BT Caledonia League Division 1
Pickaquoy Infied - Saturday, October 11
ORKNEY RFC 21, CAITHNESS RFC 3
Orkney RFC broke their bogey by beating Caithness 21-3 on a fine Saturday afternoon at Pickaquoy, ending a run of six defeats in league fixtures at the hands of their near neighbours.
Two tries from Marcus Guthrie and one from Philip Ross - all converted by Graham Poke - overhauled an early penalty from the visitors, who at times put Orkney’s defensive line under serious pressure.
Indeed, it was the highly organised defending that was among the most memorable of this Caledonia League Division 1 fixture, and fitting that one of the young front row, Matthew Byers, who was named man of the match, just ahead of double try scorer Guthrie.
Perhaps the biggest home crowd of the season so far gathered at the infield pitch to give their backing in a match in which there were high expectations of a tight contest.
The opening 10 minutes were testing for Orkney and they were defending well against a determined looking Caithness side, who had beaten Mackie FP 62-7 the previous weekend.
In the end it was a penalty that broke the deadlock and 11 minutes in the visitors led 3-0 through the boot of full back Marc Anderson.
Orkney persevered and up the other end they eventually found a gap in the Caithness defence with Denis Hayes going through powerfully before feeding to Marcus Guthrie to go over on the left. Graham Poke added the conversion to put Orkney 7-3 ahead after 17 minutes.
It wasn’t long before Orkney extended their lead and it was Willie Thomson who set Philip Ross free on the left wing to go over in the corner. Graham Poke’s low flyer conversion kick made sure of maximum points from the score.
Although Orkney were very much on the front foot now there was no further scoring before half time, and any inroads that Caithness tried to create was being thwarted the home defence and there was a sense that the visitors’ heads were already down before the sides turned round.
Orkney were having to defend deep in their 22 in the early stages of the second half and they held well against potential try-scoring moves, repelling everything that Caithness threw at them in set pieces and, crucially, on their try line. Alan Brown seemed to be back to full fitness after his spell out and he carried well from the back of a scrum in the Orkney 22 to help his side work steadily up the field.
Having survived this early onslaught – and the absence for 10 minutes of Willie Thomson after a yellow card - Orkney broke upfield and it was Marcus Guthrie who went over for his second try, again converted by Graham Poke, and Orkney led 21-3 with still just under half an hour of the match left.
Despite this, and some decent running from the backs when they got the ball, the bonus point try remained elusive. Denis Hayes had perhaps the best opportunity when he received from Marcus Guthrie and was heading for the Caithness line only to be caught and stopped short by a Caithness back.
With the Strathmore match due to have been played on Saturday, October 25 now rescheduled for November 22, Orkney's next league match is away to Gordonians on Saturday, November 1.
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