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First defeat for Moray Rugby Club in Tennent’s Caledonia North Region Division 2 as hosts Aberdeenshire win the day at Woodside

By Ali Morrison

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Moray suffered their first defeat of the Tennent’s Caledonia North Region Division 2, writes Graham Stables.

Cameron Hughes breaks with Calum Archibald in support. Photo: James Officer
Cameron Hughes breaks with Calum Archibald in support. Photo: James Officer

The Elgin side lost by 28 points to 13 against Aberdeenshire at Woodside last Saturday in a hard-fought fixture.

Moray kicked off in terrible weather conditions and quickly regained the ball and put together a number of driving phases for the line but unfortunately a knock-on turned over ball and the chance was gone.

A penalty to Shire in the 6th minute allowed them to prod the ball to a line-out, 15 metres out. Clean ball was taken and a number of phases later, the line was broken with No 8 Andrew Cook making the line for a converted try and a 7-0 lead.

Moray rallied, applying pressure in the home half and in the 19th minute, stand-off Rory Millar reduced the lead to 7-3 when he landed a penalty for hands in the ruck.

The visitors continued to put together some good passages of play but could not reduce the lead further.

Two minutes from half time, however, the Aberdeen team stretched their lead. Following a number of drives by their big pack, Cook scored a second converted try for a half-time score of 14-3.

Aberdeenshire started the second half strongly and after 10 minutes, increased their lead. A sliced goal-line drop-kick went straight to touch giving an attacking scrum 5. Clean ball was taken and Cook broke blind to score another converted try for 21-3.

The home side continued to press but slowly the Moray side came more into the game.

Calum Archibald makes great break from his own 22 metre line. Photo: James Officer.
Calum Archibald makes great break from his own 22 metre line. Photo: James Officer.

In the 68th minute they reduced the leeway. A penalty, 10 metres out, was quickly taken and set before being moved blind to full-back Archie Duncan who scored an unconverted try for 21-8.

This gave the visitors impetus and four minutes later, they scored again. Another penalty in the 22 was taken quickly and a simple pass saw back-row Calum Smith break through and touch down.

The Aberdeen team quickly got off the line to charge down the conversion attempt to leave the score at 21-13.

With two minutes left to play, the Elgin side were trying to attack from their own 22 but a knock-on in the quickly darkening conditions gave the home side an attacking scrum, 10 metres out.

Ball was picked up at the base and a swift pass to scrum-half Paul Harrow created the converted try and final 28-13 score line.

The very cold and very wet weather conditions on the day had made it difficult for Moray to play their normal expansive game.

The Aberdeen side made good use of strong running by their forwards and centres and they made the most of their opportunities.

The win means that Aberdeenshire now sit top of the league by two points but the Elgin side do have a game in hand.

The next league fixture for Moray is another big game against Highland Raptors, in Inverness, on Saturday January 8.

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