Aberdeen Grammar 18 GHA 23
Aberdeen Grammar made a brave but ultimately futile bid to overturn a 10-point deficit as they slumped to a second home defeat in as many weeks against a young GHA side inspired by a former Garioch player.
Peter Jericevich was a constant thorn in the flesh of Grammar, proving to be the difference between the sides, scoring 18 of his side’s 23 points in an all-action display, including a match-turning try on the stroke of half-time.
The busy scrum half was also in good form with his boot, kicking two conversions and three penalties, keeping Grammar winless.
Coach Stuart Corsar said: “I did warn the player Jericevich would be dangerous, but in fairness our own number nine Morgan Ward had a good game. We are still in the building process, and although I was disappointed to have surrendered an early 10-point lead, I was pleased with our rally which gained us a losing bonus point right at the death.
“An injury to flanker Ali Mackie disrupted the pack, but we were a vast improvement on last week. We now need to start winning games.”
Grammar hit the ground running, racing into an early lead through a penalty from the composed Alex Hagart who then converted his half back partner Ward’s try in 12 minutes before Jericevich opened the Glasgow side’s account in 17 minutes with his first of three penalties.
Hagart then kicked a second penalty in 23 minutes, and Grammar might well have kicked on, only to be hit by a sucker blow when, after a series of missed tackles, Jericevich latched on to a kick ahead to score an opportunistic try right on the stroke of half-time.
His successful conversion reduced the home lead to 13-10 at the interval.
Grammar might have been expected to take control after the interval, but instead it was the Braidholm Park side which took over, clearly lifted by the late first half score.
First Jericevich tied up the scores with a penalty in the 50th minute before his side’s efforts led to winger Euan Greer nipping over just on the hour for a converted try.
A yellow card for replacement front rower Colin Neilson led to GHA extending the lead to 23-13 with a penalty in 65 minutes.
Grammar finally came into the game with some sustained pressure, leading to a last-gasp unconverted try for hooker Billy Bisset, but it was too little too late for a home side who failed to control the lineout, missed vital tackles, and lacked composure at key moments.
Captain Greig Ryan returned to the back row for the game and said: “We are a young side who are learning all the time. We have yet to play for a full 80 minutes, but we are getting there.”
© Jack Nixon
Aberdeen Grammar: Seam Murray; Alex Ratcliffe, Sam Knudson, Connor Lavery, Grant Walker; Alex Hagart, Morgan Ward; Matthias Schosser, Billy Bisset, Murray McCallum; Stuart Smith, Aaron Robertson; Ali Mackie, Greig Ryan (c), Louis Kinsey.
Replacements: Peter Gillies, Colin Neilson, Ed Nimmons, Andrew Ovenstone, Peceli Nacamavuto.
GHA: Andrew Gillman; Rangi Jericevich, Niall Cassie, Andrew Henderson (c), Euan Greer; Andrew Goudie, Peter Jericevich; Scott Carson, Donald Malcolm, Mike Robertson; Adam Barnett, Chris McGeough; Paul Harkins, Ross Angus, Grant MacDonald.
Replacements: Eric Cavens, Jamie Leslie, Ryan Jenkins, Alan Auld, Gordon Adams.