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Rugby: Injury time heartache for Gordonians against Preston Lodge

Sean Mills in action for Gordonians.
Sean Mills in action for Gordonians.

Gordonians were left to rue the loss of a try 14 minutes into injury time as Preston Lodge grabbed a share of the spoils following a thrilling 33-33 draw at Countesswells.

The result means the Aberdeen side will almost certainly need to win their remaining three games to avoid relegation from National League 2.

The two points gained from the tied game, plus a bonus point gained for scoring four tries, gave both sides three points.

On any other day, such a result might have been acceptable, but with Kirkcaldy, the side immediately above the Countesswells side, picking up a five-point maximum at Whitecraigs after their 37-29 win and Hamilton stunning promotion-seeking Stewart’s Melville 58-28, it leaves Gordonians in deep trouble.

Club president Matthew Brechin said: “On this form we can go and win our last three games, but might need some help from others to stay up.

“We’re certainly not throwing in the towel.”

Gordonians made the best of starts in two minutes when flanker Finlay Lennox took advantage of a kind bounce of the ball to score under the posts for a try converted by stand-off Alex Fraser, who repeated the feat 10 minutes later to add to the try scored by Sean Mills, giving his side a 14-0 lead and the promise of more to come.

But Preston lodge had other ideas, scoring two of their own, both converted by Gus Hillhouse.

However, the home side enjoyed a purple patch before the interval which yielded eight points from another Mills try and a penalty from Fraser to make it 22-14.

Second half rollercoaster at Countesswells

Gordonians started the second half with intent, easing further ahead with a penalty from Fraser, but were stung by a third converted try for Preston Lodge.

The visitors started to go through the gears and it was no surprise when they took the lead for the first time in the game at 28-25 with a second try for stand-off Scott Clark to which Hillhouse almost inevitably added the extras.

Gordonians appeared to take control in stoppage time with Fraser’s third penalty and a second try from Lennox, which Fraser crucially failed to convert, leaving the door open for one last Preston Lodge assault on the home line.

The late pressure led to an equalising try for flanker Alexander Allan out wide.

Fortunately, Hillhouse was off the target for the first time in the afternoon, leaving the scores tied at 33 apiece, and probably the fairest outcome in a highly-entertaining match.

Fraser bullish about remaining matches

Stand-off Fraser on his return from injury made a telling contribution behind the all-action home pack, kicking a total of 13 points, but just as crucially led his line with authority.

He said: “It’s a disappointing result for us, but our ball retention was not good, especially in the last play of the game.

“We’ll just have to go and beat Newton Stuart down there next week, and then Falkirk here, followed by Whitecraigs away.”

Much will depend on Hamilton’s last game, which is away to Preston Lodge on Saturday. Should they lose without picking up a bonus point, Gordonians would need to win all three games, but collect one try bonus point.

Alternatively, should Kirkcaldy lose all three of their remaining games, Gordonians would still need to win three games to avoid the drop, although bonus points could decide the fate of any of the three threatened clubs.

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