Aberdeenshire beat Storm Babet and RAF Lossiemouth on Saturday to stay out on top in Caledonia One’s North Conference.
With National league matches featuring Highland, Aberdeen Grammar and Gordonians falling foul of the weather, Caledonia One took centre stage – and it did not disappoint.
Aberdeenshire made the away trip to RAF Lossiemouth in good spirits having defeated Moray the week before and they kept up the momentum by winning 55-27 with a bonus point, but they were made to fight all the way by their hosts.
Aaron Wright led the way for Aberdeenshire with two tries, while Chris Ballentyne also bagged two and Jason Burton, Tom Watson, Liam Reid and Kenny Penman crossed as well. Daniel McElderry, who had a cracking game at stand-off, weighed in with some points from his boot.
Paul Harrow, the Aberdeenshire player/coach, revealed they almost could not make the trip due to a large number of players being unavailable, making the triumph just that little bit more impressive.
“With 21 players unavailable to take the trip up to Lossiemouth, it was a challenge to get a team together, but we got there,” Harrow explained.
“The lads played extremely well to come away with the win and scored lots of tries as well.
“The weather conditions were terrible at the start of the match, but eased up and some of our top performers included our player-of-the-match Josh Taylor and Daniel McElderry, who had a stormer at 10 as he dictated the game well and kicked very well.
“Jason Burton carried hard all day, along with Aaron Wright, who broke the defensive line on several occasions.
“All in all, I am extremely happy with the result and proud of the lads that put their hands up and showed up for the club.”
Aberdeenshire showed top-of-the-table credentials – say RAF Lossiemouth coaches
The bonus-point victory leaves Aberdeenshire top of the North Conference with seven wins and one loss from eight games.
They are eight points clear of Moray, who have two games in hand, while, after the weekend’s loss, RAF Lossiemouth are sixth in the conference after one win and five reverses from six games to date.
Matthew Jackson, Callum Wright and Matty Fairbanks scored Lossie’s tries on Saturday, with Jordan Robbins converting all three and kicking two penalties.
RAF Lossiemouth head coach Matty Brougham said: “It was a fantastic effort from the lads and we started strongly.
“Leaky defence then mirrored the conditions, but as the wind died down we came back into the fight through some strong play by the forwards.
“A hard-fought middle 40 minutes saw Shire take the lead and consolidate with some carries from their number eight and centres.
“Overall, Shire proved too strong, through, with some great technical play and an opportunistic interception try, but we battled all day.”
The RAF Lossiemouth assistant coach Ben Collins added: “As Matty says, we started strongly and the forwards were dominant.
“However, it wasn’t long before Shire began to show why they are top of the conference. A few good line breaks and some good support meant they could begin to assert pressure and build up a lead.
“We came back into it at the start of the second half and looked like we were going to turn the game around, but Shire then scored an interception try against the run of play and that sealed the game.”
The other local matches in the division were beaten by the weather, but, in Caledonia North Two, Skye and Inverness Craig Dunain played.
The visitors were on top form to win 89-0 with a bonus point and that moves them up to fourth in the Highlands and Islands Conference, with two victories and three defeats now under their belts.
In the women’s game, Caithness Krakens are now just five points off leaders Highland in Caledonia North Two after they recorded a 41-0 win over Stornoway on home turf.
The Krakens have won three from their four completed matches to date now.