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Aberdeen Rugby 30 Selkirk 17

Published - 12 January 2019

Aberdeen Grammar stretched their unbeaten run to seven games, following an impressive 30 - 17 win over Selkirk, reducing the gap on the fifth placed Border side to one point in the process, while keeping themselves on track for a top four, or even third place in National League 1.

Head coach Ali O'Connor was all smiles, in stark contrast to the time the two sides met when Grammar heartbreakingly lost out to a last gap, touchline conversion at Philiphaugh, and said: ''The players were well aware of the enormity of the occasion. The win took away all the pain of that day, away back in September. A lot has happened since then, not least our continuing good run of form, based today on quality defending in the first half. But we are not getting carried away, we now have two tough games against league leaders Marr, and third placed GHA.''

Grammar had to shrug off losing lock Robin Cessford with a pulled hamstring in the warm up, his place going to Aaron Robertson who in the event had a first-class game.

The home pack were in fact instrumental in winning the game, taking the game to Borderers right from the off, tackling like demons, and scoring all four of the home touchdowns in a highly entertaining game of rugby.

The front row of Ross Anderson, Calum Reddish and Matthias Schosser were particularly effective, as were the try scoring back row of No 8 Greig Ryan (2) and Chris Jollands and Alex Dravitski who each grabbed a score.

But while the Grammar back division saw less of the action, they played their part in defending, and once they stopped kicking away hard-won possession became a force in their own right, particularly stand off and captain Sam Knudson who led his line with authority, and not guilty of aimless kicking, his many breaks setting up numerous attacks in the second half.

Lock Ewan Stewart continues to be a ball carrier of the highest order, linking well with his purposeful back rowers.

Both sides took time to get into the game with the early scores coming from penalties exchanged by Tom Aplin for a Grammar and Rory Banks for Selkirk before Aplin gave the Rubislaw side a lead they were never to lose, on the half hour mark with his second kick. Despite incessant pressure from the home side it took until the stroke of half time to score a try when not for the first time Ryan nipped over the line. Aplin added the conversion to make it 13-3 at the break.

A tense second half looked in prospect for the Rubislaw faithful, only for Grammar to raise their game with two stunning tries in three minutes, ten minutes after the break.

Dravitski and Jollands were the scorers and, with Aplin adding one conversion, it was game set and match, especially when Ryan popped up on the wing to grab his second try and with it a valuable try bonus point. Job done, Grammar not surprisingly tired, giving Selkirk the opportunity to snatch two late tries, attributed to Gregor Nicol and Ewan MacDougall, both converted by their first class kicker Banks, although on this occasion, there was no late pain for Grammar.

''We have been working on our defence, it paid off today. The late tries only came when we tired,'' said club captain Doug Russell.

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The 2XV had an excellent 34-13 win away at RAF Lossiemouth.

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