Aberdeenshire 45; West of Scotland 35
This was the first ever league fixture between Aberdeenshire and West of Scotland but West knew that, in rugby circles, any trip to the “Granite City” is never undertaken lightly and, with relative league positions factored in, a hard contest was anticipated on this occasion. West also had the added concern of a long injury list which had reduced the playing pool so much that the 2nd XV fixture between the two clubs was postponed.
West’s initial apprehensions were proved well founded as the home team raced into a two try lead within the first fifteen minutes. Rather than wilting under the sustained pressure West reduced the deficit with two penalties from Blair Smith and a try from scrum-half Alex Fisken after a good forward drive. Two further tries by Aberdeenshire swung the game their way again but on the stroke of half-time disorganisation in their defence was capitalised on by West captain Mark Jenkinson who pounced on a loose ball and barged through from five metres to score. Despite West’s renewed vigour the half-time score was still 26-18 in Aberdeenshire’s favour.
West continued to flourish at the start of the second half and two unanswered tries by Ross Carnegie and Pete Burns brought a try bonus point and saw West take the lead 30-26. Despite trying hard, West were unable to sustain their pressure as they were reduced to 14 men when James Harley was sin binned. Aberdeenshire made the most of their opportunity and reasserted their dominance with three quick tries which retook the lead and ultimately settled the outcome of the match. Yet again West proved their resilience and Fraser Smeaton scored a fifth try from a line out take and drive. Arguably they finished the game the stronger team but time ran out before they could get a further score to put them within the range of a losing bonus point.
Despite the loss West can take great credit from their performance. They played as a team, supported each other and played good attacking rugby with ball in hand. The spirit in which the match was played was very much appreciated by some of the Aberdeenshire supporters who enjoyed the spectacle and the value for money of a good contest offered at the rate of a point a minute.
Next week’s game is away to Ardrossan and is scheduled to kick off at 3.00pm. (Please note this is for the last time this year. Thereafter kick-offs are at 2.00pm except for cup games which are 1.30pm).