Moray Rugby Club return to action with victory over Mackie to maintain unbeaten start to Tennent’s Caledonia North Region Division 2 season
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MORAY maintained their unbeaten record in the Tennent’s Caledonia North Region Division 2 season when they defeated Mackie by 38 points to 26 in Stonehaven last Saturday, writes Graham Stables.
The Stonehaven side kicked the game off on a blustery and wet afternoon but it was the visitors who took the early initiative and in the seventh minute, opened the scoring.
A penalty took them to an attacking line-out, 10 metres out. Prop Lewis Scott collected the ball at the tail and drove for the line.
Ruck ball was set, quickly moved to the backs and centre Cameron Hughes took the ball at pace and had the strength to break the tackle and score.
Stand-off Rory Millar added the conversion points for a 0-7 lead.
Four minutes later, Moray extended their lead.
A sliced clearance by the home full-back was gathered by hooker Chris Robottom and he drove into the defence and set up a ruck. Once again ball was quickly moved wide through hands to wing Connor McWilliam who turned the ball back inside to supporting Scott who made the line out wide.
Millar slotted the kick from the touchline for 0-14.
In the 17th minute, Mackie opened their account when after a passage of play in the attacking 22, they scored an unconverted try for 5-14 following a quickly taken tap penalty.
Five minutes later, the Stonehaven side progressed to an attacking line on the 22. Clean ball was taken, moved wide and good handling created the space to score out wide. With the conversion, the score was now 12-14.
From the restart, Mackie tried to run the ball from their own 22 but a big tackle by wing-forward David Clarke in the middle of the field created the turn over.
Scrum-half Struan Henderson quickly moved the ball and sharp hands found Hughes on wing to make the line for an unconverted try and 12-19 lead, the half-time score.
The Elgin side pressed immediately from the restart and after only four minutes, had their fourth and bonus point try of the afternoon.
A solid scrum on the home 22 was moved quickly through hands which created the space for McWilliam to make the line in the corner.
Millar pushed the kicked wide of the upright leaving the score at 12-24.
In the 54th minute, they added a fifth try. Good charging and handling play by the forwards down the right flank took them back into the 22, to a ruck.
Quick ball was moved left and a long pass reached centre Euan Kirkwood who stepped inside and had the strength to make the line.
Millar added the extras for 12-31.
On the 62nd minute mark, Mackie made their first breach of the half in to the 22 and came away with a converted score for 19-31.
Moray immediately return to the offensive and in the 75th minute, added another try. Following a number of driving phases in the 22, the ball was moved left from the break-down.
Hughes received the ball and seeing that the space was on the right, quickly sent a long pass back to the right to find McWilliam who scored under the posts.
Millar added the conversion for 19-38.
In the final minutes, the home side put together a passage of attacking play in the 22 and although this was initially repelled with solid tackling, they found a way to breach the defence and score a converted try for a final score of Mackie 26 Moray 38.
Despite the blustery and wet conditions it had been a very good game of rugby to watch but Moray had thoroughly deserved their win.
Up front they had been strong in the tight and in the open the forwards dominated with good driving and offloading plays.
Behind the scrum, the backs handled well in awful conditions, put great pace on the ball and were a thorn in the side of their opposite numbers all afternoon.
With the autumn international window open for the next three weeks, Moray’s next league game is not until Saturday November 27, away to Banff.