Aberdeen Grammar 21 Peebles 31
Aberdeen Grammar’s prospects of a quick return to the Premiership look decidedly slim after they surrendered a 21-8 lead to a no more than workmanlike Peebles, who are not likely to feature in the promotion race.
Grammar coach Stuart Corsar was frustrated by the defeat as the home side failed to score a point in a second half run by the persistent visitors, who went on to win the game in the last ten minutes, kicking a late penalty to deny the Rubislaw men even a losing bonus point.
“We need to learn to close out a game,” said Corsar. “We all but capitulated in the second half, displaying too much anxiety when we got ourselves into scoring positions.
“There were positives, including a great performance from captain and scrum half Morgan Ward. Without his solid defending the defeat would have been even greater. Ali Mackie made a difference when he came on for his first game of the season, while wingers Grant Walker and Peceli Nacamavuto foraged away.”
Two well-struck penalties from Grammar stand off Alex Hagart in the first 10 minutes got the home side off to a good start and, with Ward working well, the Rubislaw side looked set to dominate, only to gift a try to the visitors in 17 minutes, enabling flanker Richard Harrison to stroll over.
Peebles stand off Greg Raeburn missed the easy conversion.
Hagart hit back two minutes later with a penalty to make it 9-5. Grammar went on to enjoy their best spell of the match, scoring two tries as Peebles flanker Lynton Brinck was sent to the sin-bin for foul play.
Grammar number eight Louis Kinsey scored their first try and centre Sam Knudson the second after splendid work from fellow centre Doug Russell. With Hagart converting the second effort Grammar led 21-8 just after the half-hour mark. Raeburn had kicked a lone penalty between the two touchdowns to keep Peebles in the hunt.
Inexplicably Grammar fell off the pace, giving away a needless penalty kicked by Raeburn to hand the visitors a lifeline at 21-11 just before half-time.
The second half belonged to Peebles who scored all the points on offer through tries from centre Nathan Mather and a clincher from winger Harrison.
Raeburn completed a fine away day for the Gytes side, converting both tries and scoring a penalty before going on to add more misery in the home ranks when he kicked another penalty to make it 31-21.
Alex Ratcliffe; Peceli Nacamavuto, Sam Knudson, Doug Russell, Grant Walker; Alex Hagart, Morgan Ward; Peter Gillies, Matthias Schosser, Colin Neilson; Ed Nimmons, Aaron Robertson; Richard Simms, Rob Cessford, Louis Kinsey.
Fergus McKenzie, Murray McCallum, Ali Mackie, Graeme Clow, Calum Ruxton.
Donald Anderson; Jack Harrison, Callum Scott, Nathan Mather, Devyn Smith; Greg Raeburn, Scott McCormick; Andrew Brown, Matty Carryer, Jamie Menzies; Kenny Clyde, Ross Brown; Lynton Brinck, Richard Harrison, Jonathon Swaitek.
Ryan McConnell, Scott Raeburn, Rhys Wilson, Conor Blyth.