Strathmore 24 - 15 Hillfoots
Strathmore welcomed recently promoted Hillfoots to Inchmacoble on Saturday, with both clubs looking to get the new season off to winning start.
Match Report by Ewen Hart
With the sun shining, a slight breeze and a healthy crowd present, it was set up to be a cracker of a game.
Hillfoots kicked off, and within minutes had their first points on the board with a finely struck penalty, after it was deemed the Strathie back line were offside. 3-0 Hillfoots.
This early set back had no negative affect on the home side, and seconds later they took the lead. Great work from Tom Cargill and the 'blacks' pack turned over the ball just as Hillfoots looked to clear their lines. Ewen Hart picked up the ball made a darting run towards the line, as the defence scrambled to stop him he flung the ball wide to Jordan Rae who scored in the corner. Fraser McKay landed the conversion to put Strathmore 7-3 ahead.
Hillfoots huffed and puffed for the following 10 minutes, but couldn't find a way through the black line of defence.
Strathmore however didn't have this problem, following a slick line out and a crash ball in the midfield, the Strathie backline were unleashed. Strachan and Scoular combined to play in Fraser McKay , who unselfishly popped a pass inside to namesake Cameron who raced past the fullback and scored under the posts. Scoular converted. 14-3 Strathmore.
This fired up the visiting team, but big Jeff Yarr and Tim Malkowski made several crunching tackles to stop any chance of an immediate Hillfoots reply. For the final 15 minutes of the half, the weather turned for the worse and this seemed to help Hillfoots and hinder the Strathie boys. After a few good phases of play just out from the line, Hillfoots reduced the deficit after quick thinking from their scrum half allowed the winger to score in the corner. With rain lashing down, the conversion was missed and the score stood at 14-8 to Strathie as the sides marched off for halftime.
In monsoon conditions the game was back underway. Attacking the famous clubhouse end of the ground, Strathie looked inspired. Scott Strachan and Stuart Gray carried the ball well, and the Strathie pack provided a platform for the backs to play from. Despite the tropical storm that was passing over Inchmacoble. After another fantastic Line out - orchestrated by Andrew Coupar - the Strathie pack rumbled forward. Gav Dissell and Jamie Gardiner hit the ball up into the midfield, presenting fast ball for Tom Cargill to ship the ball out to Dave Smith, Smithy showed his electrifying pace and beat several defenders with minimal effort before off loading to Colin Strachan, who bumped off the challenge of the Fullback and ran in a try from 30 metres. A great move which delighted everyone who was in attendance. The conversion was missed but Strathie had stretched their lead to 19-8.
The conditions didn't improve, but both sides continued to try and move the ball around. With 20 mins to go Luke Yarr (making his club debut) replaced Hart in the back row. With the Strathie scrum and lineout very much dominant it looked like it would be the men in black who would go on the increase their score, but it was not to be. Hillfoots managed to score with 15 minutes to go, to make the final chapter of the game exceedingly tense. 19-15 to Strathmore.
With 5 minutes of play left in the game, a huge hit from Stuart Gray on the Hillfoots centre forced a knock on. From the resulting scrum, the magician that is Tom Cargill, popper up with the ball and raced off past several defenders who looked on in disbelief as the young farmer scored in the clubhouse corner to harvest his sides 4th try of the game. With the bonus point now in the bag, and just minutes to play, McKay narrowly missed his conversion but the score wasn't to change again. Final score Strathmore 24, Hillfoots 15.
A fantastic result and performance from the men in black, who looked professional in the way in which they went about winning the game. A great start to the season.
Man of the Match - Jeff Yarr.
Next weekend Strathmore make the short trip north to Stonehaven to take on Mackie, in search of a similar result.
Squad; Gav Dissel, Timmy Malkowski, Scott Strachan, Stuart Disco Gray, Andy Super Coupar, Jamie Gardiner, Ewen Hart, Jeff Yarr. Tom Cargill, Fraser McKay, F'Cameron, Colin Strachan, Kieran Scoular, Jordan Rae, Dave Smith. Luke Yarr, Stewart Ross, Rory Collins.