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.
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