Aberdeen Grammar 14-23 Dundee High

Aberdeen Grammar v Dundee HSFP
7 March 2015

With the advantage of a strong, diagonal wind, Grammar kicked off on a very firm, dry Rubislaw pitch and were first on the attack. The offensive was repelled and Dundee began to exert some pressure, until an interception was made by Grammar No 6 Ali Mackie, who ran some 50 metres unopposed, to score under the posts. Stand-off Knudson slotted the simple conversion and the hosts were 7-0 ahead after10 minutes.

Dundee struck back from the re-start and good handling play got them to the Grammar line. When Grammar were penalised, Harry Millar’s penalty goal reduced the deficit: 7-3 after 13 minutes.

The match continued in even vein until a fine break by Tim McKavanagh took play to the Grammar 5-metre line. When Grammar were penalised, Dundee found touch and drove the resultant line-out possession over the try line for a score credited to Darrell Russell. Harry Millar was successful with the difficult conversion attempt and Dundee edged ahead, 7-10, after 25 minutes.

Dundee were on the attack again and a good break by James Mulligan saw then reach the Grammar 22, but a knock-on stopped the momentum. Dundee were exerting pressure but handling errors were denying them the opportunity of extending their lead. A telling break from defence by Matt O’Sullivan took play to the half-way line, but again the ball was lost. Then it was Grammar’s turn, when a telling break by Ali Mackie had the home supporters roaring as play reached 10m metres from the Dundee line, only for Grammar to knock on, allowing Dundee to clear the danger.

Dundee continued on attack, aided by another fine break by Matt O’Sullivan, but a 30-metre penalty goal by Harry Millar as half-time beckoned was all their reward.

Half-time: Aberdeen Grammar 7 Dundee HSFP 13

On balance, a good first half by Dundee, who were asking questions with ball in hand. Minimising errors and greater continuity of play, coupled with wind advantage, should secure a positive outcome.

In the event, it was Grammar who showed first after the resumption, with the greater share of possession, but handling errors were proving costly and opportunities were lost. Grammar continued to press, however, and after 10 minutes of the half, their efforts were eventually rewarded as the ball was moved from a ruck near the Dundee posts and winger Grant Walker crashed over for a try, converted by Knudson, putting Grammar back in the lead, 14-13.

Dundee exerted their first attack after the re-start and, after a line-out drive, play was taken to the Grammar 5-metre line, where a bizarre series of scrums took place. At each one, Grammar were penalised and Dundee opted for a re-scrum. With visiting supporters wondering if a penalty try was in prospect, the issue was resolved at the fourth attempt when the scrum broke and a Dundee drive saw Stevie Longwell gaining the try. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful, but Dundee were ahead again, 14-18, after 61 minutes.

Four minutes later, the lead was extended, when Josh Rutnagur pounced on a loose ball after a line-out near the Grammar line. The conversion was missed, but there was now some daylight between the sides at 14-23.

Grammar hit back after another good spell by Dundee floundered on lost possession, and the home side almost scored when they were nudged into touch in the act of touching down in the corner. Grammar were not giving up without a fight, and continued to test the Dundee defence. A series of penalty offences by Dundee in quick succession enabled Grammar to mount an assault in the Dundee red zone, and eventually over the line, only for the ball to be held up. This was as close as Grammar reached, however, and the match finished without further scoring, meaning that a delighted Dundee team was able to secure the Dallas Allardice trophy for the first time.

Full-time: Aberdeen Grammar 14 Dundee HSFP 23

With visiting supporters anticipating that wind advantage after the resumption would enable Dundee comfortably to extend their first-half lead, credit is given to Grammar for their refusal to give in, and for a second half performance which lead to a closer game than some had anticipated.

Tries: Russell, Longwell, Rutnagur
Conversion: Millar
Penalties: Millar (2)

Dundee Player of the Match: Hamish Livingston

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