The first competitive fixture between Aberdeen Grammar and Gordonians in 25-and-a-half years did not disappoint on Saturday, as the visitors to Rubislaw eventually came out on top 17-5 in front of a large crowd.
There was great excitement in local rugby circles the match was back, and a number of the men who played the last time back in 1998 for both sides were there to reminisce and watch what was a National Two clash this time around.
In a first half where defences were on top, only a Sean Mills’ unconverted try after six minutes separated the teams and, after 40 minutes, it was 5-0 to Gordonians and all to play for.
It took until the 65th minute for the next points to be scored, Daniel Brown scoring a second try for Gordonians with Josh Andrew converting.
With five minutes to go, Gordonians made sure of the win with a third try – Harris Mitchell with an unconverted effort.
Visiting player Rollo Press was then yellow carded and Grammar bagged a late unconverted try via captain Jonny Spence.
The result sees Gordonians sitting fourth in the league, while Grammar are ninth, Lasswade leading the way.
“The conditions meant it was always going to be an arm wrestle and we had to grind out the win against a very physical Grammar team,” Gordonians’ head coach Ryan Morrice said.
“We scored an interception early and it seem to rattle them, but we were guilty of overplaying and let them get a foothold in the game.
“However, they never used the conditions to their advantage.
“Having played the first half into a strong wind, the boys knew we had the opportunity to push on, but our discipline was very poor.
“We kept pegging them back in their ‘22’, though, so we knew we would get an opportunity.
“The players stuck to the game-plan and we eventually got there, but we need to be better – in attack and discipline-wise – if we want to beat Berwick next time out.
“We were disappointed not to get a bonus point, but it was all about getting the win and bragging rights.
“There was a big a crowd and that made for a great atmosphere in terrible weather.
“It was fantastic to see so many ex-Gordonians players there from the last game 25 years ago and hear what this result meant to them.”
Eric Strahan, the Grammar head coach, said: “It was great to see a bumper crowd at Rubislaw for the big derby.
“Give Gordonians credit, they took their chances when they presented themselves.
“We scrapped away, but couldn’t convert pressure into points at vital times.
“There wasn’t much between the sides.
“We look forward to meeting Gordonians again later in the season.”
Highland beat Glasgow Accies as Orkney go seven wins from seven
Highland lost a try after 42 seconds but battled back to defeat Glasgow Accies 29-14 with a bonus point in National One.
At Canal Park, the try scorers for Highland were Hugo Crush (two), Magnus Henry and co-captain Scott Fraser, with the latter also kicking nine points.
“I was really pleased with the way the boys nullified the Accies’ threats and stuck to their task,” Highland head coach Dave Carson said.
Highland are second in the table, six points behind unbeaten leaders Ayr.
Meanwhile, Orkney are second in National Three and have won seven from seven after a bonus point triumph on the road at Dumfries Saints.
The visitors had not played since October 7, but showed no rustiness to come out on top 33-17.
Niall Campbell, Darren McLean, Marcus Guthrie, Chris Guthrie and Connor Hancock scored tries, with the latter converting four of them.
Ellon are now fourth in Caledonia One’s North Conference after a 90-0 win over Aberdeen Wanderers.
Garioch lost 66-5 at Heriot’s Blues and had to deal with a broken-down bus on the way to Edinburgh, but they “played the best they have all season” in the women’s Premiership.
That is according to head coach Dave Duguid, who saw his side keep things 0-0 for 30 minutes, while Nikki Simpson scored their try.