Aberdeen Grammar 9 Stewart’s Melville 26
Aberdeen Grammar’s recent good form sank without a trace in the mud of Rubislaw, where Stewart’s Melville ran out convincing four-try winners to keep their promotion hopes alive.
Grammar were unrecognisable from the side who had comprehensively out-played Watsonians on the same pitch the previous week, this in spite of enjoying the bulk of the play in the first half.
Grammar coach Stuart Corsar said: “We made it too easy for them, especially in the second half when we looked dead on our feet. We just didn’t rise to the occasion, but it’s not entirely the fault of the players. The coaching team needs to look at its methods and start to do things differently.
“We have games on the road against Peebles and GHA which gives us the opportunity to put it right before the end of the year.”
Grammar started brightly enough, and with half-backs Alex Hagart and captain Morgan Ward looking sharp and willing to release a sparky back line, they took a second minute lead when stand off Hagart kicked a penalty.
The lead was short-lived and after 11 minutes after intense pressure on the home line, centre Neil Bowie was bundled over the line by his pack. Stand off Michael Hanning kicked the conversion.
Grammar bustled back into the game, but could only muster one penalty, which was scored by the excellent Hagart.
The Inverleith side showed how it should be done just before half-time when, in a rare foray to the home line, prop William Aitken crashed over for a try, converted by Hanning.
On the stroke of half-time, Hagart closed the gap to 14-9 with his third penalty of the game.
The second half belonged to the more creative, adventurous Edinburgh side.
The Stewart’s Melville enterprise was rewarded by two more tries, one of which was converted by Hanning, giving the visitors a hard-earned bonus point. The touch-downs came from second by Aitken and one from replacement prop Ruaridh Mitchell.
It was Grammar’s flattest and most lacklustre performance of the season to date and captain Ward said: “We just didn’t get into gear in the second half, Which was a pity after doing most things right in the first. Perhaps we were too complacent after last week.”
Aberdeen Grammar: Sam Knudson; Grant Walker, Conor Lavery, Peceli Nacamavuto, Lemarre El Bouchehati; Alex hagart, Morgan Ward; Matthias Schosser, Mike Cox, Murray McCallum; Ed Nimmons, Stuart Smith; Greig Ryan, Chris Jollands, Ali Mackie.
Replacements: Stuart Davis, Colin Neilson, Aaron Robertson, Doug Russell, Seam Murray.
Stewart's Melville: Ciaran Whyte; Matt Morrell, Neil Bowie, Seb Trotter, Dan Anderson; Michael Hanning, Andrew Manson; William Aitken, Hugh Lindsay, Rhys Morgan; Scott Brewster, Fraser Morrison; Fraser Christie, Stu Wilson, Adam Howie.
Replacements: Ruaridh Mitchell, Ruaridh Stewart, Chris Anderson, Fraser Strachan, Chris Beattie.