1st XV - Report
|Aberdeenshire||65||vs||3||St Andrews University|
Shire are 9 from 9 as the students falter.
The hard work from everyone to make the pitch playable, is paid off, as Shire run riot against St Andrews University.
The men from Woodside were playing host to St Andrews and it was anticipated to be a tough encounter, with the students picking up comfortable wins throughout the season, and sitting third in the table with 2 games in hand. The toss was made and Shire were receiving the kick, playing down the slope towards the river. There was an air of excitement as all involved were eager to get this game underway.
From the kick off the Shire outfit showed their intent as Captain Gillie caught the ball and made a b-line for the half way, clobbering 2 or 3 students on his travels. Eric’s words must have been resonating throughout the team as the intensity was carried all over the pitch. With the pressure being applied, the St Andrews team buckled and, through quick ball set up by the forwards, the back line fired the ball through 4 sets of hands to Gavin who danced over the try line for his first of the day. With both forwards and backs firing on all cylinders, it wasn’t long until Gavin found the ball in his hands once more, with 2 defenders to beat twinkle toed Gavin brushed them aside and scored his second.
St Andrews were taking a battering up front with quick ball and turnovers a regular occurrence, which provided a stable platform for the backs to work off. It did not take long for Shire’s third try as good interlinking play from the backs found a slightly forward pass from JP finding a Kiwi import Benny, and as most of St Andrews were waiting for the whistle he had little to do as he strolled over the line untouched. Not happy with the one score Benny picked a great line and either he fooled himself or did not back his effervescent pace looked for a pass despite being in acres of space behind the defence. Shouts from behind the centre urged him towards the try line as he bumbled over to complete his second.
More hard running and tackling rewarded Shire with a scrum on the opponents 5 metre line, an area the forwards were quite comfortable with. An 8 pick and go with a difference was manufactured with some good scrumaging from the front five. Andy Cook not content with just carrying the ball over the white wash, picked up and carried the 20 stone Andrews scrum half just for good measure much to the delight of everyone.
Half time and some strong words from Eric were required because for large periods of the first half Shire lost their structure and were a bit wayward. Despite the score line everyone wanted to put a marker down for the rest of the teams in the league. Substitutes were made and the second half was ready to start.
The second half started much like the first, and finished with scrappy play and daft penalties being conceded, allowing St Andrews some opportunities to run at the defence only to be cut down. Although there were some errors creeping into Shire’s play, the intensity remained constant throughout and a good driving maul allowed Lil’ Cooks to score his second as he peeled off the back and flopped over the line.
More front foot ball from the forwards allowed Gavin to score his hat-trick as an unlikely pop from RBC, yes RBC, passed the ball, set up a long run in for the reformed chav to carry the ball over the line. Gavin’s was not the only hat-trick of the day as Lil’ Cooks hit a good line and powered over the line, taking his tally to 12, rubbing salt in the wounds of Ross as he bids to be top try scorer this season (5). Some more good rugby, and the backs found time to show off some skills, always knownto be there but rarely shown, some slick hands allowed Matt Ball to be spoiled for choice he popped inside to JP who stepped his way over the try line.
After a flurry of penalties from Shire, St Andrews gained a penalty on the 22 and, some 40 points down, took the bizarre decision to kick for goal. Missing from his first attempt in the first half, Terry Nyabadza brought his side back into the game with a ropey kick splitting the post, bringing them closer to the Shire score...
Throughout the period of ill discipline, Shire “Dick of the Day” BARNY HENDERSON picked up a yellow card for stamping whilst he burst through a ruck. Just before the referee presented his card Barny protested as he didn’t understand why he was receiving the card as in his own words he was “rucking”.
After a lapsed period, Shire began to screw the nut and strung some decent phases together to finish as they started. Some battering runs from the two second rows Rory Chalmers and Stu Crawford allowed Shire to get back on the front foot. A set move was called from the back of the scrum and as all defenders drifted across to the centres Iain Redmond simply jogged over the line to score under the posts.
The final score of the day came from Rory Chalmers, who for some reason was not too fond of the students and had a chip on his shoulder all week. St Andrews were in possession only to have the ball stolen not just once but twice for a maul to be set up and Rory to crash over the line to claim the final score of the game.
Kicking duties started with the erratic boot of Iain Redmond who, last week secured the majority of his kicks, seemed to be a little off form. Golden Boot Gavin took over kicking duties and fared slightly better as only 5 out of the eleven kicks were converted for a final score of 65-3.
A big thanks has to go to everyone involved for making this game possible as they battled to clear the snow. They were rewarded by a great result as Aberdeenshire made it 9 from 9, setting up a huge game against Caithness next week, who are currently on a run of good form.