Stornoway rack up 10 tries against Ross Sutherland
Photo West Highland Free Press
Last weekend Stornoway Rugby Club achieved something which has been an all-too-rare occurrence for them in the last couple of seasons — a valuable away victory — after they beat Ross-Sutherland 2nd XV 65-0 in Invergordon.
The islanders helped themselves to a total of 10 tries as they built on the foundations created the previous week when they defeated Inverness Craig Dunain by 70-3.
Once again it was the incisive running of the backs which created the damage with man-of-match Darren Beattie pulling the strings at inside centre, unselfishly releasing those outside of him in space.
The biggest beneficiary of this was full back Euan “Moley” MacLeod and winger James Kearns who often found themselves in acres of space — but only after the hard work had been done closer to the breakdown.
Making a welcome return for Stornoway was Alex Granville in the back row and the big man had an outstanding game, driving his opponents back in the tackle and often winning possession for his side.
His colleague in the back row Davy Graham — back for his first game of the season — also played superbly and made full use of the space available, constantly offering himself as an option for the go-forward ball.
If last week’s game had been something of a stroll in the park, this was a much more difficult contest — despite what the scoreline suggests. Ross-Sutherland always maintained a physical approach and it was only thanks to the islanders’ defence that Ross failed to register a single point on their home patch as the Stornoway forwards again totally dominated the opposition.
If Calum Tom Moody, unavailable for this game, had reigned supreme in the lineout against Craig, Stornoway had a more-than-able replacement in Roddy Graham. The 6’4” lock was a constant source of possession at the touchline and he even dominated the opposition’s throw-in to such a degree that Ross-Sutherland were eventually forced to keep the ball on the park, which again simply played into Stornoway’s hands.
Graham also got on the scoresheet after the pack produced a tremendous rolling maul which was only stopped yards short of the line. Angus “Bubble” MacKay then took it even closer before recycled possession saw scrum half David MacKay pop it to Graham who drove over the line.
That was probably the most satisfying try of the day as it was very much a collective forward effort and was rounded off by a player who contributed hugely throughout.
With the game won by half time Stornoway could relax, and while Beattie was having a great game in the centre so too was stand-off Peter Hobson. Near the end of the game he showed his undoubted class when he tried to take the Ross defence on by himself. As the defenders forced him wide and towards the touchline, it appeared he had nowhere to go. However, sleight of hand and a dummy saw the ball being unexpectedly shipped to Davy Graham who then had the easy task of going over the line with the bamboozled defenders still focusing their attention on Hobson.
Ross were no threat to the Stornoway defence, but the islanders are well aware that they face an altogether different challenge this Saturday with a home game against Highland Reds — favourites for the league title.