BT Caledonia League Division 1
Pickaquoy Infield - Saturday, November 6
ORKNEY RFC 33, HIGHLAND RFC 8
Orkney RFC ran out 33-8 winners over Highland RFC in what was a sometimes torrid encounter at Pickaquoy on Saturday afternoon.
With both sides suffering injuries that forced substitutions during the game it wasn't one for the faint-hearted, with three Orkney players needing a trip to Balfour Hospital for various injuries.
Before the kick-off both sides lined up and the crowd, which built to 250 during the match, fell quiet with a blow of the referee’s whistle as a minute’s silence was observed for two founder members of Orkney RFC who have passed away recently, Rob Logie and Willie McGregor. It seemed a fitting tribute to hold on the eve of Remembrance Sunday, and it is likely that the minds of the Highland RFC squad were on their former captain and coach Colin High, whose death led to the postponement of this fixture in September.
In near perfect conditions for rugby – clear skies, the lightest of breezes and a great pitch to play on - it was Highland who started the brighter and they were an unconverted try and a penalty to the good before the home side got out of the traps.
However, a powerful run from Denis Hayes saw him over for Orkney's first points, with Graham Poke's conversion taking them within a point of Highland with 10 minutes of the half remaining.
Shortly after this the first injury stop saw Chris Guthrie carried off with an apparent dislocated right knee.
Orkney extended their lead just on half time as Orkney’s man of the match William Thomson and Marcus Guthrie combined well after some great forward pressure, Marcus going over for an unconverted try to make it 12-8 at the turnaround.
Orkney lost Matthew Byers to another leg injury early in the second half but the rejigged team did well with Taylor Pilkington-Tait at scrum half among the changes.
He did well there and slotted the three conversions to Orkney's second-half tries.
They came through Denis Hayes - completing a brace - midway through the half, and late scores from William Thomson (to secure the bonus) and then a devestating scrum move that saw Thomson send Philip Ross over next to the posts at the death.
So in the end a solid win for Orkney, but cleaner ball and less panic - and fewer infringements by the visitors - would have given the home side a smoother route to the five points.
Marcus Guthrie became the third Orkney player to head to hospital, with a suspected broken hand. Thankfully no break was found. Hopefully all three players will make a speedy recovery.
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