Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

COMMENT: Aberdeen Grammar season faces difficult conclusion

Aberdeen Grammar in action against Hawick
Aberdeen Grammar in action against Hawick

This season has seen Aberdeen Grammar face challenges they would never have dreamt of dealing with before.

Covid-19 issues, an injury crisis and a battered squad struggling for form. The campaign has never really got going and the outlook, as it stands, is not good.

Their win over Glasgow Hawks at the end of November was emphatic. It snapped a run of 10 straight Premiership defeats and in the process, restored some belief they could get out of this predicament.

But defeat against Jed Forest, one of the teams which could have been dragged into the relegation scrap, has left the Rubislaw side with a mountain to climb.

Aberdeen Grammar head coach Ali O'Connor, centre.
Aberdeen Grammar head coach Ali O’Connor, centre

Head coach Ali O’Connor has remained steadfast in his belief that Grammar could stay up. He drew on the experience of winning their last four games of his first season in charge to stay up, as an example of what could still be achieved.

Having someone at the helm who remains level-headed when things appear to be spinning out of control is hugely important. The issues he has had to overcome this season would have tested any coach.

They have had two games postponed due to Covid outbreaks at the club and therefore had to rearrange fixtures further down the line. One of them was their opening game of the season against Edinburgh Accies, a far from ideal scenario after a disrupted pre-season.

Then there has been the injury situation, which has rumbled on from week-to-week as the absentee list grew.

At one stage there was more than 20 players unavailable for selection, which for a part-time club produces a near-insurmountable situation. That is an entire match-day squad which found itself nursing injuries.

Aberdeen Grammar's Ali Addy in action against Edinburgh Accies, where Grammar lost 42-7
Aberdeen Grammar’s Ali Addy in action against Edinburgh Accies, where Grammar lost 42-7

Every week, there would be fresh names added to the list. Grammar staff felt it was owing to the lack of competitive rugby over the previous 18 months, where the entire Scottish setup had effectively been on shutdown to the pandemic.

Bodies were taking a while to get used to the intensity, the hits, the demands of playing rugby again after more than a year off. Injuries had been frequent throughout the Premiership but it seemed Grammar were getting the rough end of the stick.

The hope was always to get some of these players back soon enough to make a difference, while the season was still alive. Dates in the calendar were earmarked for potential returnees and when they could turn a corner.

It took until the visit of Hawks for it to happen. A 38-13 win was decisive and gave Rubislaw the lift it badly needed, after enduring its own tale of woe for the majority of the season.

They now have five games to save themselves with a deficit of 12 points to overhaul. They start 2022 with Musselburgh at home and every game now becomes a must-win. They still have to face Currie and Hawick – two of the Premiership’s top three – so survival is by no means an easy task.

Grammar’s hopes of survival may be slim but while it is still mathematically possible for them to stay up, the towel will not be thrown in.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]