Aberdeen Grammar successfully completed leg one of their bid to land a Border double, easing past Kelso in a high scoring game at Poynder Park, giving them all the confidence in the world for stage two on Saturday when they return to meet Selkirk at Philiphaugh.
Head coach Ali O'Connor was delighted with his side's six try effort, especially as the afternoon had got off to the worst possible start when in the warm last week's hero Sean Mills pulled a hamstring, and was unable to take any part in the rest of the proceedings. His replacement Tom Aplin took full advantage of his opportunity to start the game, going on to score two tries, and a penalty to earn himself the man of the match award.
O'Connor said: ''When Sean came off before the game even started, I thought it might just be one of those days, but the guys rallied round, and in particular Tom who stepped up to the mark. At the moment we are scoring tries for fun, but we need to stop leaking points if we are to be a threat in the league, although we are in a good place, third in this very competitive set up, and looking forward to a return to Border country next week. We fell off the pace at one point late in the game, but recovered to win with something to spare.''
In a frantic affair, the Rubislaw side generally had the better of the league's strugglers who have yet to win a game in National League 1, but made a good fist of taking on the highflying visitors, matching their two first tries with two of their own. Grammar took an early led through lock Ewan Stewart, and with full back Bryn Perrott adding the conversion, it was a perfect start for the Aberdeen side considering the earlier disruptions.
Kelso hit back with tries of their own, scored by Cormac Izuchukwu and Andy Tait both of which were converted by stand off Craig Dods, but it was Grammar who held sway after flanker Alex Dravitski raced over for a converted try, but it was the irrepressible Aplin who gave Grammar a 17 - 14 lead at the break with a well struck penalty.
Aplin continued where he left off in the second half, adding two tries, and generally getting into the action in support of his team mates, enabling them to race into a 33 - 14 lead, only halted by a controversial yellow card for flanker Chris Jollands for handling in a ruck. During his absence the Border side closed the gap, but Grammar rallied to add to their tally, running out comfortable 46 - 33 winners.
The Grammar second half scorers were Craig Shepherd, Perrott who also added three conversions, and a penalty, and of course that man Aplin.
For the home side, Izuchukwu grabbed a second, and flanker Angus Thomson(2). Dods kicked two conversions, but the day belonged to Grammar, made all the better for the Robertson family when all the brothers Aaron, Jordan and Cameron all entered the fray in the latter stages of the game.
© Jack Nixon