Aberdeen Grammar kept their play-off hopes alive with a narrow 21-19 victory against GHA in Glasgow.
The victory takes Grammar into fourth place and, with only three games to play, albeit against the three top sides Marr, Currie and Hawick, head coach Ali O’Connor reckons anything is possible – especially as two of the games are at Rubislaw.
He said: “We have discovered how to win again after a poor run, and if we can maintain this form we will be there or thereabouts.
“It’s the first time we have done the double over GHA for a long time, but we deserved it. Our defence and physicality were outstanding, especially in the second half when we didn’t concede a point.”
Grammar started strongly taking the lead in only three minutes when, from a penalty lineout, centre Murray Mitchell ran in a fine try, which was converted by fellow centre Tom Aplin, confirming that the back is fast becoming the most reliable place-kicker in the league.
The Braidholm side hit back immediately with a great counter attack, enabling winger Jordan Craig to touch down for a try converted by scrum half George Baird.
In 15 minutes, the home side repeated the move to go 12-7 ahead. The scorer was prop Erik Cavan, although Baird missed the kick at goal, but only awarded after referee Michael Todd had consulted a touch judge.
Grammar bounced back to push ahead after spreading the play wide, giving the ultra-speedy Doug Russell a free run from the wing. Aplin added the extras in what had been a frantic, but entertaining, opening 20 minutes.
After a quiet spell, the Glasgow side upped the pace of the game, getting their reward just after the half-hour mark when lock Adam Burnett charged over from a lineout. With Baird successfully making the kick, GHA were able to go into the break 19-14 to the good.
The second half was dominated by the hosts but, thanks to some superb Grammar defending, they were unable to add to their tally.
Instead it was the visitors who, in a rare visit into the GHA half in 58 minutes, scored what proved to be the winning score, touched down by lock Robin Cessford, and converted by the reliable Aplin.
Grammar survived a torrid last 20 minutes in which every player put their body on the line, but helped by some poor finishing from the home side.
Selkirk’s home 26-14 defeat against Marr was greeted with joy by players, officials and the small but vociferous Grammar support, resulting in Grammar moving into that precious fourth place, although they will have to wait until February 15 for the next round of games when they host second-placed Currie Chieftains.
© Jack Nixon
Aberdeen Grammar: Sean Mills; Nathan Brown, Murray Mitchell, Tom Aplin, Doug Russell; Sam Knudson, Tommy Morrison; Calum Reddish, Andrew Cook, Matthias Schosser; Robin Cessford, Jordan Robertson; Nat Cole, Ben Inglis, Greig Ryan.
Replacements: Jonny Spence, Ross Anderson, Aaron Robertson, Patrick Ritchie, Fraser Sneddon.