Although this page is dedicated to the 1st XV, we genuinely don't have just a 1st XV as such. We like to think of the club as just that - a club. In the 1st team we regularly play a squad of over 45 players in the course of a season and are very luck to have such a depth of players to choose from. This is entirely due to the hard work and commitment of all of those who organise the 2nd XV, Internal League and Midi and Mini sides. Click on the links for more details on the different branches of the club.
The 1st team presently play in RBS Caledonia Regional League Division 1...
Orkney RFC 1st XV celebrate their 2009/10 Caledonia League 1 victory
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Picky - Saturday 16th March, 2013
Orkney 28, Gordonians 13
RBS Caledonia League Division 1
Picky - Saturday 16th February, 2013
Orkney RFC 29, St Andrews University RFC 0
ORKNEY RFC fought hard for a bonus point win over the visiting students from St Andrews University on a Saturday afternoon of near perfect weather for rugby at Pickaquoy.
The bonus win puts Orkney fifth in the league but needing to keep piling on the points in order to keep out of the relegation zone, with all the sides below them still within touching distance due to games in hand.
It was calm and fairly mild as a decent crowd gathered for Orkney’s first home match of 2013, and they saw the sides trade penalty misses in the early minutes as first St Andrews and then Orkney were just wide of the posts.
As the teams measured each other up the first quarter of an hour passed scoreless but then in the 17th minute Adam Baird made a charge that set up an attack on the students’ line. The chance came and went this time and St Andrews looked threatening in possession with some good handling as they came forward. Darren McLean, only recently passed for senior rugby, snuffed out that attack though and as Orkney attacked again James Linklater was just wide with a drop goal attempt.
Things were still all even midway through the half and then Orkney went down to 14 men as Scott Rendall was yellow carded for stamping. Orkney didn’t appear fazed by this though and they capitalised on a lineout error from the students and the Orkney forwards started their slow and steady progress up field and into the students’ 22.
Penalty after penalty went the home side’s way and St Andrews were defending desperately. But they could only hold out so long against a barrage of attacks with the concerted effort in the rucks finally seeing Bruce Ruthven touch down. James Linklater’s conversion made it 7-0 with just over half an hour gone.
Orkney doubled their lead not long after with a well-placed chip kick from James Linklater bouncing perfectly for lofty winger Denis Hayes, winning his second cap for Orkney, to run in for his first try for the side. The conversion from Linklater made it 14-0 with around five minutes of the half left.
St Andrews ended the first 40 minutes on the attack, but Orkney defended well and the sides turned round with no further scoring.
As Orkney first soaked up some pressure at the start of the second half, and then came at the students again, it was the turn of St Andrews to lose a man for 10 minutes as one of their second row was sin-binned.
St Andrews were on the back foot for a while, with Orkney again threatening the line without breaching it. Even when the students did get on the attack, with a break up their left wing, the ball went to ground and Orkney could gather again.
Orkney continued to have the upper hand and a good break from Bruce Ruthven up the left saw him offload to Adam Baird, but the move broke down. A third yellow card – this time for Orkney’s Bryan Linklater – came in the 53rd minute.
The home side again didn’t suffer too much and continued to build attacks well through the forwards. With just over a quarter of the game to go, play came to a halt when Orkney players PJ McGrath and Bruce Ruthven were both down with leg knocks.
A bit of water and both were under way again and a penalty attempt from James Linklater soon after dropped just short.
No mistake a few minutes later though as a kick from closer to the posts sailed through the uprights to extend the lead to 17-0.
As Bryan Linklater rejoined the fray Orkney continued their slow and steady progress through the forwards. A free kick saw Bruce Ruthven and James Linklater combine to great effect with Ruthven sending Linklater through to score under the posts to give himself an easy conversion. Orkney 24, St Andrews University 0.
A bonus win was now a distinct possibility and Orkney duly produced the goods through the forwards once more, with Adam Baird putting everything he had into breaking through to the line after he and his team mates had again ground themselves into the St Andrews 22. The conversion from out on the left was just wide, leaving the score at 29-0.
Orkney played out the final few minutes to secure a good win to take into the final three league encounters – away to Caithness on March 2, and home to Gordonians and Hillfoots on March 16 and 23 respectively.
Before that, players, supporters and guests are free to enjoy the Orkney RFC Real Ale Weekend, which runs at the Pickaquoy Clubhouse from Friday to Sunday, with a quiz, live music and plenty of live and televised rugby to keep everyone entertained. See here for full details.
RBS Caledonia League Division 1
Stonehaven - Saturday 2nd February, 2013
Orkney travelled to Stonehaven on Saturday for their Caledonia League clash with Mackie FP which was going to be a highly contested match with both teams desperate for points to see them move away from the bottom of the table. On arriving at the ground players were met with a snow covered pitch with a layer of frost which made conditions difficult for both teams throughout the match with the ground turning very wet towards the end of the game.
Orkney started well dominating the first twenty minutes of the game having the greater amount of pressure and playing the ball deep into the Mackie half utilising the wind and hill slope. Centres Poke and McLean were causing problems for the home defence and with the Orkney scrum looking really strong it was an encouraging period of play for the Orkney boys. With ten minutes gone Orkney were rewarded penalty and James Linklater stepped up to Knock over the penalty (0 - 3).
The first score was a result of a long kick downfield from Bruce Ruthven and with Mackie not clearing their lines effectively Scott Rendall took the ball and charged back at the defence to release Adam Baird into an ocean of space to go in untouched under the posts, James Linklater converting. (0 – 10).
A scrappy period of play ensued with both teams struggling in the cold conditions and neither team putting any great play together. Both teams lost players to the sin-bin with Orkneys Magnus Flett for side entry into the ruck and debutant Darren McLean for a dangerous tackle. This opened the game up and Mackie took advantage of some poor tackling and extra player to go under the posts for a converted try.
Half time (7-10).
Unfortunately for Orkney the second half proved to be a difficult half playing up the hill and against a fired up Mackie team who stepped up several gears and made things difficult for the Orkney Scrum, lineout and general continuity. Orkney`s scrum was put under pressure deep in their 22 and James Linklater was charged down which gave Mackie an easy score, unconverted. (12-10).
Mackie once again used the strength in the driving scrum for their Kiwi No 8 to score two tries from close range although Pip Ross certainly held the first try up over the line and making both conversions. (24 – 10). Orkney pulled another try back when Pip Ross chipped through the defence to outsprint the Mackie defence for a fine solo try, unconverted. (24-15).
Orkney will look back at this fixture as lost points with the league now looking very tight between middle and the bottom of the table. The players were very disappointed and sorry they could not put on a better performance in the second half for their travelling Presidents trip support. All players require the match practice in the Internal league with the next League match scheduled for the 16th February. Well done to Dennis Hayes and Darren McLean of their debuts. Man of the match was Adam Baird.
RBS Caledonia League Division 1
Picky - Saturday 8th December, 2012
Orkney RFC 13, Highland RFC 0
It’s matches like this one that make a difference at the end of the season, and this particular victory - by 13-0 over Highland - lifted Orkney to fifth in the league and gave them their fourth win in a row going into the festive break.
Photos: Rae Slater
The boot of Danny Bain gave Orkney an early lead through a penalty, but although they had lots of the play and some pressure on the Highland line it was half an hour in before they got more points on the board, with Garry Coltherd emerging from the bottom of a heap of Orkney players as the scorer of what is his third try in four matches. The old warhorse thunders on. The try went unconverted for an 8-0 lead.
Although Orkney continued to have most of the possession, the score remained the same up to the turnaround, with the only talking point being a bit of a touchline fracas that led to the double sin-binning of Steven Groat and one of his Highland opponents. Their 10-minutes off the pitch straddled the half-time break.
Orkney were back on the front foot early in the second half but Chris Guthrie was stopped as he attempted to go for the line from the back of a scrum five metres out, and then Orkney went a man down as Neil McCartney saw yellow for an uncharacteristic piece of indiscipline.
Highland took the numbers advantage and went on the attack for a spell and the game was a bit of a midfield stalemate for a bit before Orkney were awarded a scrum that turned to a free kick on half way. Willie Thomson launched a huge Howitzer in the Highland 22 to set up another Orkney attack on the left.
The match continued to swing back and fore in midfield, with the odd chance for Orkney being snuffed out by determined defence from Highland and the crowd on the touchline were beginning to talk about a late comeback from the visitors.
That was killed off with around 10 minutes to go however, with a break up the left by Scott Rendall eventually seeing Philip Ross cross the line for another unconverted try to make it 13-0 to Orkney.
No bonus-point win this weekend then, but a welcome victory after a hard-fought home match and a good enough way to round off 2012.
Orkney can now rest and recover and - mindful of the fact that they’ve played a couple more matches than the four teams within sniping distance of them - prepare to continue their winning ways at the start of 2013, when the first visitors are due to be Hillfoots on Saturday, January 19.
RBS Caledonia League Division 1
Picky - Saturday 1st December, 2012
Orkney RFC 33, Ellon RFC 19
Orkney RFC continued their run of bonus-point wins with what was in the end a convincing victory over Ellon at a bitterly cold Pickaquoy infield pitch on Saturday afternoon.
Following on from successive wins on the road over St Andrews University and Hillfoots, Orkney’s 33-19 triumph keeps them on track to climb out of the relegation zone in RBS Caledonia League Division 1.
After a minute’s silence for great club supporter Willie Eunson, Orkney got stuck in right from the start and things looked positive as the crowd began to gather in more numbers – and under bright skies - round the frost-edged running track.
However, Ellon were standing up well to the attacks and Orkney found it difficult to cut through the yellow ribbon of their defence. Jon Tait attempted to go through the middle and then Philip Ross came wide right as Orkney played towards the Peedie Sea end in the first half.
The pressure from the home side increased midway through the half and a couple of scrums inside Ellon’s 22 eventually saw Orkney take possession and winning a penalty wide on the left. They kicked into the corner and used the lineout to drive for the line, with Danny Bain the player touching down for the first try. He was just wide with his conversion attempt.
There was some stoppage for a leg injury to an Ellon player, forcing them into a change, shortly after Orkney’s Billy Elliot had also been replaced after a knock.
Soon after the restart Ellon looked the sharper as they took full advantage of a gap in the Orkney line for Ryan Bowran to go over for an unconverted try to make it 5-5 after 30 minutes.
Orkney were right back at Ellon from the restart and a great break saw William Thomson feeding Jon Tait a well-timed pass to let him burst through the Ellon line, shrugging off a couple of half tackles on the way to a fine individual try. Danny Bain was again just wide with his conversion as snow began to drive across the darkening Picky pitch.
Into injury time and Adam Baird had a great break through the middle, making good ground before Ellon gave away a penalty. Danny Bain went for the posts this time and his kick was right on target to make it 13-5 with the last kick of the first half.
Orkney started brightly in the second half and Garry Coltherd was close to getting his third try in as many matches as the home side pressed the Ellon line early on. Bruce Ruthven then blocked a clearing kick to keep the momentum with Orkney and a scrum five metres out looked promising. Orkney couldn’t get clean ball away though and had to be content with a lineout 15 metres out. They drove on again and continued to press until it was another penalty opportunity that saw Danny Bain add to his tally and extend Orkney’s lead to 16-5.
Ellon were not done though, and minutes later they were over the Orkney line having turned defence into attack to see Kieron Dalgarno go over. He converted his own try to close the gap to 16-12 with 50 minutes gone.
Orkney could have taken better advantage of a slip at an Ellon lineout, when their thrower dropped the ball and allowed Steven Groat to rush up the line with support quickly following, but that move broke down. Another Ellon break was quashed before Orkney attacked again and it was Jon Tait going over on the right for his second of the afternoon. Danny Bain’s composure was exemplary as he slotted the conversion with a sudden haily shower driving across the pitch – Orkney 23, Ellon 16.
As Orkney sought the bonus try in the final quarter of the match they were held up on the line after a lineout on the left saw them drive at Ellon again, but then a scrum gave them another chance and this time it was Bryan Linklater who grounded the ball for the bonus point, Danny Bain again true with the boot for a 30-16 lead.
With 15 minutes to go Orkney looked more confident and were probing with kicks and breaks as Ellon struggled to find a way back in. They gave away another penalty in a kickable position and, with the wind having died away again, it was a relatively easy one for Danny Bain to send over for Orkney’s final points of the match.
Ellon did get a consolation try at the end though, with an interception allowing David Ilyne to score under the posts and Kieron Dalgarno to convert easily. However, at 33-19 it was too little too late and Orkney had the third bonus win under their belts.
Man of the match was Jon Tait, with Steven Groat and Philip Ross also presented with commemorative shirts to mark their 100th league appearances for Orkney.
This Saturday Orkney are due to host Highland, who sit seventh, a place above them in the table. Both sides have 22 points but Highland have played only 10 matches to Orkney’s 12. The match is due to kick off at 1pm at Pickaquoy.
RBS Caledonia League Division 1
Oakmill - Saturday 24th November, 2012
Orkney RFC played their 11th game of the season and 5th away game on the trot, against Hillfoots RFC in Tillicoultry on Saturday. Hillfoots, who are unbeaten at home for the past 2 seasons, would have been confident that it would be another home win for them but Orkney proved to be too much for the Clackmannanshire outfit, winning their 2nd away match on the trot, 29-22.
After last weeks much needed victory against St Andrews, Orkney felt this was another must win game but, for various reasons, struggled to get together a full squad despite the efforts of both Manager and Captain. Thankfully, a few exiles met the travelling squad of 14 in Tillicoultry, bringing the player total to 17. Despite having the lack of numbers, Orkney felt confident and there was a good feeling in the team during the warm up.
Orkney kicked off and immediately put Hillfoots under a lot of pressure, keeping the home side stuck in their own 22, eventually winning the ball in a dangerous position. Orkney wasted no time, attacked hard and within 5 minutes took the lead. The father-son combination of Ewan and Garry Coltherd found themselves on the wing, Ewan taking a tackle and giving a textbook offload to allow Garry to score in the corner, his 2nd Try in as many weeks, not a bad stat for a veteran prop who suffers from gout! Danny Bain converted well from out wide to make the score 7-0.
Orkney began to take their foot of the gas slightly after the score and allowed hillfoots to run at them and soon found themselves stuck in their own 22. Attempts to tackle around the upper body failed miserably and before long the Hillfoots number 3 found himself in a bit of space, opting for a risky chip and chase over the Orkney defence. The risk paid off, however, and the tight-head prop showed a bit of pace to dive and score Hillfoots first points of the match, the conversion was missed making the scores 7-5.
Orkney didn’t let the try dent their confidence though, and attacked hard yet again. The muddy pitch made long passes difficult, but the Orkney ‘tight ight’ worked hard and retained the ball well. Strong runs from Orkney number 8 Steven Paterson and Scott Rendall, who was playing out of position at scrum half, gave the Orkney backs a solid platform to play off. This soon paid off again, as Stand Off Chris Guthrie showed his speed and strength to break a couple of tackles and find his way through the Hillfoots defence, and offload to centre Jon Tait who scored under the posts, much to the delight of his team mates. Danny Bain as he had the easy job of converting to make the score 14-5.
Hillfoots responded well to the Try and didn’t let their heads go down and again they tested the Orkney defence, with some good runs from their pacey backs. Again, Orkneys tackles weren’t low enough and Hillfoots were making good yards through their hefty front row, and quickly answered Orkneys 2nd try with a try of their own. This time it was the Hillfoots loosehead prop who crashed over the line, but again, the conversion was missed from an easy position, giving Orkney a 4 point lead, 14-10.
Orkney had a quick team talk and knew they had to cut down their penalty count and tackle lower, and did this very well. With 10 minutes left in the half Orkney fought hard to get some more points on the board, and came close, as a well executed backs move created a gap for fullback Craig Slater to go crashing though, he offloaded to Chris Guthrie but it was knocked on just meters from the line as he tried to pass the ball out wide. Orkney were unlucky not to score but they eventually reaped the rewards for their persistent pressure, Philip Ross showed excellent feetwork and pace to beat his opposite man and find Craig Slater in support, who scored in the corner. Danny’s kick was a good effort but didn’t quite have the legs, making the score 19-10.
This was to be the last score of the first half, but the Orkney squad knew that the second half was going to be a much tougher affair, with legs starting to tire on the heavy playing surface, and Orkney playing up the hill for the next 40 mins.
Hillfoots tactics for the second half seemed to be to kick Orkney under pressure, and keep them pinned down in their own 22. They executed their game plan well but despite probing at the Orkney tryline a number of times they were unable to capitalize. Hillfoots came close to scoring when their forward pack drove over the line, but Orkneys tight head prop, Adam Baird, conveniently found himself lying underneath the ball, and the ball was unable to be touched down.
Hillfoots continued to apply pressure, and Orkney couldn’t seem to get out of their own half. Finally, after around 20 minutes, the ball came loose at the back of a ruck, still in the Orkney 22. Chris Guthrie was quick to react and punted the ball to Orkney 10m line where Philip Ross managed to kick the ball to the Hillfoots 22m line, and showing great speed and stamina, beat the fullback to ball. Again, Ross chose to kick it, this time over the try line, and again he beat the last Hillfoots defender to score a thrilling bonus point Try. Danny was unlucky not to convert, making the score 24-10.
This was an important score for Orkney, and, with their spirits lifted it was their turn to apply pressure of their own. Orkney looked confident with the ball in hand and all of the team seemed eager to carry the ball. This proved to be a bit of a handful for Hillfoots, and Orkney made valuable yards up the hill and into scoring distance. After a great display of slick hands and good support from the whole squad, Orkneys hooker Steven Groat dived over the line to stretch Orkneys lead to 29-10. Danny failed to convert.
Hillfoots did not give up, however, and yet again put Orkney under relentless pressure, desperate to close the gap. Orkneys scrum had been solid all day, but when Hillfoots were awarded a scrum 5m out, they were able to drive the away side back, and their number 8 touched it down. This time it was converted, making the score 29-17.
Orkney were beginning to tire, and it showed, as they gave away a lot of penalties, and allowed the Hillfoots to run at them again. Again this paid off for the home side, as their number 8 was allowed to score a soft try in the corner. The try wasn’t converted, but it was enough to bring Hillfoots within 7 points of Orkney, which gave them a losing bonus point, but it also meant they could draw with Orkney if they scored in the dying minutes.
The final whistle couldn’t come sooner for Orkney and Scott Rendall took great pleasure in kicking the ball into touch as the referee blew for the last time. This was a great result for the visitors, a second away win with a bonus point at the end of a very tough 5 away games on the bounce.
Orkneys man of the match was Fullback Craig Slater, who tackled like hard and low all game, he also fielded well and looked confident in a position that was new to him. All of the Orkney team had performances that were worthy of a mention, and will be feeling confident going into next weeks home game against Highland. Orkney Captain, Alan Brown, wanted to thank all the players that travelled, especially those who were able to attend all 5 away games.
Orkney Squad: Garry Coltherd, Steven Groat, Adam Baird, Stephen Kemp, Derek Robb, Billy Elliot, Danny Bain, Steven Paterson, Scott Rendall, Chris Guthrie, Ewan Coltherd, Jon Tait, Philip Ross, David Grant, Craig Slater, Tom Huggard, Ewan Manson.
More photos from the match can be found here.
RBS Caledonia League Division 1
Picky - Saturday 6th October, 2012
Orkney RFC 26, Mackie Academy FP 12
The First XV got a league win under their belts with a good second-half display against Mackie Academy FP on a bright but windy Saturday afternoon at Pickaquoy.
Despite having a fair bit of possession in the first half, and rarely being under pressure, the home side failed to get any points on the board as they played towards the Muddisdale end, with Adam Baird’s crash over the line midway through the half judged to have come from a forward pass.
For the most of this opening period it was a bit of a dour midfield battle, with both sides possibly struggling to cope with the strong crossfield wind. It meant the board was still blank when they broke for their half-time team talks.
The breakthrough for Orkney came early in the second half, with vice captain Marcus Guthrie going over behind the posts and James Linklater slotting the kick for a 7-0 lead.
There was some great handling in the build-up to Orkney’s second try soon after, and it was the other Guthrie twin this time – Chris – going over. Protests from Mackie that the ball had gone forward were waved aside by the referee, who signalled it had come off a knee before going to hand.
Orkney were visibly more confident now and in the 55th minute William Thomson was over for a third try. The conversion drifted just wide of the uprights this time, leaving the score at 19-0.
On the hour mark and an Orkney lineout saw eventual man of the match Danny Bain making good ground into the Mackie 22, with Orkney pressing the line again and the visitors having to work hard to clear.
Scott Rendall showed that props can do some effective kicking too, as he sent a nicely placed kick out of the Orkney half for a lineout right on the Mackie 22.
It was not long before Orkney had their bonus try, with Philip Ross popping the ball up for Willie Thomson to run in on the left. James Linklater converted to make it 26-0 with little over 10 minutes to go.
There was talk on the touchline of Orkney keeping a blank sheet, but this didn’t filter onto the pitch, as the home side maybe switched off slightly and allowed Mackie in for two late tries – one of them converted – to make the final score 26-12.
A welcome home win for Orkney then, and something to hopefully build on as the side heads south to meet St Andrews University this weekend, followed by a home match against Caithness on October 20.
RBS Caledonia League Division 1
Picky - Saturday 1st September, 2012
Orkney RFC 5, Strathmore 11
Two first half penalties and an unconverted try early in the second half handed Strathmore an away win against an Orkney side that failed to capitalise on lots of first-half possession and in the end could only reply with an unconverted try of their own in the second half.
Neither side could claim to have their strongest 15 starting the match for them, but Orkney’s biggest weakness was perhaps the absence of a recognised goal kicker, meaning that a few kickable penalties were put to touch for lineouts.
This was an 80 minutes largely played out on the Pickaquoy outfield pitch in fairly heavy rain, and the conditions certainly didn’t help the players in their endeavours.
It was just over 10 minutes into the match when Strathmore – who were on a chartered flying visit – slotted their first penalty, having had an earlier miss.
Orkney had a fair bit of pressure in the period that followed, with some good handling, but the odd slip, combined with some solid defending from the visitors let Strathmore off the hook.
However, Orkney failed to convert territorial advantage into points and paid for it when Strathmore slotted a second penalty on the half hour to make it 6-0.
An Orkney lineout on the left saw Willie Thomson attempt to ferret his way past the Strathmore line himself and then a penalty to Orkney had Scott Rendall trying to batter through to the goal line. A second penalty Orkney’s way didn’t get them any nearer and the referee penalised the home side this time.
With half time reached without any further scoring, Orkney came out in the second half with the wind behind them and looked brighter, with Scott Rendall and Tom Croy having early breaks.
However, it was Strathmore who extended their lead after 45 minutes with a try which went unconverted to make it 11-0 and leave Orkney having to find two scores to get back into the match.
To compound matters Derek Robb was sin-binned soon after, leaving Orkney to fight back a man down.
It was the returning Robb who scored their only points though, a hard-fought first try of the season touched down at full stretch for the forward to redeem himself and make it 11-5
Orkney had 20 minutes in which to find the points to bridge the gap, but though they pushed and prodded and had a few breaks with the ball, in the end Strathmore kept them on the back foot for long enough to mean that the clock became the enemy.
Although the home side battle hard towards the end and a couple of times were not far from the Strathmore line they couldn’t find the final decisive move, and had to settle for a losing bonus point.