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Success of Moray Rugby Club's first team in Tennent's Caledonia North Region League Division 2 sparks return of second team action against Highland Rugby Club's third string


By Ali Morrison

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A strong start to the current league campaign by the 1st team has seen numbers at training soar, writes Brian Foreman.

Callum Watson wrapped up be two Highland defenders. Photo: James Officer
Callum Watson wrapped up be two Highland defenders. Photo: James Officer

So, it was welcome news that Moray were able to announce a second team fixture for the first time this season against Highland 3rds.

A good open game of rugby saw the Elgin side run out 36-14 victors.

Things didn’t start too well, when after only four minutes the Highland full-back pounced on a fumbled high kick and followed up his grubber kick to touch down near the posts. The simple conversion made it 0-7.

Calum Smith releases ball to Ewan Simpson. Ethan Walsh in background. Photo: James Officer
Calum Smith releases ball to Ewan Simpson. Ethan Walsh in background. Photo: James Officer

Moray replied just three minutes later when Andrew McBean broke left from the base of a scrum in the 22 and powered all the way to the line for an unconverted try and 5-7 score line.

Andrew McBean breaks blind from scrum to score. Photo: James Officer
Andrew McBean breaks blind from scrum to score. Photo: James Officer

The home team struck again just after the quarter hour.

Steven Clark secured lineout ball on the halfway and drove at the defence. The ball was shipped through a number of hands before Ewan Simpson made the try-line out wide. Even though the wide kick was missed, they led 10-7.

Ewan Simpson scores. Photo: James Officer
Ewan Simpson scores. Photo: James Officer

The next 20 minutes were even but with half time approaching it was the Inverness side who got their noses in front again.

They turned defence, in their 22, into attack and following a number of phases scored a converted try under the posts for 10-14.

Moray didn’t rest. From a scrum just inside the visitors' half, they once again broke left. After a number of phases and good interplay they were stopped just short but centre Calum Smith was on hand to crash over for an unconverted try and a half-time 15–14 lead.

Jake Devlin takes on defence on way to scoring. Photo: James Officer
Jake Devlin takes on defence on way to scoring. Photo: James Officer

The second half took a little bit longer to come to life, but on the 57th minute, Moray stretched the lead.

The visiting backs were caught offside from a clearance kick and following a quick tap penalty, Jake Devlin fought through several tacklers to score. Bruce Darling added the conversion for 22–14.

Ross Joy goes for gap between two Highland defenders supported by Calum Smith and Steven Clark. Photo: James Officer
Ross Joy goes for gap between two Highland defenders supported by Calum Smith and Steven Clark. Photo: James Officer

Seven minutes later, clever work by Callum Watson, at the base of the opposition scrum, released Ross Joy who rumbled his way to the line from distance, leaving despairing tacklers in his wake. Another Darling conversion made it 29-14.

Ross Joy scores. Photo: James Officer
Ross Joy scores. Photo: James Officer

Highland were reeling now and the contest was effectively over from the ensuing restart.

Cameron Morrison-Smith collected the kick and drove straight into the defence and made 20 metres before offloading. The ball was moved through several phases and finally shipped wide to Simpson to score his second of the day. Darling’s conversation made it a final score of 36-14.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable and hard game, played in good spirit by both sides.

Captain Lewis Smith on charge. Photo: James Officer
Captain Lewis Smith on charge. Photo: James Officer

The Moray team acquitted themselves well having not played together for such a long time.

The forwards fronted up well and took control the longer the game went on. The backs were sound defensively and had the same willingness to attack that the 1sts have showcased this season.

Strength in depth bodes well for the club and creates competition for places. Hopefully there will be more games to come for them to build on this.


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