Garioch RFC lined up at Kellands for the first time this new season in a re-arranged friendly against Aberdeen Wanderers.
The Garioch squad was a mixture of regulars and some new faces and Head Coach Andy Gowrie was looking for the new look team to put into play all that had been exercised in training.
Garioch kicked off and were soon into their running and the Garioch forwards continually broke the gain line and interchanged well with the backs to take play deep into Wanderers territory. After some great work from Antony Miles, the rampaging Steven DEY sprinted down the left touch line to score in the left corner. The tricky conversion was missed. Garioch continued to dominate the game and the game-plan was working well but time after time the final pass wasn’t given, the wrong option was taken or the ball was knocked on and Wanderers were able to clear their lines. The penalty count was beginning to go against the Kellands Park team and scrum half Quinn MacDonald was particularly lucky not to be yellow carded after being penalised for two high tackles and a shoulder barge all in quick succession. Wanderers came more and more into the game and some controlled play led to their own unconverted try.
Just after half time, some excellent interplay between Sean Low and Shane CLARK saw the latter barge, sidestep and dummy his way over from half way for a quite superb individual effort. Vice-captain Clark was capped by Scotland Rugby League in the summer and these rugby league skills were evident for all to see during this try. Raeper converted the Clark try. 12-5 Garioch. Then the same problems evident in the first half came back to haunt Garioch and they began to lose their shape and discipline with Connor Summersgill and Callum Morrison being yellow carded along with their Wanderers counterparts. Wanderers made best use of the extra space and scored two unanswered tries, one of which was converted to put them into a 17-12 lead. Garioch captain Fraser Smith rallied his troops and after some strong driving play by Sean Clark the Garioch Stand-Off Stuart Raeper put Sean LOW through a hole in the Wanderers defence. Faced with the defending full back, Low returned the favour and delivered the 2 v 1 to RAEPER who scored under the posts. Low has worked hard in pre-season on the final pass and his assist to Clark for his try and then Raeper for his shows the hard work is paying off. Raeper converted his own try to set up an exciting finish. 19-17 Garioch. Discipline again became the home team’s Achilles heel and Shane Clark was yellow carded for being offside at the ruck.
Wanderers made full use of the extra man and some feeble attempts at tackling allowed the Aberdeen full back to score his second try of the game in the corner. The conversion failed and with no more scoring the game ended Garioch 19 Aberdeen Wanderers 22.
Best on the day for Garioch were the strong running forwards Steven Dey and Shane Clark and playing his first game in the back row, Antony Miles.
Next week Garioch travel to Inverness to play their first competitive game of the season against Craig Dunain in the Bowl.