Aberdeen Grammar’s hopes of avoiding relegation from the Premiership suffered a major blow after a 42-9 defeat away to Jed-Forest.
Grammar faced a side just above them who they really had to beat if they were to retain their position in the Premiership next season but a heavy loss has left Ali O’Connor’s side now facing the real prospect of dropping out of the division.
The reverse had a familiar look to it with Grammar starting brightly, even daring to take the lead, only to pick up two injuries to key players, cancelling out any real chance of pulling off a season saving win at Riverside Park.
Grammar head coach O’Connor could scarcely believe his side’s bad luck as first back rower Patrick Mulholland limped off in five minutes, followed by prop Matthias Schosser five minutes later.
The loss of the German was most significant, as his combative style of play was giving the Borderers’ front row problems.
O’Connor said: “When you suffer such crushing blows so early in the game, and have a number of players unavailable, you just know it is going to be a hard day at the office.
“It would have been easy to have folded up but my comfort comes in the fact they continued to put their bodies on the line.
“In particular Ben Inglis, Glen Robertson and Jackie Burnett were immense in the last few minutes when Jed were exerting maximum pressure.”
The heavy loss is a huge blow to Grammar and O’Connor was clearly upset by the situation the 128-year old club finds itself in.
He said: “Mathematically we are not yet down, and will battle on in our remaining five games.”
Centre and captain Tom Aplin had given the Rubislaw side the best of starts, kicking a penalty in the second minute, only to see his side give away a penalty and a soft unconverted try.
But Grammar battled back in the midst of their injury trauma, enabling Aplin who has place kicked superbly over the season to add two more penalties, giving Grammar a 9-8 lead they were unable to hold, as the Border side took control of the game.
Two more unconverted tries before half time made it 18-9 for the home side, and although the visitors were still in the game, with the Borderers in full cry and set on making their situation safe, only a miracle could have saved Grammar.
It never came, instead Jed scored a further 24 points, including four tries and two conversions. Despite their bravery the Granite City side were unable to stem the flow, leaving them to reflect over the month long festive break of what might have been.
Grammar recommence their campaign on January 8 with a home game against Musselburgh, followed by games against Hawick, Currie, GHA and Selkirk – none of them easy encounters.
A defiant Aplin, however, said: “We’ll give it our best, and not go down without a fight.
“It’s not been a great season but we have appreciated the loyalty of of our supporters. We are gutted for them but we’re not down yet.”
Gordonians’ winning run ends in Dumfries
Gordonians were looking to build on their back to back wins but came unstuck at Dumfries where they found the home side in top form, as they eased to a 32-19 win against the Countesswells visitors.
Captain Danny Usugo was the unluckiest of losers, having scored a hat-trick with a stunning performance in the Gordonians back division but unable stop his side sliding to defeat, leaving them in the relegation area.
President Matthew Brechin was disappointed at the outcome but said: “They played the conditions better than us. They are a tough, physical side but it was a good game.
“We’ll bounce back when we come back from the Christmas break on January 8 at home to Falkirk.”
Stand-off Alex Fraser had another fine game in the number 10 jersey, keeping his side in the game with some astute out of hand kicking, and capping his day with two conversions.