberdeen Uni, who were playing on the other pitch at Woodside (yes! the Frisbee world championship IS more important to students than rugby???).

The second half didn’t produce the same level of flair as the first half, and Crieff did better to control the game. However, with most of the possession, Aberdeenshire were a constant threat to the try line and a few good chances were scuppered with a couple of careless mistakes.

In the end it was the shire pack that broke the deadlock of the second half, demonstrating some brilliantly controlled rucking and mauling, a typical forwards try was scored by Josh Selby in the corner. The final quarter was a much tighter affair, and a few shuffles had to be made as players were struggling with minor injuries and cramp due to the soft ground.

People’s legs were beginning to tire…. all but captain caveman’s, whose legs managed to release the last of their energy in a rampant solo charge from the half way line to the try line! Realising there was limited support he had no option but to barge the helpless opposition wingers and fullback out of the way and pull himself towards the try line as they clawed onto his ankles. This wasn’t quite enough and he was eventually brought down simply inches from the line, but a long outstretched arm carried the ball over and planted it down for Shires 6th and final try of the game.

Final Score 38-0.

This was a good competent display, and gives the team a boost in confidence before travelling 2 miles down the road to Kings college next week (weather permitting) where they will face neighbouring rivals Aberdeen University. A good support here would be great for the team in such a crucial game.

Squad: 15. M.MacLugash 14. J.Baxendale 13. J.Broadribb 12. A.Moore 11. S.Penny 10. S.Cole 9. G.Leith

1. R.Hempsey 2. S.Mountain 3. S.Cook 4. J.Mason 5. R.Chalmers 6. C.Livingston (c) 7. J.Selby 8. A.Cook

16. A.Sutherland 17. M.White 18. D.Coull

 

Tries: Baxendale, MacLugash, Cole, Penney, Selby, Livingston

 

Cons: Cole 4

 

Pens: -

DGs: -

 

MoM: Penney

 

Report: Michael MacLugash

17/01/09 Shire Still In Holiday Mode But Pick Up Full Points Against Plucky Kinross

 

Aberdeenshire 1st XV 30-5 Kinross 1st XV

The fist game of 2009 brought with it a number of absentees; including the experience of James Broadribb, Robbie Anderson and Steve Penney, however, the team was ecstatic to be met with the long-awaited return of Alex 'Chunky' Moore and Gary Leith to lift moral and certainly the average age of the team!

The Shire team started poorly, whether this was due to complacency of playing a team in the bottom half on the league or whether too many selection boxes had been consumed over the Christmas break is unclear. Shire could not recover position and for the first time this season, the team found themselves conceding the first try of a game at Woodside – fortunately it went unconverted. Shire managed to lift their performance after this with Rory Chalmers and Josh Selby recovering a pinpoint restart from Stefan Cole but it was not long before Martyn Snell was accidentally injured in a collision with an anonymous Shire player.

Shire received a penalty which Cole kicked perfectly, after this the team persisted in the Kinross 22 and before long Robin Campbell took full advantage of an overlap, found by Gary Leith from a slick backrow move 5 metres out, scoring in the corner; giving Shire the advantage for the first time in the game.

Immediately after from another well controlled and moved restart Mike MacLugash took full advantage of a perfect cross-field kick form the Kiwi fly-half, securing another try for Shire, coupled with the conversion, this took Shire 10 points clear of Kinross. Shire continued to capitalize on their momentum and a series of off-loads allowed the forwards to secure possession and territory and before long Captain Craig Livingston added another 5 points taking his try tally this season to 3, a milestone we will not soon be allowed to forget.

In the closing minutes of the half, the pace and aggression of Josh Selby proved to be too much for the aggressive Kinross team; before long the specialist backrower added a fourth try from a well worked lineout and tip toeing along the touchline to score in the corner, providing Shire with the bonus point.

The team went into the break with a 25-5 advantage. The players were warned by Coach Eric Strachan not to lose the momentum the team had worked so hard to develop. Unfortunately despite the team’s best efforts, mistakes started to creep into their game. The players fought hard throughout the second half and kept good discipline (in most instances) despite some questionable refereeing decisions as well as an aggressive Kinross team who seemed determined to turn the match into a brawl. The game seemed to stagnate, to the disappointment of the crowd, as Shire remained in the Kinross twenty-two for the entirety of the second half but same stray passes and a lack of straight running meant Shire were incapable of capitalizing on this dominance of territory and possession.

The second half stalemate was finally broken through another well worked backrow move with the ball going through the hands quickly for Malcolm White to beat his opposite winger for pace and scoring his first try of the campaign in the corner – Cole was unable to convert. This was to be the last play of the game as the official appeared to blow the whistle a few minutes early, there were few complaints from the team or the crowd as the team started 2009 as the intended - with the collection of 5 points.

Despite a poor start and an unconvincing second half, there were numerous positives to for the fans, players and coaching staff to draw from. Primarily, the depth of the squad appears to be greater than was first perceived, the players successfully demonstrated their newly developed training drills from training, that even in an unconvincing match the team can still collect maximum points and perhaps most importantly - Shire remain top of the table.

Finally, the club would like to wish a speedy recovery to Martyn Snell and hopes he can return quickly to keep the competition for places at the high level it is currently enjoying – after all, the size of the squad will prove vital in the long journey until the end of the season.

Squad: 15. M.MacLugash 14. R.Campbell 13. J.Baxendale 12. M.Snell 11. M.Christie 10. S.Cole 9. G.Leith

1. A.Sutherland 2. S.Mountain 3. S.Cook 4. J.Mason 5. R.Strachan 6. C.Livingston (c) 7. J.Selby 8. R.Chalmers

16. A.Moore 17. M.White 18. A.Cook

 

Tries:Campbell, Livingston, MacLugash, Selby, White

 

Cons: Cole

 

Pens: Cole

DGs: -

 

MoM: Selby

 

Report: James Baxendale

13/12/08 Month Out Takes its Toll on the Shire Performance…but 5 Points for Christmas

 

Aberdeenshire 1st XV 26-3 Garioch 1st XV

After a month of game cancellations, the Shire team were relieved that this last league game before the Christmas break was given the go ahead. The most recent Kiwi import, the tights wearing Josh Selby made his debut, requiring the successful Shire pack to be rearranged, with the increasingly utile Andrew Cooke moving to centre. Shire were also without the experience and chatter of scrum-half Gary Leith who still hadn't recovered from an ankle knock he received before for cold spell kicked in. Mally White came in at 9 for a welcome return to his favoured position.

The game got underway but the weather did not promise the most free flowing game of rugby but Shire were keen to try and collect the five points for the second time this season from local rivals Garioch. The poor conditions and lack of match sharpness, allowed Garioch the chance to go ahead early on with a wide penalty – the kick, while accurate, fell short of the posts.

Shire regained control of the game, with Stefan Cole splitting the Garioch backs and scoring the opening points of the game before converting the points himself.

Shire were quick to emphasize their lead with Matt Christie taking advantage of a 5m scrum, beating his opposite winger and scoring in the corner, only to have it controversially disallowed but a somewhat unreliable referee (we are still not 100% sure of the reason for it being disallowed). Shortly after, John Mason was sin binned for raking, at which point Shires performance began to stagnate. This continued for some time but a blistering run from winger Steve Penney combined with a handoff that appeared to put the Garioch player into a daze, lifted the teams morale. This was quickly followed by a break from veteran James Broadribb took Shire a further five points clear of their tame opposition before Cole put another two points on the board just before the end of the half.

Coach Eric Strachan had some carefully chosen choice words for the team at half-time and reminded the players of their prospects for the season. The team clearly responded, as the start of the second half welcomed Shires third try, and third conversion of the match; both courtesy of Stefan Cole.

Soon after, Shire were clearly keen to make their victory more emphatic with Rory Chalmers picking up from number 8 and running half the pitch, this lead to Broadribb, keen not to be outdone by the Shire fly half, scoring his second try of the afternoon – the try went unconverted but five points seemed to be guaranteed.

Shire spent the rest of the match pinned back in their own half, this was due to some complacency from the team coupled with a referee who appeared to like a slow game filled with penalties. The game finished on a high as Garioch broke the Shire defence keen to score a consolation try - Steven Cook, however, had other ideas and put in the biggest tackle of the afternoon just as the whistle blew.

A day filled with poor weather and only glimpses of Shires potential allowed the league leaders to take the maximum five points from their last league game before Christmas. With a cup game still on the way, Shire will have to improve on this performance in order to continue their impressive run.

Squad: 15. M.MacLugash 14. S.Penney 13. J.Broadribb 12. A.Cook 11. M.Christie 10. S.Cole 9. M.White

1. A.Sutherland 2. S.Mountain 3. S.Cook 4. J.Mason 5. M.Fotheringham 6. C.Livingston (c) 7. J.Selby 8. R.Chalmers

16. B.Morris 17. J.Baxendale 18. J.Smith

 

Tries: Cole 2, Broadribb 2

 

Cons: Cole 3

 

Pens: -

DGs: -

 

MoM: Cole

 

Report: James Baxendale

16/11/08 An Outstanding 2nd Half Makes Up For The Sunday Sleep In

 

Stirling University 1st XV 18-40 Aberdeenshire 1st XV

Once apon a time on a rather surprisingly pleasant sunny Scottish 'SUNDAY' yes you are reading correctly Sunday morning the lads from Aberdeenshire RFC set off in their bus to do battle against Stirling University in a previously postponed regular season league match. If the warm-up was anything to go by the lads were defiantly still getting to grips of the fact that it was Sunday morning and most were still half asleep. So with a brief run about a few passes of the ball and a chance to shake off the cobwebs the toss done the boys from the Shire were ready to kick off and do battle.

The first half was saw a lot of tactical kicking by the Uni side which had the Shire turning to chase a lot and intentions made clear by the students early on. With most of Shire's ball kept in hand and sent to the midfield to the vastly experienced pair of Anderson and Broadribb to try and slice through a very solid Stirling back line, they found absolutely no way through their line at all.

Which in turn led to numerous turn over ball and cleverly placed kicks into space by the Uni's stand off. With countless attacks at the Shire's line the Uni were unable to crack a some what solid defensive line.

But eventually due to poor ball carrying technique from the base of the ruck deep in there own half. The ball was stripped away and the line was crossed to notch up Stirling's first points of the game up 7-0. With a lot of penalty's so early on in the match going the visiting teams way and in rather handy positions on the pitch saw the Kiwi import Cole step up in his nice new shiny pair of boots (to replace the ones he lost while drunk!) to close the margin to within 1 point with 2 consecutive penalties.

From a kick at goal which came up short deep in the Shire's half saw Mr Duncan 'Daddy Coull' spot not only one but numerous holes in the scattered defensive line. That saw him embark on a somewhat devastating 50m+ charge up the pitch, but with his blistering pace up the field he left his support dead in his tracks. Which had his hard work undone by a quick turn over and a tactical kick into space to find touch. Once again Shire camped deep in their own half and a scrum in the centre of the pitch the move was called to run blind off the scrum, but a great bit of defensive reading saw the Stirling fly half intercept for a opportunist try to put the Uni further out in front.

As play wore on close to the half time period a tactical kick by the Uni side that didn't find touch, gave Shaun Mountain a chance to show off the cricket fielding skills in the slips and retrieve the ball from his boot laces to charge at a wall of the opposite forward pack resulting in one having to leave the field with a suspected dislocated shoulder. Minutes from half time yet another 3 points from the 'MAGICAL' new boots of Cole kept Shire within the grasps to end the 1st half trailing 12-9.

So with a calm but stern pep talk by coach Eric Strachan which actually woke most of the team up from the daze they were in, the lads were ready to come away from this game with the win they needed to stretch there lead at the top of the table. As the 2nd 40 commenced a more lively looking Aberdeenshire team took to the pitch. With that so did the Shire's trusty plan B which meant copious amounts of forward pick-n-go ball to keep the forward momentum rolling. Once Shire got into a rhythm they mounted tremendous pressure back on the Uni side through near perfect red zone ball and which led to a rolling maul that was scored by the entire Shire forward pack (Senior Cook). The conversion was waved away but this score gave Shire the lead which added further to their positive momentum.

With more forward orientated ball driving up the paddock lasting some 7 or 8 phases this leading to an exposed and depleted Uni back line. With a few soft and silky passes through the backs saw Jr Cook in his new roll as No. 8 and the seagull in the back line, dotted over for two of what could of been a hat-trick hadn't he off loaded to MacLugash late in the game to save his perishing bank account from having to buy a jug. With the bonus point gained through Andrew's double and Broadribb's try's scored out wide. Cole could only convert two, one with a lucky bounce off the upright to help the ball over. The bonus point try from Cook must be mentioned with great forward and back play and being finally finished off by a magesitc long lofted pass from Broadribb over the dispairing winger for the No. 8 blurst into at pace and score untouched to roar of the travelling support.

As the Uni side applied more pressure with a couple of darting runs due to poor tackling saw the students awarded two kickable penalty's for numerous infringements by the Shire forwards right in front of the uprights to close the gap down in on Shires lead. Unlucky for the Stirling students that was all the points Shire were going to give them. As the visitors gradually gained more and more momentum late in the second half and began to play the sort of rugby more accustomed to the likes of the might 'All Blacks' the space was there for the taking. Thus giving the ball back to a some what blood thirsty Shire side, hungry for more points to be scored. With the game all but over the scoring was not. Once again a powerful display of tight fringe rugby by the red n' black's left the young and inexperienced Stirling backs licking there wounds. With the final nail in the coffin driven home by MacLugash showing the crowd yet again how try's are to be scored out wide. To add salt to the wound Cole from out wide with his astonishing new pair of boots slotted the conversion home. This meant at the final whistle Shire had scored 5 trys without answer, with all being scored in the 2nd period to boost Shire's attacking potential for future matches.

The club would like to take this time to thank the traveling support that made the effort to head down to Stirling Uni to cheer the Shire lads on, and a special thanks to the unofficial Shire Cheerleading squad! It's always good to hear a great amount of support from the sideline, especially when we have to travel. This helped produce one of the best half’s of rugby the Shire team had produced in many a year and even more impressive after the poor start they made to the game. From all the lads thanks once again.

Squad: 15. M.Snell 14. S.Penney 13. J.Broadribb 12. R.Anderson 11. M.MacLugash 10. S.Cole 9. G.Leith

1. A.Sutherland 2. A.Cook 3. S.Cook 4. J.Mason 5. D.Coull 6. J.Dickinson 7. C.Livingston 8. A.Cook

16. M.Christie 17. B.Thomson 18. M.White

 

Tries: A.Cook 2, S.Cook, Broadribb, MacLugash

 

Cons: Cole 3

 

Pens: Cole 3

DGs: -

 

MoM: Snell

 

Report: Stefan Cole

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Last updated Saturday 20th September, 22:20