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PICTURES: Moray Rugby Club remain at summit of Tennent’s Caledonia North Region Division 2 league after victory over Ross Sutherland


By Ali Morrison

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Moray returned to action for the first time in 5 weeks and produced a convincing 58-18 victory over Ross Sutherland last Saturday, writes Graham Stables.

Archie Duncan trying to step past defenders. Connor McWilliam in background. Photo: John MacGregor
Archie Duncan trying to step past defenders. Connor McWilliam in background. Photo: John MacGregor

This maintained their unbeaten record and retained top spot of the 2021/22 Tennent’s Caledonia North Region Division 2 league.

After conceding an early Rory Millar penalty lead following a high tackle, Ross got themselves 5-3 in front when a drive from an attacking line-out in the 22 was spun wide and the defensive line broken for an unconverted try.

In the 14th minute, however, the Elgin side regained the lead at 8-5. An under-pressure clearance from the 22 was fielded and several phases of continuity driving took them deep into the 22. The ball was moved quickly through hands from the base of a ruck and Archie Duncan made the corner for an unconverted try.

Steven Clark breaking tackle. Cameron Hughes in support. Photo: John MacGregor
Steven Clark breaking tackle. Cameron Hughes in support. Photo: John MacGregor

Two minutes later, Moray were caught offside and the visiting stand-off landed the kick to level the scores.

On 25 minutes, a solid attacking scrum, 35 metres out, allowed Calum Smith to pick up ball and break to the blind side. Once again quick hands produced the overlap and Jonny Haslam ran in the unconverted try for 13-8.

Lewis Scott tries to offload to Euan Kirkwood in the tackle. Photo: John MacGregor
Lewis Scott tries to offload to Euan Kirkwood in the tackle. Photo: John MacGregor

In a six-minute spell before half-time, the home side took control of the game scoring two more tries.

Firstly, Haslam scored his second, a converted try, following a good break by Duncan and quick hands.

Jonny Haslam ready to hand off defender. Archie Duncan left and Rory Millar right. Photo: John MacGregor
Jonny Haslam ready to hand off defender. Archie Duncan left and Rory Millar right. Photo: John MacGregor

Secondly, a good break and kick by Euan Kirkwood created good pressure on the defence and Lewis Scott was on hand to grubber the ball over the line to score an unconverted try for a half-time lead at 25-8.

Cameron Hughes bursting through tackle. Mark Taylor and Marc Higgins in background. Photo: John MacGregor
Cameron Hughes bursting through tackle. Mark Taylor and Marc Higgins in background. Photo: John MacGregor

Moray continued to press after the break and in a dominant 20-minute spell added four more tries, all converted by Millar for 53-8.

Millar added the first two, both after good driving and open handling play that split the visiting defence apart.

Euan Kirkwood gets past defender supported by Rory Millar. Photo: John MacGregor
Euan Kirkwood gets past defender supported by Rory Millar. Photo: John MacGregor

Next was Steven Clark who pounced on a poor tap back at a defending five metre line-out to score.

And fourthly, Duncan got his second following a blind-side break and quick hands from a scrum on the Ross 10 metre line.

The visitors were down but showed great character when in the 66th minute, when they scored an unconverted try, for 53-13.

Euan Kirkwood kicking. Photo: John MacGregor
Euan Kirkwood kicking. Photo: John MacGregor

Seven minutes from time, Smith picked up ball at the base of a scrum on the opposition 22 and broke blind, breaking a number of tackles to score an unconverted try for 58-13.

Connor McWilliam about to offload. Jonny Haslam and Rory Millar trying to get there. Photo: John MacGregor
Connor McWilliam about to offload. Jonny Haslam and Rory Millar trying to get there. Photo: John MacGregor

Ross had the final say in the game when scored out wide for a final score of 58-18.

It had been a good all-round display by the Moray side. They had been strong in the tight but with ball in hand they had been exceptional, with both forwards and backs contributing and causing huge problems all afternoon.

Strong running by Connor McWilliam. Photo: John MacGregor
Strong running by Connor McWilliam. Photo: John MacGregor

This Saturday, the team will have probably the biggest game of their season so far when they visit a resurgent Aberdeenshire.


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