(LEAGUE) Shetland RFC 45 - 40 Aberdeenshire RFC
Posted on October 15, 2018
SHIRE STUMBLE AS SHETLAND STAGE LATE SURGE
Saturday saw the return of the Shire men to the great north for the first game of the season in the Caledonia North 3 League. With Aberdeenshire having travelled up only 2 weeks before for the Referee's Cup and securing the win the 20 man squad were hoping for a repeat performance.
Team spirits were high as the squad boarded the vessel and checked into their lounges for the expected smooth transition north, with a couple shandies to help keep the men occupied. Unfortunately Storm Ali had different ideas and the crossing resulted in quite a few taking shelter in the cabins and praying for the morning to come sooner.
A slightly breezy but sunny Lerwick welcomed the teams onto the pitch, with the men in red and black still full of confidence from the hard fought win earlier in the month and the local men determined to make up for the mistakes. With the visiting team taking the kick off the game started strong with competitive play from shire, soon turning over the ball and using their confidence and determination to drive forward with good set plays from the forwards and backs. The first try of the game came from Duncan Angus, Shire's South African powerhouse, who drove the defenders back to get under the posts for the score.
The home team dug deep and stepped up a gear and it became clear to the red and blacks that this wouldn't be a run away game and they'd need to stay focused. Strong scrumaging from the forwards meant Ball-hog Burton was able to pick and go off the back of the scrum and get a second try for Shire, to add more points on the board. Shetland quickly responded by breaking through tackles on the counter attack to close the gap. The third shire try of the half came from Jonny Gray, expertly demonstrating that his summer of learning how to salsa dance had not gone to waste and snaked his hips past 3 defenders to get his first try of the day. One more moment of lack of focus and poor tackling handed Shetland another 7 points to end the half 21-14 Aberdeenshire.
The boys tried to regroup and after some 'positive criticism' from the injured shire captain Frasser Norman and some re-jigging from the coaching staff the men headed back out. Unfortunately, a serious "Tit Strain" on captain Franster Floorman meant his game was over. A shakey start from the kick off resulted in a quick try from Shetland and the pressure was now on for the second half. The effects of the rough journey seemed to take effect in the half with highs and lows of play, with positive attacking play quickly overturned and defensive tackling being substandard the opposition were able to eliminate any ground made. A break in play allowed Shire to romp up the pitch and at 2 meters out a laser pass from Alan Stuart to Nick 'no woman tells me what to do' McBain was ruthlessly slapped down by the defending team, resulting in a penalty try and a yellow card for the offender.
Credit to the boys in blue, down to 14 men, they dug deep and Aberdeenshire were unable to capitalise on the extra man advantage. Poor tackling technique resulted in the oppositions 10 slipping 7 tackles and sticking it under the posts. Frustrated and tired the Shire heads began to drop and momentum was now with Shetland. A rare break in concentration from the Locals allowed Khalid 'Run Forrest Run' El Hidane to nip in a try, by running round the entire perimeter of the pitch. A try not long followed by a subsequent penalty conversion for Shetland brought the home team into the lead for the first time (38-35) with less than 10 minutes to go.
Both sides dug deep with determination and eventually with 2 minutes to go Shire broke through with Jamie Stephen securing the what was hoped would be the game winning try. With his kicking boot glowing red hot after nailing every conversion, the windy conditions caught him out with his final effort going wide. A nail biting 2 minutes followed with Shetland securing the restart and on the march with the large crowds acting as their 16th man, the flow of play was too much for a tired defensive side and on the last play of the game Shetland secured the win with a well taken quick penalty. Final score 45 - 40 to the home side, and a travelling side left not just sea sick.
The ferry back home was a rough one, with heavy fines handed out in the mid bar for the heinous crimes during the match, the most serious going to those 'selected' for video playback of their performances.
MOTM went to Duncan 'I Voted For Apartheid' Angus for his solid effort in attack and defence.
DOTD went to Alan 'Titch, But Not Where It Counts' Stuart for one bad pass (he vigorously disputes this!)
Match Report by Drew Forbes 📝
Thanks to Brian Gray Photography for covering the match! https://www.briangrayphotography.com/aberdeenshire20182
This Saturday the Shire Men will travel north to face Kinloss Eagles! 🏉
Unfortunately for our women's team, Aberdeenshire Quines Rugby, Ardrossan ladies have had to forfeit Saturday's match due to numbers. The Quines' next match is on Saturday the 6th, at Woodside, KO 2pm 🏉
Training continues tomorrow, Thursday, for both of our Men's and Women's teams: 18:30 - Woodside Sports Complex. New players welcome! 🐆