Travel for the game was via Loganair flight to Glasgow on the Saturday morning something the whole squad are appreciating. Flying made possible by travel assistance from the Scottish rugby union and great flexibility shown by Loganair group bookings.
The game commenced with Orkney receiving the kick in wet conditions with little wind to speak of.
The opening exchanges were a scrappy affair neither side coping particularly well with the wet greasy ball. Unforced errors being the order of the day.
It was the home side who had the first opportunity to score with a penalty thirty metres out in front of the Orkney posts. However, the Greenock kicker pushed his kick just wide.
Orkney were soon up in the home half looking for a scoring opportunity aided by the home side conceding needless penalties. From a five-metre scrum Orkney looked to get on the scoreboard but poor control at the base of the ruck led to a turnover, allowing Greenock to release the pressure.
Despite plenty effort neither side was managing to seize control of the game. Orkney’s chance of doing so was dealt a blow fifteen minutes in when their Captain Linklater saw yellow for a high tackle and a ten-minute break. Luckily the attacker was falling when struck or the colour may well have been red. The resultant penalty was converted for Greenock to take the lead.
Orkney saw out the next ten minutes with both possession and territory although unable to breech the home defence. Just as captain Linklater was due to return the home fullback was yellow carded for a high tackle on Orkney winger Hutchison after he gathered a cross field kick.
Following a period of pressure by the Orkney forwards on the home try line the ball was played to Stand off Hancock who knowing there was no home fullback kicked the ball through the defence for centre Russell to dive on it for a try. Hancock slotting the conversion and putting Orkney in the lead.
The rest of the half was bedevilled with handling errors and penalties from both sides. The conditions getting no better and having the upper hand on both sides.
The half concluded with Orkney in the lead by seven points to three. Orkney having the better territory and possession but mistakes costing them dear at key moments.
Orkney kicked off the second half looking to try and limit the unforced errors that were a feature of the first period and take advantage of any field position they had. The home side conversely looking to back up the hard running of their big forwards to gain some ascendancy.
It was Greenock who scored the first points of the half from an offside penalty about twenty metres out taking them to within one point of the Orkney total.
Orkney reacted by once more going on the attack deep in the Greenock half. Pressure causing the home side in to conceding penalties.
From one such penalty given five metres from the try line the ball was passed to Hancock who drew a couple of defenders and popped the ball to flanker Tait on his shoulder. Tait arced his run in to space and dove over for the try once more converted by Hancock.
Unfortunately, things went from bad to worse for the home side when their replacement prop decided to talk himself into a ten-minute rest after sharing his thoughts about a previous call with the referee.
This led to Orkney having a penalty on the halfway line after the conversion and another chance to put themselves in an attacking position.
Fullback Ross was replaced by Tom McArthur after Ross aggravated a groin injury. Stevenson moving to fullback and McArthur filling the right-wing slot.
Orkney were unable to capitalise initially. The home side managing to move up field through forward drives.
They then looked to feed the ball wide on the left, but laboured handling allowed McArthur to intercept and run forty metres for the try. The conversion drifted wide.
Going in to the last fifteen minutes Orkney were looking to secure the try bonus point against a tiring defence. Their cause helped by the restart going straight in to touch from the home fly half.
From the scrum on the halfway line Orkney moved the ball right to McArthur who ran in to space before kicking ahead for Flanker Brough to chase. The home fullback and Brough arrived at the ball together and a fearsome collision the noise of which reverberated around the ground occurred.
The ball itself had gone into touch, but the fullback had come off worse against the rumbustious Brough and had to be carried from the field.
At the lineout Orkney opted to go for the catch and drive but lost the ball forward. Captain Linklater managing to get the call upgraded to a full penalty after querying the decision with the referee.
Orkney however managed to regain possession from the lineout and once more their forwards carried hard, prop Griffiths to the fore.
At the side of a ruck scrum half Sinclair spotted a rather inviting gap and took the invitation. He made good ground and drew the last defender before passing to Hancock in support allowing him to canter over for the try wide on the left. The conversion once more drifting wide.
Prior to the restart Orkney brought on Martin Harper at prop for his first Orkney cap. Brough leaving the fray after a typically robust performance in attack and defence that earned him the player of the match accolade.
Shortly after young Jacob Urgias earned his first Orkney cap, slotting on to the right wing after McArthur moved to scrum half to replace Sinclair who left the field.
It was the home team who then raised their game and worked their way up towards the Orkney try line. They battered against the Orkney defence until the dam eventually burst allowing the right winger to score an unconverted try in the corner.
With time running down Orkney were awarded an offside penalty on the home ten metre line. Hancock using the full minute to make no mistake and knock the ball over the bar. The whistle sounding thereafter for full time and a final score of 27 – 11 in favour of Orkney.
This was a tough encounter in poor conditions for the Orcadians, but they showed grit and determination to secure another away win.
This coming Saturday Allen Glen’s RFC travel to Pickaquoy for the next national three instalment. Orkney will have to be at their best against a well organised side who won well down in Glasgow.
Kick off is 2pm on Saturday.
Orkney team; Owen Griffiths, Scott Rendall, Alistair Linklater (c), Adam Watt, Craig Stout, Liam Moar, Jon Tait, Craig Brough, Mark Sinclair, Connor Hancock, Ewan Stevenson, Scott Russell, Craig Slater, Jamie Hutchison, Philip Ross, subs; Martin Harper, Derek Robb, Tom McArthur, Jacob Urgias
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