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.
More photos than you could ever want from the match can be found here, here & here.
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