Aberdeen Grammar Rugby 18 - Peebles 13
Tries by Shanon Temita & Martin Cruickshank, Neil Warnock added 1 penalty
Peebles headed to Aberdeen on Saturday the 10th with hopes of maintaining their undefeated record in Premier 2, though with some trepidation, given Aberdeen’s hefty victory the previous week. Things were just never going to be easy for Peebles, with the following players unavailable due to injury or other commitments: David Harvey, David Paton, David Anderson, Craig Borthwick who was on Rugby League International duty, Adam Clark, and Alan Smellie. This was really going to be a big ask. Particularly given that our regular lineout jumpers were missing and with Paton, Borthwick, Harvey and Clark all missing from what has been a fabulous pack so far this year, which new forwards coach Gerry McGuinness deserves a great deal of credit for. This was to prove a very difficult encounter. With Gary Parker now at the helm the Peebles travelling support were hopeful of a victory and it was cheering news to know that Willie Aitken’s red card from two yellows against Stew Mel at the Gytes the previous week did not result in a match ban. Which brings me to a point of players coming in and wrapping up a tackler hence preventing him from rolling away and getting him penalised. Most frustrating! It was bad luck on Willie Aitken to be penalised on both occasions
So to 3pm at Rubislaw, Aberdeen, on a cold and grey but perfect day with no wind to blame for missed penalties (don't mention that to the Aberdeen scrum half who missed a bagful) Peebles started with Alan Warnock replacing David Paton at no 8 , Shanon Temita making a full debut at 6 , Kenny Clyde replacing Harvey at 4 and Connor Blyth starting at 14. Otherwise the team remained unchanged apart from the evergreen Neil Clark at 3 in place of brother Adam,
Within 2 minutes Aberdeen had Peebles under pressure from 2 turnovers and won a penalty deep in the Peebles half which was converted to give them a 3 nil lead
Play restarted and Aberdeen immediately pressured Peebles again resulting in a lineout in the Peebles 22 and Peebles clearing their lines from the resulting rolling maul. As play continued Aberdeen again turned over a ruck ball , which was turned over again by Peebles. Parker and McGuiness were becoming very vocal on the touchline. I had to laugh at all the times I can think of seeing Gary Parker in the Gala and Biggar dugout giving it laldy and the Peebles support giving it to him good style!! . It's okay now though Gary we are right behind you.
Then on eleven minutes Aberdeen opened up Peebles with a smart shipping of the ball culminating in Aberdeen’s Sam Ryan passing to Steve Aitken on the wing for a try, which saw the Peebles defence and tackling going amiss. Luckily for Peebles the Aberdeen scrum half managed to miss the conversion, but this left Peebles 8 nil down and the travelling support in deep woe!
Peebles then managed to get forward and Aberdeen conceded a penalty in 14 minutes. Unluckily though Neil Warnock’s kick went astray. This seemed to gee Peebles up and the forwards put together some good rolling mauls and rucks with Euan Jackson in fine form, and quick ball being established at the back of the breakdowns by Drew Moore who was urging his players on.
Aberdeen came back strongly and put severe pressure on the Peebles try line, and Peebles managed to prevent a try by holding up what looked like a certain touchdown. Peebles managed to clear their lines from the resulting scrum 5. Steve Irvine then came on as a sub for Peebles with Neil Clark starting to look heavy legged.
In 25 minutes the ref blew up at a scrum, for either lifting or boring by Peebles, and Aberdeen kicked for a lineout deep in the Peebles 22. Peebles managed to regain the ball, when Aberdeen won the lineout, and were then penalised for lying over the ball. Warnock’s penalty cleared the ball to halfway but it came to nothing
In 30 minutes Peebles started fighting back into the game, and after a lineout which saw Aberdeen penalised for coming through, Peebles were awarded a scrum which saw a great run from Donald Anderson feeding Connor Blyth who outstripped the defence but knocked the ball on when trying to receive it.
Peebles were pressing hard now and after a scrum near the bottom right of the stand Temita rumbled over from all of half a yard to score for Peebles. 8 - 5 and the Peebles support were going loco! Unfortunately Warnock missed the conversion, but we were back in it after suffering some severe pressure
In 35 minutes Peebles were piling it on, with some great mauling after a fabulous steal and turnover in the centre of the park. This resulted in a kick and chase by Peebles, with the Aberdeen defence making it there first, to touch down for a 22 dropout. Peebles regained possession and took it right back to Aberdeen, who knocked on under pressure just in their own half for a scrum to The Pees. Aberdeen were then penalised for not releasing the tackler after the scrum, and Peebles kicked for a lineout. The ball then found its way to Connor Blyth who knocked on and a scrum was awarded to Aberdeen.
The result of this was frantic as Aberdeen took the scrum, and Peebles moved in to take the ball from the ground, just as an Aberdeen player came straight in from the tackle. The crowd were getting quite shirty over this, much to Gary Parkers dismay! and he quite correctly pointed out that you must move away from the point of contact before going back in. So for all the Aberdeen supporters who were up in arms, you should listen to our mad Gary when he rants as he was only correctly pointing out one of the new rules for this season, and jolly well explained it was too! Half time 8-5 Aberdeen
From the kick off in the second half the Aberdeen 15 Steve Aitken made a great break and was almost in. Neil Clark came back on for Irvine to shore up the resulting scrum, and Peebles lost out as the ball broke to Aberdeen and they were in. 13-5. Luckily the hapless Aberdeen scrum half missed the conversion again.
Peebles then exerted some pressure from the kick off, and set up a series of rucks before being penalised and losing ground. However Peebles regained the ball , and Cruickshank kicked deep, but too deep and Aberdeen touched down for a 22 dropout. The result though, was Aberdeen being penalised for having a player or two in front of the kicker. Scrum Peebles on the 22, but after pressure Peebles lost out, having kicked forward and an Aberdeen player receiving the ball and calling for his mark.
Peebles continued to press, with some great work from Rhino who fed Anderson whose kick resulted in Aberdeen regaining the ball. Temita then went off looking tired , and it appears he needs to gain some match fitness, albeit he had a good game, and scored a try. He was replaced by David Brown
Aberdeen then managed to put pressure on the Peebles try line only for the ball to be held up and for Peebles to clear their lines from the scrum 5. A lineout from the Peebles 22 saw Peebles pressing forward, but Aberdeen regained possession only to be stopped by a fabulous tackle from Dale Clancy. Then Aberdeen broke from the left, and found an overlap, due to poor Peebles cover, and sailed in for their third try. 18-5. Another missed conversion! much to Peebles delight , and Neil Clark was back off for a rest of his weary old bones to be replaced by Steve Irvine.
A drop goal was then missed by Neil Warnock as Peebles sought to get back in the game. Unluckily Willie Aitken knocked on the Aberdeen drop out. Aberdeen though were now clearly starting to tire.
Peebles pressure then saw them make ground and win a scrum close to the Aberdeen 22 just as Martin Thomson replaced Dale Clancy who looked to have taken a serious knee injury which was worrying. Euan Jackson looked to have taken a sore one at the same time, but continued on the park. McConnell then took the ball on a Rhino charge in a spell of Peebles pressure. The ball was spun to Cruickshank, who dived in for his try in the left hand corner to make it 18-10. Unluckily, the touch judge who was endeavouring to keep up with play, perhaps got a bit to close, and as Cruickshank went in for his try, the despairing Aberdeen no 8 managed to wipe the touch judge out completely! Graeme Bell then took over the poorly man's duties.
Peebles were now gaining the upper hand and were coming more and more into the game. Aberdeen were now defending desperately as Peebles pressed forward. Finally, and not before time Aberdeen were penalised for coming in from the side at a ruck. Though I am sure all of Aberdeen heard Davey Swan and Gary Parker shouting for the penalty . Neil Warnock converted 18-10! game on! ten minutes to go!
The game ended furiously with young Matt Carryer coming on for Peebles in place of Rhino McConnell and Peebles going all out to gain something from the game. Peebles pressed and pressed, but Aberdeen managed to hold out with some great defence work. Aberdeen were tired, and had Peebles been at full strength they most likely would have won.
However we must look at the positives. We blooded a lot of inexperienced young players who did brilliantly, and they will mature for this game. Having seen us beat Accies I think there is no better team in the league on their day than Peebles at full strength. Next week’s game against Biggar at the Gytes is huge. Hopefully our missing players can return, and Dale Clancy and Euan Jackson will have recovered from their injuries. Neil Hogarth will also be available, after his lengthy holiday courtesy of a wee indiscretion! We still have a difficult game at GHA and the tricky obstacle of our old foes Gala prior to the split. Here is hoping we can do it as Gary and Gerry have got this team playing some great rugby. Finally, Many thanks to Donald and John Swanson for your assistance
1 Willie Aitken 11 Martin Cruickshank
2 Ryan McConnell 12 David McLean
3 Neil Clark 13 Dale Clancy
4 Kenneth Clyde 14 Connor Blyth
5 Andrew Brown 15 Donald Anderson
6 Shanon Temita 16 Matt Carryer
7 Euan Jackson 17 David Brown
8 Allan Warnock 18 Steven Irvine
9 Drew Moore 19 Martin Thomson
10 Neil Warnock 20