1st XV - Report
Caithness visit 'fortress' Inchmacoble
Caithness RFC were the visitors to Inchmacoble on Saturday as they looked to close the gap on league leaders Aberdeenshire. Meanwhile Strathmore were looking to bounce back after defeats in recent weeks.
Caithness began the game on the front foot, and through some powerful mauls and forward play, they found themselves 12-0 ahead after only 5 minutes – following 2 early tries. The visitors looked to be in complete control ,however at Inchmacoble this is never the case, and Strathmore replied with a very well worked try.It started with Rory Ferguson claiming a loose ball, and passing to David Smith, who weaved through the broken defence infront of him. The forwards then took over and rumbled onwards. After making some hard yards, the Strathmore pack let the backs join in again. Mike Bruce found Stewart Ross with a deep pass, and Ross struck a superb kick in behind the green wall of defence to find Fraser Cameron on the run, who took the ball in his stride and crashed over in the corner, for Strathie’s first points of the afternoon. 12-5 to Caithness.
With Strathmore now in the ascendancy, they looked like adding to their try. However the Caithness defence stood firm and denied Hart and Wilson the chance to cause any damage around the rucks and mauls. Finally after some more pressure, Tim Malkowski found a gap in the defence, which led to good ‘front foot ball’ for the home pack. Stuart Gray and Calum Nicol made further hard yards before Caithness were forced into slowing the ball down – illegally. The resultant penalty was struck between the posts and the visitors lead was cut to just 4 points. 12-8 at Half time.
Attacking the Club House in the second half, Strathmore began the way they finished the first half. Colin Bell and Gavin Dissel carried the ball well inside the Caithness half, and made good yardage. Mike Bruce again chose the option of his backs, and the new look centre pairing of Feighan and McKay looked to be putting the visiting defence under some severe pressure. Again Caithness found it difficult to cope, and conceded several penalties in a short space of time. Fraser McKay took on the kicking duties, and put the home side in the lead for the first time after 2 successful kicks. 14-12 to The Men in Black. After excellent territorial kicking from fly half Stewart Ross and smart ‘pick and go’ work from Ben Fotheringham. The forwards then battered away at the defence as gaps began to appear. Mike Bruce once again found Stewart Ross in the midfield, and after stepping past two onrushing defenders he calmly strolled under the posts to score his team’s second try of the day. The cheer from the sideline deafening every one of the players on the park.
At 21-12, Strathmore looked to have won the game, and looked to close out the final ten minutes. But Caithness rallied and very quickly led the home side 23-21 after a try and penalty blotted the home teams scorecard.
With Just seconds to go, and just metres inside the Caithness half, Strathmore found themselves with a penalty. McKay took the ball and sized up a shot at goal. With the posts just a mere speck in the distance, McKay stepped up to strike the ball. Inchmacoble fell silent. The ball flew high into the air, the crowd held their breath. Then the roar from the Club House balcony told it all, He had done it! 24-23! Strathie saw out the remaining seconds and claimed another huge win against a class opposition as yet another side were humbled at Fortress Inchmacoble.
Match Report by Ewen Hart