The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands)

MARR TOO STRONG FOR BRAVE GRAM­MAR

MARR 61 ABERDEEN GRAM 7 Men from Aberdeen put on fight­ing dis­play but still suf­fer their third suc­ces­sive de­feat

- BY JACK NIXON Sports · Aberdeen Grammar School · Aberdeen · New Zealand · Aberdeen F.C. · Hamilton Academical F.C. · Glasgow · Glasgow Hawks · Musselburgh

Aberdeen Gram­mar suf­fered a third suc­ces­sive de­feat in the Premier­ship with a 61-7 re­verse at Marr.

The only con­so­la­tion for the Ru­bis­law men was that they knew af­ter­wards they had come up against the un­beaten league lead­ers on a day when they were at the top of their form.

Gram­mar head coach Ali O’Con­nor said: “Full credit to Marr, they played very well and their ex­e­cu­tion was elec­tric.

“It was dif­fi­cult to stay with them but we re­ally stuck in after half-time.

“We wanted to chase a try bonus point, which we didn’t get, although I am proud of our ef­fort.

“We’ll prob­a­bly be all the bet­ter for this be­cause Marr played the game at such high speed, it will give us the chance to learn from that.”

O’Con­nor re­fused to use the in­jury cri­sis and non-avail­abil­ity of play­ers as an ex­cuse.

He added: “The guys who came down are a pretty com­pet­i­tive team, but we are prob­a­bly strug­gling for bal­ance, while get­ting used to play­ing with each other.

“They stuck in well and, by and large, came away with the credit of never giv­ing up.”

But de­spite O’Con­nor’s brave de­fence of his charges, it was clear it was go­ing to be al­most im­pos­si­ble for Gram­mar to com­pete against by far and away the best team in the league with­out the ser­vices of play­ers of the qual­ity of Chris Jol­lands, who is now in New Zealand, Robin Cess­ford and Nathan Brown, who were both in­jured, as well as their key or­gan­iser in the pack Greig Ryan, who was get­ting mar­ried at the week­end.

There was, how­ever, one mo­ment of light re­lief for the Gram­mar bench when after con­ced­ing three early tries, cen­tre Tom Aplin scored one of the best tries of the af­ter­noon, rum­bling all of 70 yards to score a fine in­di­vid­ual try which he con­verted him­self on what was an oth­er­wise first half of one-way traf­fic to the Aberdeen line.

Trail­ing 40-7 at the break, Gram­mar turned around set on clos­ing the gap, only to find the Troon side equally de­ter­mined to make

their own case for more points, which they did through three more tries, all con­verted by their ex­cel­lent stand-off Colin Stur­geon, who kicked eight of his nine at­tempts at goal while suc­cess­fully keep­ing his back di­vi­sion in the game and mak­ing life dif­fi­cult for the Gram­mar line.

Gram­mar will be on the road again on Satur­day when they start the sec­ond half of the sea­son with a game in Ed­in­burgh, where they will meet Ed­in­burgh Ac­cies who they have al­ready been beaten 30-17 at Ru­bis­law in the first game of the sea­son. The de­feat means Gram­mar have dropped from sec­ond to fourth, only one point above a vastly im­proved Haw­ick team.

Ed­in­burgh Ac­cies will head into the match

with Gram­mar also look­ing to make amends after go­ing down to a 35-17 de­feat at Glas­gow Hawks.

Else­where, Haw­ick de­feated Jed-For­est 33-0, while Cur­rie

Chief­tains recorded a 57-7 home suc­cess against Mus­sel­burgh.

Selkirk were the only side to achieve a vic­tory on the road se­cur­ing a fine 20-13 tri­umph at GHA.

 ?? Pho­to­graphs by Scott Bax­ter ?? NO WAY THROUGH: GHK’s Hugh Parker is stopped in his tracks dur­ing his side’s game against Gor­do­nians and, in­set, team-mate Ben Hut­ton meets the same fate.
Pho­to­graphs by Scott Bax­ter NO WAY THROUGH: GHK’s Hugh Parker is stopped in his tracks dur­ing his side’s game against Gor­do­nians and, in­set, team-mate Ben Hut­ton meets the same fate.
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