After two home wins, Stornoway RFC were back on the road last weekend as they travelled to Banchory for the return fixture against Deeside RFC.
Having gone down against a strong island side seven days earlier, the home side were strengthened with a full compliment of players and must have been confident of securing the points. Stornoway on the other hand were forced in to several changes with a number player unavailable or injured.
This made the task at hand incredibly difficult for the islanders but they too were hoping to take something from the game.
It couldn’t have been a worse start for the visitors. From Deeside’s first possession they ran in untouched to dot down under the posts for a converted try, 7-0.
It was soon 12-0, with Stornoway so far off the pace it looked like it was going to be a long day for the visitors.
However, they rallied after 20mins with Callum Nicolson scoring the first of his four tries in the day, in a man of the match performance.
Again though the home side hit back, scoring twice more to stretch their lead to 24-5, gaining a bonus point along the way.
Under the posts the Stornoway outfit had harsh words for themselves and this seemed to bring the side together. They marched up field and just before half time Nicolson crossed again, for his and Stornoway’s second try, to kick start the come back. The sides turned at the break with Deeside leading 24-10.
With a slight wind behind them in the second half Stornoway now had the bit firmly between their teeth. Alick Graham got Stornoways third before Nicolson brought the islanders to within 4 points with his hat trick. 24-20 with 10 to go and Stornoway could sense that Deeside were there for the taking.
Deeside mounted a rare attack and beautiful running from there full back saw him stretch the home sides lead to 29-20, pushing Stornoway out of bonus point range.
Having worked so hard to get back in to the game, the visitors may have felt a bit deflated after this score but instead went straight back down the pitch and scored through captain David Campbell. At 29-25, with two bonus points on offer, Stornoway could have consolidated and come away with those points. Instead, from the kick off they put pressure on the Deeside backs.
Winning the back they recycled through their forwards for several phases before Iain Mackinnon chipped the ball into space.
From here the ubiquitous Callum Nicolson chased down, passed his opposite number and touched down to give Stornoway the lead for the first time, 29-30. Dean Drummond managed to slot the convertion for 3 point lead 29-32.
It wasn’t over there though. With 60 seconds on the clock, Deeside were awarded a penalty directly in front of the posts.
This would see them draw level but instead they decided to kick for touch. The resulting kick went out round and goal and Stornoway regained possession. From the 22 drop out the Deeside player knocked on and the final whistle brought a massive cheers from the island side.
Elated coach Angus Mackay beamed: “We had a shocking first 20, the lads were still on the bus but we realised late in the first half that there was a real chance of getting something if we could get the journey out of our legs.
“At half time we spoke about how we could turn things around and the lads stuck to the plan perfectly.”
This now sees Stornoway top the league ahead the visit of Ellon on March 25th.