Following promotion to the national leagues, Gordonian RFC travelled to the capital to take on Stewart’s Melville RFC in the first round of the BT National Cup. The boys from the granite city had their work cut out for them against a team who had finished their previous national one campaign strongly.
Stewart’s Melville came out of the blocks quickly. Gordonians were missing tackles, misplacing passes and kicking poorly, Stewart’s Melville punished every mistake accordingly. The home side raced in to a 28-0 lead and after 20 minutes the worst was feared.
Never a team to shy away form a challenge, the Gordonians pack started to make headway into the game. Leading from the front, Captain Tom Williams and No.8 Steve Whittet made some powerful carries, while Chris Simpson rallied the players in defence, Sean Mills and Graeme Crawford tried to spark the backlines attack. Whilst the scrum was creaking against their larger and heavier counterparts, the line out proved to be a good source of ball, Cammy Hogg marshalled his troops to keep the Stewart’s Melville defenders guessing to where the ball was going.
With 10 minutes to go in the first half Gordonians sprang in to action. The forwards got their just rewards for all the heavy carrying with two tries for debutant tight head Jamie Christine and one for Andrew McInnes. Sean Mills followed up with two conversions.
Half time score 28-19
At the start of the second half both teams came out and tried to use the ball, the game was flowing between the 22’s with Mills, Crilly and Crawford trying to inject some attacking flair to the Gordonians game. Stewart’s Melville were keen to make amends for their poor end to the first half and were rewarded with two tries to try and thwart any hopes of a Gordonians fight back. Not to be deterred the pack surged up field with Tom Williams, spotting the hard running line of Steve Whittet, putting the big No.8 into space who then showed the defence a clean pair of heals to score under the posts. Mills duly added the extras.
With Gordonians pushing hard to get the next score, disaster struck. As he went to pass the ball, young McInnes failed to see the 6’8” second row heading towards him. The big lock intercepted the pass and galloped towards the posts. Although the defence scrambled to fell the player the defence could not organise quickly enough and Stewart’s Melville were in under the posts.
Although a former Stewart’s Melville pupil, David Ilyine was relishing his first ever outing on the 1st XV pitch at Inverleith. David and his opposite number spent the whole game taunting each other, taking every opportunity to test each other’s ability in attack and defence. As the game wore on Ilyine was getting the upper hand, thanks to the deft hands of messrs Mills, Crilly and Crawford. One of his powerful runs into the oppositions 22 left the ball on the deck, if Crawford had managed to execute the one handed pick up he would have surely been in for the score. Instead the home side cleared their lines from the resulting scrum.
With the game drawing to a close Gordonians saved the best for last. From the edge of their own 22 the ball went wide. With some neat interplay and great support lines the back line surged up the pitch with Ilyine streaking away to score.
Final Score 47-31
The Aberdeen Standard Investments man of the match was No.8 Steve Whittet.
The 1st XV are back in action on the 2nd of September away to Perthshire RFC.