Aberdeen Grammar were given a lesson on how to manage the appalling conditions at Rubislaw where Marr who are in contention for the Premiership title were worthy 17-6 winners despite being reduced to 14 men after only half an hour’s play.
But to be critical of any of the players on such an afternoon of incessant, cold, driving rain would be churlish, as all 30 participants deserved medals for just attempting to stand up in the gloom and glaur, seldom seen at north-east games in recent years.
And yet Grammar can only regard it as an opportunity lost, especially after Marr lost the services of lock Jordan McLean for what referee Finlay Brown regarded as a dangerous foul, which given the dreadful underfoot conditions was less than a sympathetic decision.
Tom Aplin, the Grammar captain was in no doubt. “It wasn’t even a penalty but we gave our best. In fairness Marr managed the adverse weather better than us.”
Marr were in fact the more enterprising, mainly due to the cut and thrust of winger Scott Bickerstaff and No 10 Colin Sturgeon who was the overall stand out, leading his line with authority while ending up as the main points scorer with a try, two conversions and a penalty, capping a fine away day with a total of 12.
Marr took the lead in 20 minutes when flanker Robert Brown stormed over for a try converted by Sturgeon, only for Aplin to hit back immediately with a penalty making it 7-3 to the Ayrshire side at the break.
The second half was one of simply surviving, even if Aplin raised hopes with another penalty early in the second half, cancelled out by a similar effort from Sturgeon.
The same player ended the game as a contest when he cashed in on a slip up in the home defence, rubbing in salt with the conversion.
At this point the referee called time, six minutes early, not that anyone was complaining.
Grammar forwards coach Iain Stanger was happy with the application of his team.
He said: “We put in some hard shifts but failed to take our chances. It’s the story of our season. We now have vital game against Jed-Forest. It’s a season defining one.”
Caithness slip-up in Caley Division 1
In Caley Division 1, leaders Orkney struggled to a 17-14 win at home against a determined Blairgowrie, while second placed Caithness failed to take advantage, losing out 12-7 at Hillfoots but will be heartened by the islanders poor form when the two meet on Saturday.
In Caley 2 North, Aberdeenshire blew the title race wide open at Woodside where they surprised 2nd Highland, beating the Canal Park side 34-19 based on a stunning performance by the home pack.
Leaders Moray were 58-18 winners at home to Ross Sutherland and will now face Shire in what could be a league decider on Saturday at Woodside.