Four wins out of four for Moray Rugby Club after strong comeback to defeat Aberdeenshire in Tennent’s Caledonia North Region Division 2
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MORAY maintained their unbeaten start to the Tennent’s Caledonia North Region Division 2 league on Saturday, writes Graham Stables.
The Elgin side overturned a first half deficit of 14 points, to win by 37 points to 29 against Aberdeenshire at Morriston.
Aberdeenshire arrived in Elgin with a very big forward pack and it took only four minutes to open the scoring.
Following a number of barging drives, they made the line for an unconverted try and a 0-5 lead.
Three minutes later, the home side replied. A scrum in the attacking half was taken cleanly and moved to centre Connor McWilliam who made good ground before offloading to his fellow centre Cameron Hughes.
He broke through a couple of tackles and was strong enough to wrestle the ball over the line. Stand-off Rory Millar added the conversion points to take the lead at 7-5.
In the 11th minute, Shire regained the lead at 7-10 when they scored a similar forward driving try.
Moray tried hard to respond but it was the Aberdeen team who extended the lead in the 25th minute.
A driving run took them deep into the home half to a ruck. The scrum-half broke blind, evaded the cover tackle and scored a converted try for 7-17.
Eight minutes later, the direct powerful running of the big visiting forwards saw them score a fourth converted try for 7-24.
The big pack had been hard to manage throughout the first half but two minutes from half-time, they went over the top at a ruck and a penalty was given. Millar landed the kick for 10-24.
Moray needed a big second half and after 5 minutes, they reduced the lead to 13-24 when Millar landed a penalty kick.
In the 51st minute, they reduced the lead further. An attack by the backs saw them bundled into touch, 5 metres out. The line-out was fumbled and prop Lewis Scott latched on to the loose ball and scored.
With Millar adding the extras, the lead was reduced to 4 points, at 20-24.
The home side were now bossing the game and posing real problems for the Shire defence. In the 63rd minute, they got back to within a point when Millar added another penalty after a high-tackle.
In the 68th minute, and after their first serious foray into home 22 in the 2nd half, the Aberdeen team drove hard for the line. After several phases and when they had pulled in the defence, the ball was moved wide to allow an unconverted try to be scored out wide for 23-29.
With the big forwards notably tiring, Moray piled on the pressure in the final 10 minutes.
In the 74th minute, they put together several phases of driving for the line before opening the ball wider to Scott, who managed to breach the defence and score his second try. Millar added the two conversion points to regain the lead at 30-29.
The Elgin side continued to press and two minutes from time, put the game beyond their opponents.
With play deep in their red zone, Shire knocked the ball on. Clean ball was taken at the scrum and after a couple of drives for the line, the ball was swiftly moved wide to full-back Archie Duncan in space, to make the line out wide. Millar superbly landed the kick from the touch-line for 37-29, the final score.
It had been the proverbial game of two halves. The first half belonged to Aberdeenshire and their big forwards proved hard to stop. In the second half, Moray rallied, upped the pace of the game, with both forwards and backs running hard and causing real issues and showed true grit to turn the game round.
Moray do not have a fixture this weekend but will welcome Highland Raptors to Morriston the following Saturday (9th October).