NATIONAL MEN'S BOWL MATCH REPORT: Dundee University Medics 31-34 Aberdeenshire
Silver Saturday got off to a thrilling start under blue skies at BT Murrayfield as Dundee Uni Medics (DUMS) took on Aberdeenshire in a high-scoring match where momentum swung back and forth between the two teams. Aberdeenshire lifted the silverware with a 31-34 win but the medics kept fighting right until the last play of the game.
It was Aberdeenshire who got the game underway and within minutes put the first points on the board. It was off the back of a line-out as Jason Burton steamed onto the ball and dove over to claim five points. (0-5)
DUMS quickly put the pressure on and were rewarded with a penalty, which number 10 Michael Finnerty eased over the posts to narrow the gap. (3-5)
Both teams had chances in the first quarter but found their opposition to have a solid defence. 27 minutes in was Aberdeenshire’s turn to enjoy a penalty in front of the posts and Gavin Cunningham’s kick was good to increase their lead. (3-8)
A fine break from Finnerty seared through the Aberdeenshire defence before his offload to Liam Deboys allowed the winger to touch down right behind the posts. Finnerty’s conversion was successful to give DUMS the lead. (10-8)
DUMS had the wind beneath their sails and were using the wide channels effectively before earning a penalty on the half-way line. A memorable kick from Michael Finnerty stretched the medics’ lead. (13-8)
HALF-TIME: Dundee University Medics 13-8 Aberdeenshire
DUMS got the second half underway but Aberdeenshire soon gained possession. From a line-out deep in DUMs territory the ball was recycled and Kenny Penman powered over the whitewash. The conversion by Gavin Cunningham was good to take Aberdeenshire back into the lead after 45 minutes. (13-15)
DUMS went on to enjoy a strong spell of attacking play and the dancing feet of their centre Toby Hughes got them within feet of the tryline. It looked like their scrum-half might have scored a try but a penalty was awarded instead. Finnerty opted to kick for goal and secured three points for DUMS to edge them back into the lead. (16-15)
The medics continued to make gains out wide and full-back Fezan Mughal mad a swift offload to centre Fraser Paterson who earned another try for DUMS. Fly-half Finnerty missed his first kick of the match. (21-15)
With 20 minutes left on the clock, Aberdeenshire started going through the phases and worked their way deep into DUMS territory. After a sustained period of pressure Aberdeenshire prop Steve Cook scored from the line-out and the conversion was good. (21-22)
With the clock ticking down there was no sign of either side giving up the fight. The next points came from another penalty kick from Michael Finnerty. (24-22)
Eager not to be out-done, Aberdeenshire fought back straight away and winger Tom Watson made a clean break to add another five points to Aberdeenshire’s scoreline. (24-27)
Conversion successful. (24-29)
A few errors began to creep in with both a DUMS and Aberdeenshire player being yellow carded, but there was no let-up in the intensity.
It wasn’t long before Aberdeenshire upped the stake once again, with Stephen Cook earning his second try of the day. (24-34)
DUMS still wouldn’t give in and a great break by full-back Mughal gave them options. An offload from Finnerty in front of the posts saw winger Tom Bisset cross the whitewash. (29-36)
Finnerty converted with less than a minute on the clock, but the scoreline remained the same when the final whistle blew (31-34)
Aberdeenshire Captain, Frazer Forman, said: “ I was nervous to say the least but we’ve been getting off to slow starts all season really so I always had faith in the boys to come through because it’s a good bunch of boys we’ve got this season and I’m just delighted all round.
“We didn’t know anything about Dundee at all to be honest, we just didn’t want the occasion to get to us and I think the boys came here and did a good job.
“I think it’s the greatest season in our history – we won the regional and then we won the game, that was always the goal, we did that in great style and what a way to cap off a season to win here at BT Murrayfield in this great stadium.”
FULL-TIME: Dundee University Medics 31-34 Aberdeenshire
PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Michael Finnerty (DUMS)
Dundee University Medics: Fezan Mughal; Liam Deboys, Fraser Paterson, Toby Hughes, Tom Bisset; Michael Finnerty, Michael Romano; Michael Ashfield, Zack Slevin, Fraser Kennedy, Fraser Curran, Connall Grieve, Calum Sreenan, Ewen Cullen (C), Campbell Yates
Replacements:Christian Paulina, Euan Pflug, Ruaridh McCall, Harvey Campbell, Brian Doherty, Niall Cameron, James Paxton
Aberdeenshire: Jamie Stephen; Tom Watson, Gavin Cunningham, Jonny Gray, Michael MacLugash; Paul Harrow, Malcolm White; Steve Shrewsbury, James Dooley, Steven Cook, Frazer Forman (C), Paul Watson, Kenny Penman, Andy Forman, Jason Burton
Replacements:Lewis Emslie, Josh Taylor, Iain Irvine, Barry Davies, Matt Lynch, Jamie John, Aaron Wright