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Aberdeen Wanderers 41 - 24 Glenrothes

Aberdeen Wanderers 41 - 24 Glenrothes

By Ross Anderson
26 January
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Match Report from John Goodall


Having been comprehensively beaten at home by Aberdeen Wanderers, Glenrothes Rugby Club travelled to the Granite City on Saturday prepared for a difficult afternoon. Potential problems were compounded by the unavailability of back rowers Jack Bousie and Daryl Warrender who were among the better players in last week’s defeat to Orkney. In fact the Carleton Park team headed north with a bare 15 players though this was added to by James Cowan’s arrival just before half time.
Spirits were raised among the small group of Glens fans in the first minute. Ellon’s kick off failed to reach the 10m line. Glenrothes comfortably won their own scrum and shipped the ball right. Shaun Gray injected some pace before passing back inside to Russell Geieve who touched down to the right of the posts. Gray’s conversion attempt flew wide.
Despite another short restart, Wanderers were soon on the front foot and after being repulsed on the right, a delightful cross field kick and a slip by Gray enabled the left winger to score comfortably to tie the scores and the conversion gave them a lead. From the restart Wanderers doubled their tally when their winger was allowed to run 30m through non-existent tackles to score a try midway between the corner and the posts. Again the conversion was good.
Three tries in ten minutes was a pace that could not be maintained and there was a spell with the home team enjoying the bulk of possession but doughty defence keeping them at bay and offering occasional flashes of attacking play from Glenrothes. Eventually the home side turned possession into points when an overlap was created on the right and the winger grabbed his second try. On the stroke of half time, Wanderers earned a bonus point with a fourth try following a lineout 5m from the Reds line. A missed conversion made the score at the interval 24-5.
Early in the second period, things took a turn for the worse for the Glens as Mihai Banu was yellow carded for a dangerous tackle. Wanderers opted for a scrum and moved the ball quickly right for their winger to complete his hat trick.
The home team made a mess of fielding the restart, allowing the Glens to go on the offense. Grieve and Gavin Denholm went close but were rebuffed. Then Scott Morrison charged forward and, when stopped, passed to the supporting Gray. He in turn fed Rhys Bryce and when he was held he offloaded to Charlie Dance who marked his Glenrothes debut with a try in the left corner.
As Banu rejoined the fray after his enforced spell on the sidelines, Wanderers increased their lead. Following a lineout on the Glens 22m line the home fly half threw a dummy creating a huge hole for him to run through. He was tap tackled but not held and was able to crawl under the posts for a try which he also converted.
Earlier in the season the Glens heads may have gone down but that didn’t happen on Saturday. They headed back into Wanderers territory and got an unexpected reward with a yellow card issued to a home flanker for repeated offences. Initially the Reds were unable to take advantage of their numerical superiority, even being pushed backwards in a counter ruck on the goal line. However they kept the pressure on and were awarded a penalty 5m from the goal line. They opted for a scrum and trundled toward the line then over it when Calum, Calderwood touched down for the Glens third try which Gray converted.
The Aberdonians forced a lineout 5m from the Glens line and the Reds frailty in this area cost them again when the home team won clean ball, formed a maul and crossed the line en masse. Their number eight claimed the try.
Though the result was now beyond question, Dougie Mackinlay roused his charges by pointing out that a try scoring bonus was still achievable. Initially it looked like it might be Wanderers who scored the next try as a 50-22 kick gave them another 5m lineout. Fortunately for the Glens the ball was overthrown and Calderwood was able to tidy up and feed Grieve. He cleared deep into Aberdeen territory and chased his kick to produce a great tackle on a defender but the Glens were unable to force a turn over. They did however keep the pressure on their opponents, coming close from another 5m scrum, before the ball was moved wide left. Aiden Morris was stopped short of the line but Bryce was backing up well, picked up the ball that was laid back and dived over for the Glens fourth try which Gray converted for a final score of 41-24. For a second successive week, Glenrothes man of the match was a prop forward with Jim Clark being recognised for the dominance shown in the set scrum and his personal 80 minute performance.
Next week, Glenrothes face Ellon at Carleton Park (KO 2pm) and this will be a demanding game as Ellon scored over 100 points in their earlier meeting. If Glenrothes are to take anything from the game they will be hoping to build on the attitude they showed at Aberdeen and the strength of their set scrum. Last Saturday’s back play was a step up from the previous week and they will be hoping to continue on this trajectory and they will also hope to welcome back Bousie and Warrender in particular to shore up their defence.
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