Aberdeen Grammar v Dundee HSFP
4 November 2017
Fortified by Gordon Thomson’s lunch hospitality, a larger than usual collection of Dundee buffties made its way down to Rubislaw, hoping for the retention of the Dallas Allardice cup, on a bright, sunny afternoon, with a slight breeze blowing down the slightly soft park.
Although recollection may be sketchy, it seems that, in this observer’s day, players didn’t get injured to any great extent. Then, when hamstrings were invented in 1984, they assumed a role as a blight on the modern game. Nowadays, head knocks have taken over as a curse to be endured at all levels. So it was with Dundee at Rubislaw, where a head knock to Paddy Hamilton after only 3 minutes, was compounded by a head knock to Andy Redmayne shortly before half-time. As if that wasn’t enough, Cammy Matheson was obliged to leave the field in the second half with a recurrence of symptoms from a previous head knock.
Head knocks, Dundee could have done without, with their consequent disruption to playing formation. As it was, however, it was Dundee who showed the greater promise in the first half, playing with the breeze at their backs and down the slight slope.
Gradually exerting a grip on proceedings, Dundee took the lead in 18 minutes, when a forwards’ drive after a line-out led to Ali Mackie touching down against his former club. Kieran Scoular was on the mark with the conversion and Dundee were ahead 0-7
Although Dundee had the greater share of territory and possession, the defensive lines of both sides were generally sound and neither side showed much scoring threat. There was therefore no further scoring until a Grammar infringement in 28 minutes offered Kieran a penalty opportunity, which he duly accepted to stretch the lead to 10 points.
The game continued with Dundee maintaining the greater share of the game, although penalty offences by the visitors allowed Grammar opportunities in the Dundee half. It was not until 43 minutes, however, that a kickable penalty chance came Grammar’s way and stand-off Bryn Perrott took advantage, to reduce the leeway: 3 – 10 and the final scoring action of the half.
Half-time: Aberdeen Grammar 3 Dundee HSFP 10
A half of little incident, with both side going through the motions in a game crying out for a line-breaker, or a move which would breach the organised defences. Playing in the opposition half, with increased discipline and ball retention was the exhortation for the Dundee side’s second half effort.
A penalty goal for Grammar 6 minutes into the half by Bryn Perrott was equalised by another from Keiran for Dundee almost immediately after, but, in general play, it was Grammar who were assuming control and the Dundee defence was being stretched.
Game on in 52 minutes when Dundee were penalised 10 metres from their line and 15 metres in from touch. Grammar opted for a scrum, Greig Ryan picked from No 8 and fed Grant Walker and the right-winger squeezed over for the try. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful and Dundee were now only two points ahead.
Grammar were building momentum and took the lead in 59 minutes, 14-13, when Dundee were penalised in front of the posts, 10 metres out, giving Bryn Perrott a straighforward chance.
Grammar were still in the ascendancy, moving the ball well across the park, and an extension of the lead did not seem far off. In the event, centre Nathan Clough was able to break through an attempted tackle and make for the line and a try, converted by Perrott and Grammar were 21-13 ahead.
Grammar sealed the game in 72 minutes when a scrum drive gave Greig Ryan the opportunity to touch down from No 8. Bryn Perrott slotted the conversion and Grammar were 28 – 13 ahead.
The remaining minutes brought some desperate Dundee attacking, but to no avail. A great break from defence by Ali Mackie set Ewan Campbell on a long run down the right wing gave the visiting support some hope, but the chance was lost and that was a close as Dundee got in the remaining stages.
Full time: Aberdeen Grammar 28 Dundee HSFP 13
So, the Dallas Allardice cup returns to Aberdeen. With the set-back of three players being lost to the consequences of head knocks, Dundee didn’t have their problems to seek, but credit to Grammar who dug in for the first half and took control in the second. Only consolation is Dundee won both drink-offs after the match.
Try Scorer Ali Mackie
Try: Ali Mackie
Conversion: Keiran Scoular
Penalties (2) Keiran Scoular