Aberdeen Grammar’s players “dug deep for each other” to secure their first win of the National Two season on Saturday.
Before this nerve-wracking 15-12 home triumph over Berwick, Grammar had lost all five games in this division since relegation from National One.
They are still bottom of the table, but are now level with Berwick on eight points and will hope this result can spark something going into the next few games.
A Scott Byars’ unconverted try gave Grammar a 5-0 lead after eight minutes and that was the way it stayed until half-time with the weather playing its part with the wind swirling around and the rain falling.
Berwick levelled things up in the 50th minute, but Grammar’s second five-pointer came just two minutes later through Mark Galloway.
On the hour mark, Berwick went ahead for the first time thanks to a converted try.
Grammar did not panic and, in the 62nd minute, Seamus Gilmartin scored their third unconverted try.
There then proceeded a nervy last 18 minutes, but the home side got over the line and head coach Eric Strachan said: “In horrible, wintry conditions it became an attritional battle where the boys really dug deep for each other – I’m delighted for them.
“To Berwick’s credit they fought until the final whistle, but I was pleased to hear the Grammar supporters really getting behind the team and spurring them on, that makes a big difference to the lads.”
Highland leave it late at Gala
In National One, Highland are now on course for a mouthwatering top of the table clash at leaders Ayr this coming Saturday after a last gasp win at Gala.
After 59 minutes the Canal Park men were down 18-3 at Netherdale in the Borders and staring down the barrel of a defeat.
Their only points by that stage had come via a Scott Fraser penalty, but this Highland side do not know when they are beaten.
In the 74th minute Gala lost a man to the sin bin and then came the amazing comeback.
Sixty seconds later Magnus Henry went over for a try converted by Fraser, the co-captain on his 150th appearance, to make it 18-10.
In the 78th minute Dylan Monk, on his debut, went over for an unconverted try to leave things at 18-15.
The drama was not over as Highland gathered the resultant kick-off and managed to free up Henry who beat a couple of defenders and ran in from some distance out.
His second try of the day made it 20-18 and then Scott Fraser converted to secure an amazing win.
After the 22-18 triumph, Highland head coach Dave Carson said: “I am delighted.
“From 12-3 down at half-time we came out firing, but made too many errors and they kicked two penalties to go 18-3 up.
“With 20 minutes to go we brought on Dylan Monk and Dan Corr for their debuts and the team started to react.
“Magnus scored and then there was a great tip from Callum Carson to send in Dylan.
“We knew we then had to gather the kick-off and, after a few phases, excellent hands from Mike Gray released Magnus to run in from 30 metres before Scott converted.
“Ten out of 10 to the guys for pure guts and the heart to never give up.
“Netherdale is not an easy place to go, but it was a fantastic effort by all 20 players to come away with the result.”
Highland are on 27 points with Ayr on 33 ahead of their upcoming Millbrae meeting.
Aberdeenshire are now top of Caledonia One’s North Conference after defeating previous leaders Moray 35-29 in a cracker.
Aaron Wright and Jason Burton both scored two tries apiece for the victors with Andrew Cook and Paul Harrow also crossing.
“This win shows how far we have come from last season and that is down to the commitment of the players,” Aberdeenshire player/coach Paul Harrow said.
A sickness bug ripped through the Garioch squad Friday into Saturday, but they still travelled to Edinburgh to take on Corstorphine Cougars and, although beaten 74-7, can take heart from the way they battled in the women’s Premiership clash.
Megan Hyland scored the Garioch try.