Match Report: Stewart’s Melville RFC 18 – 26 Aberdeen Grammar
The Olympic Games have provided much entertainment and enjoyment for the nation during the last few weeks. We have heard inspiring ‘back stories’ about the sacrifice and determination our athletes have undergone for the chance of competing and winning a medal for their country. It shows what can be achieved if athletes unite under a common goal, we see how often in sport fine margins affect outcomes and ‘marginal gains’ has become a ‘mantra’ for coaching improvement of individuals in sport.
So what can we take from the Olympics and apply to our own sport? We saw on Saturday the bones of a new team with potential. For that potential to be realised we all need to work hard with common goal. We know we have lost players, for whatever reason, and it is easy for others to slip into the background but everyone who is playing for us now wants to be here – that is a powerful fact. With hard work we can all have a good, rewarding season.
With the tail end of the Festival bonhomie, Inverleith looked a picture in the summer sun. On Saturday, the action (and tension) was shared with the cricket team playing their league decider. The rugby pitch looked inviting and a surprisingly large crowd shuffled round the corner to watch our opening match. The atmosphere was light hearted as friendships were renewed after the summer break but there was a feeling of apprehension as everyone realised the importance of the match in setting a tone for the season.
Aberdeen, who actually lost a few players themselves in the close season, took an early lead with a breakaway try from Ruxton converted by Addy. Stewart’s Melville fought back well with a try from Samuel Ross converted by Mike Hanning. Two penalties from Mike gave us a 13-7 interval lead, which was no more than we deserved. Our pack had the bulk of possession but Aberdeen defended well.
Aberdeen scored twice after the break and converted once to take the lead but Stewarts Melville replied through Rappestad. The second half was interrupted by an injury to Mike Hanning with the medical team advising that an ambulance should be summoned. The injury turned out to be concussion and hopefully it will not be long before Mike is back in action. Jack Calder replaced Mike and ran the show well after his introduction to the proceedings. Euan Morrison, then, narrowly failed with a penalty that would have given us the lead with a few minutes to go but in the last action Aberdeen broke out and scored to seal the deal.
So, what of our team? How did they play? Will we be competitive in our league? Who is worth watching?
The backs will need a little time to gel but as far as the new guys go, Samuel Ross looks tidy and elusive at full-back, Euan Morrison had a big shift in marking Nacamavuto but looks the part and Mark Sinclair is a tidy enough scrummie, and, when you add to them to Sean Murchie Neil Bowie Ali Greig and Mike Hanning there is a bit of ability there. Hopefully they will be joined by Sir Nicholas sometime in the season.
In the forwards Duncan Wood is a good player and would have played in any of our successful sides in recent seasons. The front row started well but tired – they have a big season in front of them and will only improve as they get battle hardened. Dixon played well at tight head. Alex Rappestad is our go to man in the loose and did not disappoint, hopefully, it will not be too long before Adam Howie returns. By and large our pack held the upper hand so really it is more of the same for next week.
Sir Nick is also to be congratulated on his work on the commercial side, raising money for our Club – amongst his many initiatives we have re-introduced the half time draw for a bottle of whisky. The result of the draw, on Saturday revealed no overall winner and so the bottle ‘rolls over’ to make next Saturday’s half-time draw a Super Saturday Rollover – can’t wait!
Full Time Stewart’s Melville RFC 18 Aberdeen 26
Picture credit Colin Dixon