Highland got a satisfactory start to the season with a solid 5-17 win over Strathmore down at Inchmacoble Park.
The play might not have matched the high standards the players themselves set during the pre-season matches, but it showed that they are going to be a challenger for the league title.
Highland seemed to be a bit nervous from the kick-off and this led to lots of dropped passes and over-running that let the home side off the hook. Strathmore were not able to properly exploit the mistakes and although Highland struggled to string phases together they had enough of the ball to grab a try by Andrew Findlater converted by Scott Fraser. The home side had a good spell and engineered an unconverted score for a 5-7 half-time score-line.
Highland’s play just about got into gear before the break and this continued from the restart. They got so much on top that Strathmore hardly got out of their own half for the remaining forty minutes. The visitors put in some good attacks and Findlater went over twice more to complete a hat-trick of tries for the in-form back-row forward. The bonus point could have been secured if the home side was better admonished for pulling down several drives from set-pieces that were just short of the line.
Above all a win away in the first game of the season is a good start. The early front runners for the title were not really a surprise with Caithness and RAF Lossiemouth securing bonus point wins at home. The top contenders though are likely to be Gordonians and Glenrothes grabbed their bonus point wins away from home. It is perhaps too early to make any clear predictions yet the visit of Caithness next Saturday will be a challenge.