Dundee High Rugby 19 Aberdeen Grammar Rugby 12
As is so often the case at Riverside (the posts now being down at Mayfield), the wind dominated proceedings as Dundee took on traditional rivals Aberdeen Grammar both for important league points and also the Dallas Allardice Trophy. Watched by a healthy sized crowd, Dundee won the toss and elected to play with the wind in the first half, which was blowing straight down the pitch.
Despite playing into the teeth of the wind, the sizeable Grammar team, fielding a number of big units both up front and in the backs, mounted early pressure and it looked like they would soon muscle their way over in the early exchanges, until driven back by a great Cammy Mathieson goal line tackle. Unfortunately, Cammy saw yellow as he was penalised for not rolling away from the tackle, and Dundee were down to 14 men for the next 10 minutes. Aberdeen pressed hard again, until a great steal by Ronan Joy eventually lifted the siege.
Ali Mackie then made a fine break off a Dundee scrum that was under a fair bit of pressure throughout the game, No. 10 Josh Rutnugar linked, and as play swung left with a big Dundee overlap a score looked on until a pass was spilled on the Grammar 22. It was not long delayed, however, as a good Fraser McKay kick ahead put Aberdeen into all sorts of bother, and Colin Strachan regained possession and went over for the first try of the game, converted by Fraser. Dundee 7-0 ahead, after quarter of an hour had gone.
Five minutes later, Strachan was the main man once again, making a great break and linking with McKay, whose searching kick ahead once more caused consternation in the Aberdeen ranks, until eventually the danger was snuffed out. Not for long, however, as from the resulting lineout, stand off Josh popped up a short pass to Ali Mackie, running a great angle, who went over under the sticks against his former teammates. McKay added the extras, and Dundee led 14 – 0 after 25 minutes.
Dundee were in the midst of a purple patch, and shortly after the restart another crunching tackle by Cammy Mathieson on halfway knocked the ball loose, and Mackie kicked ahead to eventually force a lineout on the Grammar 5 metre line. Mackie himself stole the poor Grammar throw and touched down for his second and Dundee’s third try, after less than half an hour had gone. Dundee 19 – Aberdeen 0.
The remainder of the first half descended into a midfield battle, as the wind and a number of penalties took their toll on both sides’ attempts at continuity. The first half ended with a pass from Moose to Goose going loose, as Colin Strachan again made some hard yards, but Angus Campbell, showing up well in his first start for the 1st XV with some great breaks, was unable to cling onto the ball with a try threatening.
Would 19 first half points prove to be enough for Dundee, playing into the mini-gale in the second half against a powerful Aberdeen side?
Dundee were forced into an early change after the restart as Cammy Mathieson was injured in a tackle, Niall Hall slotting in at hooker, and Angus Campbell moving to wing forward. Aberdeen made an fine early break, with No. 14 Walker, proving a real handful for the Dundee defence, creating the initial line break, and a try looked likely until Ronan Joy, covering across from the other wing, put in a good tackle. Aberdeen were camped on the Dundee 22, and Dundee were again creaking until a Fraser McKay interception once more pushed Grammar back and earned Dundee some hard won breathing space. But these were rare moments as Aberdeen’s pressure mounted, and so did the penalty count against Dundee.
Luckily for the home side, Aberdeen’s attack became increasingly one dimensional in the windy conditions, and outstanding defence against Aberdeen’s bash it up approach meant Dundee’s line remained intact as the clock continued to tick down. Ronan made another big challenge, full back Danny McGinn did the same to frustrate another possible try, and then Colin Strachan joined in the defensive party with a couple of big hits as Aberdeen continued to bang their heads against the brick wall that was Dundee defence.
But Dundee’s defensive efforts were taking their toll. Fraser McKay had to leave the field injured, and Struan Gartley came on at wing forward, with Danny Levison moving out into the centre. Penalties then turned into yellow cards as first Niall Hall, then Broonie, were sent to the bin for 10 minutes each, and for a while Dundee were down to 13 men. Inevitably, Aberdeen’s extra numbers told, and at last Dundee’s line was breached as Aberdeen’s Dougie Russell went over to make it Dundee 19 Aberdeen 5 after 72 minutes.
Dundee were under the cosh again immediately from the kick off, until a 40 yard break by Ali Mackie gave them some breathing space. However, failure to retain possession, a problem throughout the second half, let Aberdeen press back towards the Dundee line, and with Dundee tiring Aberdeen centre Radcliffe went over, Knudson slotting the conversion. Dundee 19 Aberdeen 12, with just 2 minutes to go.
Broonie was back on by now, along with Lewis McLean in the front row, with Jonny Gibson coming off. A good restart saw Dundee work their way up to the Aberdeen 22, until another Aberdeen penalty (the second half count was 14 penalties to Aberdeen, 2 to Dundee) gave the men from Rubislaw one last chance to draw level in injury time, as the clock ticked past 80 minutes. And to their credit Aberdeen nearly took it, producing a great 5 minute spell of precision pick and drive, or one out rugby, and grinding their way steadily down the pitch to Dundee’s 22. At last, however, Dundee’s outstanding defensive commitment, combined with Aberdeen’s lack of a cutting edge, proved too much for the away team, and a knock on led to the referee blowing for full time to the relief of the Mayfield team and supporters.
Summary – A young Dundee team could be proud of their second half defensive efforts, which meant the Dallas Allardice cup stayed in Dundee, and was presented to skipper Andy Dymock after the match by Lorna and Catrina, 2 of Dallas’s daughters.
- Danny McGinn, 14. Ewan Campbell, 13. Fraser McKay, 12 Colin Strachan, 11. Ronan Joy, 10. Josh Rutnagur, 9. Andy Dymock, 1. Jonny Gibson 2. Angus Campbell, 3. Alan Brown, 4. George Arnott, 5. Jack Anderson 6. Cameron Mathieson, 7. Danny Levison, 8. Ali Mackie
Bench: 16. Niall Hall, 17. Lewis McLean, 18. Struan Gartley, 19. Kaleem Barreto, 20. Andrew Burgess