Chris Guthrie led the way with two tries, Ali Linklater also went over and Connor Hancock’s kicking was excellent to secure Orkney a hard-fought win at Howe of Fife on Saturday and make it 10 National Three wins out of 10.
As it was the ‘president’s trip’, plenty of Orkney supporters managed to make it down to Cupar in Fife for the match and they made themselves heard as their side ground out a positive 24-19 result in tough weather conditions.
Before the match Orkney were second in the table and Howe were third, so this was always likely to be nip and tuck and a great advert for club rugby – and it proved to be.
The home side led 7-0 early on, but by half-time Orkney had managed to get ahead 17-7 thanks to winger Guthrie’s two tries and seven points from the boot of stand-off Hancock.
As the rain continued to fall, the Howe reduced the deficit to 17-12 with a converted try in the second period and when they scored another seven-pointer they were 19-17 up.
However, Orkney kept going and tighthead prop Linklater was on hand to score the winning try from short range with Hancock adding the conversion for good measure.
Leaders Preston Lodge won 28-6 at West of Scotland, but Orkney are just two points behind them – on 47 points from a possible 50 – with a game in hand and the teams will meet in a fortnight’s time in East Lothian.
In National One, Highland lost at home for the first time this season.
They were looking to bounce back from defeat to Watsonians in Edinburgh, but went down 21-3 to GHA at Canal Park.
Highland are still second in the table, but are now 16 points behind leaders Ayr who made it 11 wins from 11 by seeing off Dundee Rugby 43-15.
A well deserved win – enjoy the beers and the journey home.
— Highland Rugby Club 🦅 (@HighlandRFC) November 18, 2023
“We are pretty disappointed with our first loss at home this season,” Highland head coach Dave Carson said.
“I was pleased with the majority of our first half performance, Scott Fraser scoring a penalty before they scored a penalty and a converted try just before the break to lead 10-3.
“It was a very ‘stop start’ second half and that didn’t suit us. They dominated the set piece and their driving mauls got them ‘go forward’ and a stranglehold on the game. Another tough one to take, but we’ll regroup.”
GoGos bounce back from Peebles setback
Gordonians are fourth and eight points off leaders Lasswade with a game in hand after a bonus point win at Kirkcaldy in National Two.
Sam Ryan (2), Finlay Lennox, Angus Cousin, Finlay Troup, Archie Falconer and Mitchell Smart scored tries in the 44-22 triumph and Hamish Smart kicked nine points.
“We were pleased to get back to winning ways and right a lot of the wrongs from last week against Peebles,” Gordonians head coach Ryan Morrice said.
“We stuck to our game plan and dragged a big Kirkcaldy pack across the pitch and exploited the resulting space. The forwards dug in and the backs were clinical going forward.
“Young Hamish Smart controlled the game well from 10 and Is getting better every week in the absence of Josh Andrew.
“We’ve been on the end of a lot of poor results in the year gone by at Kirkcaldy, so it really shows how far we have come to travel and put in a dominant performance.”
Aberdeen Grammar are now bottom of that division after a 50-10 home loss to Falkirk.
“Ultimately, it was a very disappointing result when we were right in contention at half time at 17-10 down thanks to a try from Craig Shepherd and five points kicked by Dan McElderry,” Grammar head coach Eric Strachan admitted.
“Give Falkirk credit, they lifted the pace after the break and scored three tries in 10 minutes. We are now in a dogfight at the bottom and the lads’ will to win will be seriously tested.”
Moray really turned on the style in Caledonia One and are second in the North Conference after a 106-0 thumping of Aberdeen Wanderers who are winless.
Garioch remain bottom of the women’s Premiership after a 63-19 home reverse to Hillhead Jordanhill.
Shae Pepper, Kim Eades and Nikki Chalk scored Garioch’s tries with Alisha Ross converting two.