STORNOWAY RFC were back on the road last weekend, in Caledonia Division 2, making the journey to play Banff RFC at Duff House.
The island side bore little resemblance to the one that had beaten Moray just seven days before as Coach Angus Mackay was unable to call on no less than seven of his starting side from the previous week which was to prove decisive in the final outcome of the game.
Stornoway welcomed Iain McFee back for his first outing of the season and young Kevin O’Hara got his first start in the back row.
Behind the pack David Mackay was back in the scrum half berth and resumed his partnership with stand off Peter Hobson. And it was all change further back with James Kearns starting on the wing, Angus Williams at full back and John Campbell moving from the pack to centre!
Banff had a considerable advantage when it came to size, indeed all over the park the home side had the physical edge.
It was clear from the off that their game plan would be simple, keep it very tight and use their big, powerful forwards to smash it up.
They did this to great effect and deserved the win on the day. There was simply too many influential players missing from the Stornoway side and the match as a contest was all but over by the half-time whistle.
The home side had run in five tries, all of which were converted. While the Islanders were only able to manage a penalty as they turned at the half way stage on the wrong side of a 35-3 score line!
In fairness the score line flatters Banff slightly as Stornoway were very competitive for large parts of the first period.
The difference between the two sides though, was the way Banff clinically finished off their chances, albeit aided by some poor Stornoway tackling.
As the game resumed for the second half, it looked like the home side were again going to brush the visitors away as they scored almost immediately.
But this seemed to galvanise the Stornoway side as they rallied to play some fantastic rugby in the second half.
Tries from centre partners Jackson Tucker-Lynch and John Campbell were little reward for the tremendous effort shown by all in the Stornoway side.
They dominated the set piece, proving that technique in the scrum can outshine a bigger pack.
The line out worked well, even without the influential Roddy Graham. Up against the bigger pack the visitors tried, whenever possible, too move the ball around the park, playing more off mini rucks and an off loading game.
This worked well and has to be a real plus point for coach Mackay: “I was really pleased with the way the guys stuck in and took the game to Banff in the second half,” he said, adding: “We simply had too many key players missing today, it’s frustrating as we would have been more than a match for them with a full team.”