Stornoway RFC welcomed runaway league leaders Aberdeenshire 2XV to a soggy Bayhead last Saturday for what was always going to be a tough day at the office for the islanders.
With a number of players unavailable the Stornoway line up once again looked very different to previous outings with players young and not so young being drafted in to fill the gaps.
Aberdeen started as expected displaying strong running in the loose with a well organised pack making inroads in to the Stornoway defence, this start was rewarded with a couple of early tries. The Stornoway defence however began to find its feet and stout tackling in their 22 stemmed the initial flow of tries, this seemed to spur the home side on and for a good spell of the first half they controlled possession and territory. Unfortunately Stornoway could not convert that possession into points and the first half drew to a close with the home side down 0-24.
Stornoway started the 2nd half with the breeze to their backs and a desire to put some points on the board. With Aberdeenshire falling foul of the referee at rucks Stornoway made good ground from quick tap penalties and kept the Abeerdeen side on the back foot through good support running.
It looked as though Stornoway would once again have nothing to show for their sustained pressure when Jeff Macdonald was adjudged to have a foot in touch when he dived in at the corner flag, fortunately the referee was playing advantage to the home side and the ensuing penalty saw Rick Macleod crashing over the white wash with several Aberdeen players hanging on to him to score his first try for Stornoway. Stornoway continued to force the pace, taking advantage of Aberdeen’s lack of discipline at the breakdown by keeping the game in their half of the pitch.
This sustained pressure and quick ruck ball provided Stornoway with another try, this time Paul Afrin crossed the line after some good handling on the blind side of a ruck. As David Mackay, playing at 10 in the reshuffled Stornoway line up, slotted the conversion a losing bonus point for the home side was looking like it could be a possibility.
Aberdeenshire however, showed their quality and controlled a lot more of the play for the remainder of the game and despite some spirited defence by the home side in very poor conditions the visitors ran out 12-45 winners.
Coach Angus “Bubble” Mackay commented: “It is encouraging that we competed well against the strongest side in the league for large periods of the game, obviously there are plenty of things to work on but the boys should be proud of the effort they put in today”
The clubs next home fixture will be against Aberdeen University on November 22nd.