Highland teams win at Canal Park

1XV end league season on a high
Highland 35 - 27 Gala

Highland knew that securing 2nd place in National League Div 1  was no longer in their own hands after their loss down at Glasgow Accies. It will take an extraordinary set of results in the remaining figures for Highland to retain 2nd place. 

However, with the end of the Super 6 franchises having been announced, another round of league reorganisations seems inevitable. 

Putting all that to one side, the Coaching team were looking for one thing – a bonus point home win.  The wish was for the 1st XV to go out and express themselves – but the demand was for the effort and application required to get the job done. 

As has been the norm recently, Highland haven’t been able to field the same team in successive matches.

Centres Junior Waqanibau & Rupeni Rokoduguni were unavailable as the Army are off to Kenya for training. Euan Milton (lock) was unavailable  due to work commitments.  

The missing army lads presented Callum Boyd and James Blair with valuable 1XV game time – especially Blair who has just returned from injury. Stalwart Grant Jamieson stepped in to fill the vacant slot in the 2nd row to play alongside Rory Mighton.

We also saw the return  of co-captain Callum Carson from injury to take his place in the back row, completed by Calum MacPherson and Gordon Gregor. 

The front row remained unchanged with Stephen Murray, Kevin Brown, and Patrick Ratumaisese.

The usual suspects were at half back – Hugo Crush and Scott Fraser, as mentioned previously Boyd and Blair were at centre. Adriu Muritoki continued at full back, with wingers Dan Corr and Magnus Henry. 

The bench was Jonny Milton, Ollie Smith, Svend Pedersen,  Ross Gibson & Andrew Kellock.

The weather was good, it was unusually still for Canal Park, and dry underfoot. 

I’ll not bore you with my description of the game. 

You’ll be better off clicking on the YouTube image to get highlights of the game, but if you have time to spare you can also watch the full game here.

Highland 35 (17)
Dan Corr, Hugo Crush, Adriu Muritoki, Grant Jamieson, Calum MacPherson
Scott Fraser (2) 

Scott Fraser (2)

15. Adriu Muritoki, 14. Dan Corr, 13. James Blair, 12. Callum Boyd, 11. Magnus Henry, 10. Scott Fraser, 9. Hugo Crush
1. Stephen Murray, 2. Kev Brown, 3. Patrick Ratumaisese, 4. Grant Jamieson, 5. Rory Mighton, 16. Calum MacPherson, 7. Gordon Gregor, 8 Callum Carson

23. Jonny Milton, 17. Ollie Smith, 18. Svend Pedersen, 19. Ross Gibson, 20. Andrew Kellock

Gala 27 (17)
Douglas Weir, Aaron McLaren
Russell Kerr (1)
Russell Kerr (5)

Raptors close in on playoff place
Highland 2XV 57-17 Ellon Rugby

The Raptors really had this game won by half time, managing to stand up to the bigger Ellon side in the scrums, and competing effectively in the line outs. This will have pleased the coaching team who said the team were physically out matched in the game in Ellon at the end of January. 

The front row did well to stay in the battle in the scrums. There was some great news in the second row which saw the return to the field of Owen McDonald after a lengthy lay off with a serious knee injury. His partner in the 2nd row was young Roddy Thomson who showed some fantastic athleticism around the park, an appetite for the defensive work, and also  some fantastic offloading skills.  

It was in the backs where the Highland team has the edge – with decent handling and pace making the most of the try scoring opportunities that came their way in the first half, including a couple of cracking team tries. Having said that, there were still a few left out on the park – a little more awareness could have made the score even more emphatic.

The pace off the game slowed in the 2nd half, to the relief of the Ellon team. There seemed to be some curates egg decisions from the referee that perplexed the Highland side and broke up the flow of the game which helped Ellon more than Highland. 

The last playoff slot is not yet secured, Ellon could potentially still snatch the last slot.  The Raptors still have two games themselves – both against bottom side Aberdeen Wanderers. So their fate is still in their own hands.

There are a remarkable number of games still to be played in the north conference, so the playoffs will run late into the spring.


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