Aberdeen Grammar 20 Glasgow Hawks 23
Aberdeen Grammar had to rely on a last-minute try to gain the consolation of a losing bonus point which, coupled with another for scoring four tries, all of which were unconverted, moved them out of the relegation zone at the expense of Stirling County.
Glasgow Hawks were, however, worthy winners leaving Grammar to play catch-up rugby for long spells.
But had the Aberdeen side’s kicking game been up to scratch, Grammar would have won.
However, Grammar coach Kevin Wyness was reasonably pleased with some aspects of his side’s play.
Wyness said: “The difference between the two sides was Glasgow’s Scott Wight, who kicked four of his five attempts at goal.
“He also dictated the play from stand off with some astute out-of-hand kicking. We failed in this crucial area, missing all six of our efforts including four conversion attempts. At this level in the game, it is vital to have a place-kicker who can do the job.”
Wyness praised the contribution of Grammar’s Peceli Nacamavuto, who was in an unfamiliar position on the wing.
He said: “Naka was asked to move from the centre and go hunting for the ball. He did this superbly, setting up the best try of the game for Harry Duthie in the first half.”
Ironically it was Wight, who last season was farmed out to Grammar on a number of occasions from Glasgow Warriors, who got the Hawks going in three minutes with the first of his two successful penalty kicks.
Grammar hit back in 10 minutes when prop Gordie Reid rumbled over to give his side the lead.
Grammar stand off Graeme Clow missed the first of his six kicks at goal and was then shown how it should be done by Glasgow centre Jack Steele who knocked over a monster penalty from the halfway line to reclaim the lead in 18 minutes.
Hawks pressed home their advantage three minutes later when Hooker Jack McFarlane breached the Grammar line. Wight added the conversion with consummate ease to make it 13-5.
Grammar’s Duthie had the last word of the half, crashing over after a scintillating break from Nacamavuto to make it 13-10, which brought the Rubislaw crowd to its feet.
Any hope Grammar had of building on the captain’s try disappeared when full back Angus Rennie failed to clear his lines, enabling Hawks winger Haddon McPherson to score a try. Wight rubbed salt in the gaping home wounds with a touchline conversion to make it 20-10.
Wight added his second penalty of the day four minutes later to give Grammar a mountain to climb at 23-10 down.
But Grammar rose to the challenge, resulting in their excellent number eight Tom Preece going over, followed by Erlend Oag’s late touchdown..
It was too little, too late on a day when Grammar ended the first half of the season still too close to the relegation zone.
© Jack Nixon
Aberdeen Grammar Rugby: Angus Rennie; Erland Oag, Will Wardlaw, Harry Duthie (captain), Peceli Nacamavuto; Graeme Clow, Morgan Ward; Gordon Reid, Sean O’Connor, Matt Schosser; Andy Cramond, Jamie Metcalfe; Fraser Brown, Tony McGinness, Tom Preece.
Replacements: Mike Cox, Sandy Warnock, Rob Cessford, Sam Knudson, Sam Ryan.
Glasgow Hawks: James Gormley; Ally Maclay, Robert Beattie, Jack Steele, Haddon McPherson; Scott Wight, Sean Yacoubian; Steven Findlay, Jack Macfarlane, Brendan Cullinane; Andrew Linton, Angus Hamilton; Andrew Kirkland, Stephen Leckey, Ross Miller (captain).
Replacements: Callum Kerr, Craig Bachurzewski, Mat Bartoszek, Dan Smart, Andy White.
Referee: Kevin White