PICTURES: Stewart Bright sparks Moray rugby derby victory over Banff in Tennents Caledonia North Region League Division 2
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Moray maintained their good start to their Tennent’s Caledonia North Region League Division 2 campaign, writes Graham Stables.
The Elgin outfit made it two wins out of two, when they defeated Banff by 22 points to 12 at Morriston last Saturday.
The visitors kicked off and in the early minutes, they put Moray under pressure in their own half.
The defence handled the onslaught well and in the ninth minute, it was the home side that had the chance to take the lead but stand-off Rory Millar pulled the penalty attempt wide.
Moray came more and more into the game and in the 21st minute, they took the lead. A powerful scrummage drove the opponents of the ball and force the penalty. Millar landed the kick for 3-0.
Banff’s big forwards tried hard to make the line just before half time but Moray weathered the storm with sound defence.
In the final minute, the Elgin side forced opposition ball to be spilled inside their half and wing Stewart Bright was quickest to react and gathered the ball, out-sprinted the defence and scored under the posts.
Millar added the conversion for a half time score of Moray 10, Banff 0.
Within two minutes of the restart, the Elgin side added to their lead.
Left wing Archie Duncan made good ground into the opposition half before he was halted.
A ruck was set and ball moved quickly right through hands to prop Lewis Scott who powered his way over the line. Millar again converted for 17-0.
In the 50th minute, the Banff side responded. Following a number penalties and a yellow card, they gained field position and drove hard for the line using their big forwards. A couple of drives later, they breached the defence and scored a converted try to narrow the lead to 17-7.
Moray returned to the offensive and a couple of minutes later, added to their tally.
A clearance from within the Banff 22 was fielded by centre Ewan Simpson. He immediately ran back at the defence and set up a ruck.
Quick ball was moved to the blindside, to full-back Calum Archibald who made ground before offloading to Bright to score out wide. Millar narrowly missed the conversion, leaving the score at 22-7.
The next 10 minutes or so was played in mid-field with no-one having the upper hand but in the 65th minute, the visitors scored to get themselves back in the game.
With the referee’s line of sight blocked, a fortuitous forward pass allowed them to get behind the gain-line. With the defence now in disarray, they capitalised and a couple of phases later, they scored an unconverted try out wide to narrow the score to 22-12.
The last 25 minutes were frantic with Banff trying to reduce the lead further and Moray looking to score the fourth and bonus point try.
The home side handled any opposition attacks well and did get themselves into good positions to score on a couple of occasions.
Lost ball at a critical line-outs and a knock-on in a backs attack meant the final result remained at 22-12 in Moray's favour.
It had been the usual hard tussle against Banff but an all-round solid performance by the Moray side.
The forwards were up against a big Banff pack but showed up well and their efforts in the scrum created the first points of the afternoon.
The only negative was the line-out which did not function well and will need work before next weekend’s game.
The backs always looked threatening with ball in hand and good strong running and good hands contributed two tries.
This Saturday, Moray are again on league business, this time away to Ross Sutherland.