Pickaquoy Infield - Saturday, February 14, 2015
Orkney RFC 32, Gordonians 10
A hard-fought victory for Orkney saw them come from behind to eventually win 32-10 over Gordonians at Pickaquoy this afternoon, securing the bonus point in the second half, but having to defend well against the young, fit and fast student outfit.
It might have been February 14, but this was no St Valentine's Day Massacre. However, the win sees Orkney climb back to the top of BT Caledonia League Division 1, with Glenrothes losing 25-20 away to Morgan Academy FP. Orkney and Glenrothes are both on 53 points but Orkney have two games in hand - including next weekend's home tie against the second-place side - and a far superior points difference.
It was still 5-3 to the visitors midway through the first half and they were still very much on the front foot. However, a brace of tries from Jon Tait, the second of which - a great break up the right wing - was converted by Linklater, meant that Orkney were leading 15-5 coming up to the half hour. Gordonians were down a man at this point, having lost one of their second row to a yellow card for an infringement at the first Orkney try.
Into the final five minutes and Orkney were awarded a penalty inside the Gordonians 22 wide on the right but opted to play on and moved the ball across to the left wing where the move broke down. Quick thinking by James Linklater saw him take the tap and find Marcus Guthrie to run in on the right, with Gordonians slow to react.
That was the scoring for the first half so Orkney turned round 20-5 ahead.
While Gordonians started well again in the second half, Orkney weathered the pressure and in the 55th minute a finely-placed penalty kick into the left corner by James Linklater gave Orkney lineout put-in five metres out. They won the ball and went for the line again, Aly Linklater eventually touching down just over. Taylor Pilkington Tait, whose sharing of the scrum half role with Mark Sinclair in the absence of injured William Thomson saw him named man of the match, slotted the conversion to give Orkney maximum points from their bonus try.
Although the visitors replied with a well-worked try from their nippy back line they were not to get back into the game in any meaningful way and when Scott Rendall scored an unconverted try as the game moved into the last 10 minutes Orkney looked home and hosed at 32-10.
And so it was, despite some late pressure from Gordonians, who never gave an inch during the entire 80 minutes, that the Orkney team and the home support of over 200 could celebrate a solid win.
This was Orkney's penultimate home fixture of the league campaign. The final one comes next Saturday, February 21, when Glenrothes visit for what is a double header, serving as the final of the BT Caledonia Shield as well as the league fixture originally due to have been played on March 7. The kick-off for this clash is due to be 1pm.