(LEAGUE) Aberdeenshire RFC 64 - 10 Huntly RFC
Posted on October 25, 2018
New Shire Strips Christened with Dominant Home Victory
To continue their league campaign, and hoping to build on the previous weeks hard fought victory, Aberdeenshire took on Huntly at Fortress Woodside. Having taken delivery of brand new strips that morning, the guys were up for a game but knew they were in for a physical 80 minutes, and were not disappointed.
Shire took the kick off and immediately put Huntly under pressure. Quick ball from a ruck to standoff Jamie Stephen allowed him to take the ball up to the defence line for a pop inside to Kenny Penman on a well timed run. Kenny burst through the line and scored the first try of the game. Following this, straight from the restart, Shire put the pressure back on the Huntly defence, thanks to the hard work of the forwards managing to gain a turnover. The ball then found its way into the hands of fullback Gavin Cunningham. Gav took the ball on his own 22 and went for a stroll down the pitch, beating 4 defenders and making 40 metres, before offloading from an eventual tackle. Paul Harrow was on the receiving end, and handed off the last defender to score under the posts.
From there, Huntly had a few stabs at the Shire defence. However the men in red & black stood solid - making some good hits, eventually dislodging the ball and resulting in a scrum on the half way line. Shires number 8 Original Josh picked up at the base of the scrum before handing off his opposite number and offloading to Paul Harrow who stepped inside, beating 2 defenders to score. Jamie Stephen was having a good afternoon with the boot so far, making the scoreline 21-0. With three converted tries in the first 10 minutes, it was shaping up to be a good afternoon for the home side, and Huntly knew they had a difficult task ahead of them.
Some complacency from Shire allowed the ball to go loose and be recovered by Huntly from the restart. However, once again, good rucking won Shire the ball back. With Huntly possibly becoming slightly frustrated, Jamie Stephen was hit with a high tackle - leading to his own formidable boot making 40 metres for a lineout. A catch and driving maul made good ground before being stopped 15 metres down the pitch. Taking the ball into contact again, Kenny Penman beat the defenders and sent a pop pass to Paul Harrow who dotted the ball down over the line to complete his hat trick.
Shire continued to dominate the game, through the outstanding play of the backs - sharp passing from Jamie Stephen and hard running from Gavin Cunningham led to the ball finding its way to Michael MacLugash on the wing. He beat his defender on the outside using his blistering pace, and stepped the last defender for another score.
With play restarted, Ed Minnett caught the ball excellently, only to be put down by a sniper in the trees (or tripping over his laces). Good clearance kicks were required from 9 and 10 to put Huntly back under pressure in their own half, before Michael MacLugash chipped and chased the ball through. It was caught cleanly by the Huntly fullback who was immediately hit by the MacLugash Express. Mike picked up the ball and passed to Harrow who yet again stepped inside to run through for the score. However, the Huntly fullback hadn't picked himself up yet and as it turns out was knocked unconscious from the thumping tackle. This led to the ref rescinding the try due to a head knock (although in the bar after the game some suggested he was fed up of seeing Harrow score try after try). Play was restarted with a scrum, won by Shire and with the following phases of play through the backs and forwards involving hard running from the whole team. After 6 phases scrum half Harrow fired the ball back inside to Kenny Penman from a ruck, who broke the line and was tackled. The ball was offloaded to support runner Captain Flazior Herman who galloped through for the try. Jamie converted once more making the score 40-0.
The final action of the half was again in the home teams favour, with big centre Jonny Gray making a huge tackle on the halfway line. He picked the ball up and pooped it to Drew Forbes who was off like a shot at 100mph (perhaps he thought he heard a fire alarm somewhere?) and in for a try. Half time score 47-0, and the forwards, feeling a little outdone by the class being shown in the backline, seem determined to catch up in the second half.
Unfortunately for the Shire forwards, but perhaps more so for Huntly, the 2nd half started off much the same as the 1st finished, with Aaron Wright beating 5 defenders with his pace before being brought down. Frazier Fourman ran a hard line off the ruck and burst through for another try. This brought his tally for the day to two - and his career try count to four in seven years at Shire! He was later found in a corner, watching footage of his own try over and over again, while modestly remarking 'Look at my slick moves... great run, what an awesome try! Just so sexy!'
Shire were putting in the hits with a big tackle from centre Jamie John stopping an impending Huntly attack from gaining momentum. Huntly continued to increase the tempo as the game went on, never letting the scoreline prevent them from giving 100%, putting Shire under pressure. A bit of back and forth play and some more hard running from their forwards led to Josh being yellow carded for what looked like a trip. It was unwarranted of course, Josh noticed his boots were untied as the defender came at him, and apparently, normally ties his shoes at knee height.
Huntly played through the phases from the resulting penalty, using the territory advantage well and stringing lots of good play together before scoring their first try of the day through an ex-Shire lad (now turned traitor to Huntly along with Andy 'I Can't Decide Which Team To Support' Cran) Phil 'The Ghost' Parkin - named after his untouchable runs where he used to cut through the defence. That elegance is long gone unfortunately, lost to the mists of time and age, but at least he has a nice red scrumcap now! Many on the sidelines will have heard Andy 'The Fake Fan' Cran remark, with his Huntly supporters cap back on and fifteen minutes to go, that overturning a 50 point deficit was definitely possible...
From the kick off, Huntly again managed to get into the Shire 22 through some great solo running from their hooker, leading to DJ Khalid throwing himself into a last ditch tackle to prevent a try, which didn't work. Unfortunately, he was knocked out in the process, drawing a parallel with Shires try from the first half. However, this time, the try was allowed to stand. Both tries unconverted, giving them 10 points to Shire's 52.
From there Shire got back on the front foot with a 20 metre driving maul, with the ball passed to Jonny Gray who smashed his way through the defence scoring from 10 meters out - he then converted the try himself.
Once play was restarted, Mike MacLugash almost scored following some quick passing along the line. He even broke a few tackles and found his way to the try line, only to drop the ball over the try line for a scrum to Huntly! Luckily the forwards won the ball back. Determined to make up for his mistake, Mike ran a sublime cut move using Jonny as a pillar, taking the pass for a lovely try, and what turned out to be the last one of the day.
The game wasn't over however, and with both sides determined to score some points in the closing minute of the game, Shire 9 Paul Harrow received a yellow card for cheating in a ruck. He maintains it was a legal counter-ruck... but the ref disagreed. This led to a Huntly penalty deep in Shire's half, however with 10 seconds to go Phil Parkin undid his earlier good work by getting a yellow card to end the game.
Final Score 64 - 10 🏉
All in all a good day for Aberdeenshire, leading up to the next clash against current table toppers Aberdeen Uni.
MOTM - Gavin Cunningham, for his great running.
DOTD - Khalid El Hidane, for using his head as an unsuccessful battering ram.
Matches report written by Paul Harrow 📝
Next up we make the short journey away to Aberdeen University. Shire, currently in second place, are only 4 points away from the current league leaders from AU! Should be a cracking game! 🏉
Our Women's team, Aberdeenshire Quines Rugby, have some much needed time off after their tough 14 vs 15+a bench loss in the capital. Their next match will be at home on the 11th of November against Kelso 🏉
Both sides continue training tonight, 6:30pm atWoodside Sports Complex! All abilities and experience levels welcome! 🐆