AFTER the previous week’s fine win away at Stornoway, last Saturday saw the Garioch 1st XV start their home league campaign against local rivals Aberdeenshire 2nd XV.
In what is traditionally a robust fixture, the large crowd were not disappointed by the commitment shown by both sides in what turned out to be a close fought, but generally well tempered affair.
In the end Garioch emerged 19-11 winners, but the result left some supporters wondering how the final result was so close, especially after the fast start that the home team got away to.
With the first real piece of open play of the game and with only three minutes on the clock, Garioch scored the first of their three tries of the afternoon. Following some excellent interplay between the backs out on the right, Martin McRobbie dived over to score in the corner. Andy Gowrie kicked an excellent conversion from the touchline to make the score 7-0.
In the first scrum of the game the Garioch pack immediately showed their mettle and pushed the visitors back on their own feed. It was only a few minutes later that Garioch extended their lead with a second try, scored this time on the left wing by Sean Low. With the difficult conversion this time missed, the lead was now 12-0 and a rout looked on the cards.
However things soon changed and with the Shire forwards putting a stranglehold on the game and the home team falling foul to the interpretation of the laws and giving away far too many penalties, the visitors pulled the score at half time back to 12-8.
The second half continued as the first had finished, with Garioch finding it extremely difficult to win enough good quality ball to give their obviously superior backline a chance to score. Indeed after 11 minutes it was Shire who scored next with an easy penalty making it 12-11. With the game now on a knife edge it took a brave kick charge down by Colin Morrison followed by good chasing of the loose ball for Neil Moir to score Garioch’s third and decisive try.
The last eight minutes of the game seemed to last an age, but eventually, to the audible relief of the home supporters, the final whistle blew without further scoring.
The Garioch man of the match award went to Stuart Raeper.
Having played and won two games, whilst most of the rest of the league have only had one game so far, Garioch are top of the league on 9 points. Highland Reds and Aberdeen Wanderers are on 5 points with Lochaber and Aberdeen University a further point back.
Next weekend there are no fixtures for either the first or second fifteens, but on September 15 both squads are at home to RAF Lossie and Strathspey respectively. The first fifteen will be hoping to continue their fine start to the season and the second fifteen will be getting their first run out in the RBS Caledonia Regional League Division 3 North.
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