Highland secure bonus point win
The best way to catch up is to click on the YouTube link to watch the highlights. If you need to get to sleep, have too much time on your hands, or can’t be bothered with the work you’re meant to be doing you can read the article below.
Highland were eager to take the field after the disappointment of missing out on last weeks home game against league leaders Kelso due to the weather.
There were a couple of changes before Kick Off with Gordon Gregor having to drop out after failing a late fitness test. This meant the Ratu Peni Tagivetaua came into the starting line up with Owen Wemyss taking up the slot on the bench.
It was also great to see Junior Waqanibau return to the 1st XV after his recent Army duties in place of the unavailable Seumas Ross.
Highland got onto the scoreboard as early as the 2nd minute. Stewart Melville’s Stand Off, Kyle Henderson, miss-hit a clearance kick straight into the advancing Highland defence. Junior reacted quickest running through to recover the bouncing ball to touch down. The conversion was missed. Score 5-0.
Highlands 2nd try arrived shortly afterwards when Craig Findlater fielded a clearance kick around 15m into his own half. Some how he evaded the four Stew Mel players who were right on him and he made 40m up the pitch, before offloading to Owen McDonald.
The ball continued to the right with Magnus Henry gaining more yards up the touch line before coming back in field. A couple of rucks later Highland swung the ball back to the left where Junior Waqanibau outflanked the narrow Stew Mel defence, with three other Highland players outside him, to get his 2nd score. Scott Fraser landed the conversion. Score 12-0
Highland’s third try arrived off the back of an attacking line out about 18m from the Stew Mel try line. Highland mauled the ball all the way up to the try line, where the maul splintered. Highland still had the ball at the back, Stewart’s Melville drove back two Highland charges at the line from Peni Tagivetaua and Stephen Murray, but they could do nothing to stop Grant Jamieson from scoring his first try of the day. The conversion was missed. Score 17-0.
Highlands 4th, and bonus point try, arrived 10mins into the 2nd half. Stewarts Melville who were on the attack, when a dominant tackle resulted in the Stewart’s Melville team stopping to appeal to the ref for a dangerous tackle despite the ref saying he was happy with what he saw. Hugo Crush took advantage of the lapse in concentration to pick up the ball at the ruck and took off down the field. He was treading water as he entered the Stewart’s Melville 22 , and was tackled into touch about 5m from the try line.
Stew Mel secured the line out ball and took the ball upfield towards their 22m and released the ball to the backs. There really didn’t appear to be any danger, but a loose miss pass from the stand off to the outside centre put his man under pressure. The lad tried to slap the ball on to his full back but only managed to find no mans land between the two players which allowed Andrew Kellock to snap up the ball and go in under the posts with his first touch of the ball since coming on a minute earlier. Scott Fraser converted. Score 24-0.
Stewarts Melville finally got on the score board a matter of a couple of minutes later by taking advantage of an Highland error.
Off an attacking scrum Highland moved the ball into midfield and a short pass didn’t find its mark and hit the ground between several highland players. Stew Mel No. 13, George Lee snapped the ball up and ran in from around half way. Conversion missed. Score 24-5
A few minutes later after an exchange of kicks, Highland winger Magus Henry made a burst up the middle of the park taking the ball into contact. The ball went loose when delivered from the ruck and Stew Mel were looking to attack through George Lee. He didn’t take account of prop Patrick Ratumaisese chasing him down. The ball was lost forward and then gathered by Kev Brown who surprised Grant Jamieson with the pass but it was gathered. Grant offloaded towards Ruaridh MacDonald and the ball appeared to be knocked on. The ref however ruled that the ball went backwards.
Hugo Crush spotted that the back field was undefended and kicked the ball into the Stew Mel 22, with 2nd row partners Owen MacDonald and Grant Jamieson in hot pursuit. Owen gathered the ball, but was well tackled short of the line by the covering winger. However, Grant Jamieson was on hand to pick up and dive over to get his 2nd try. Scott Fraser landed a great touchline conversion. Score 31-5.
The score were coming thick and fast as the game moved into the last 10 minutes.
Stew Mel decided to take a quick tab on their own 22 after Highland were caught offside in the middle of the park. They moved the ball to their left wing and made it up to around the 10m line when a close quarter passing move was read by Rupeni Rokoduguni who ran the ball back to score Highlands 6th try. Conversion missed. Score 36-5.
The scoring wasn’t done yet. Just 4 minutes later Highland were looking to press their advantage from a ruck around the Stew Mel 10m line. Hugo Crush fed Callum Carson, who looked to miss two to go straight to Rokoduguni on the wing. Unfortunatlly this was easily read by Stewart’s Melville winger Michael Jamieson to go all the way to dot down under the posts. The conversion was a formality for Kyle Henderson. Score 36-12.
From a scrum in midfield There were only 4 minutes left and Highland wanted the last word.
From a scrum on half way Junior Waquanibau made another trademark break, offloading to new centre partner Kyle Bruce who had come onto the field earlier. Kyle was dragged down just short of the line and the ball bobbled was secured by Highland but was knocked loose by Stew Mel’s scrum half Fraser Strachan. Stew Mel won the ball and looked to get set to clear but the pass from the ruck to Strachan, who was in the dead ball area, was dropped. 5m scrum to Highland.
This led to a series of Highland attacks, and penalties conceded by Stewart’s Melville. The last of which was a pen for offside in the shadow of the posts, 5m out. It was time for the Highland scrum, which had been dominant all day, to put the icing on the cake. When Hugo Crush put the ball in the Highland scrum pushed forward with the ball under Callum Carson’s control at the back until he could pick up to score the last try.
It may well have been Callum’s try but that was one for the whole of the pack who had put in a real shift all day.Scott Fraser got the conversion as the last act of the game.
FULL TIME: Highland 43-12 Stewart’s Melville.
Highland will be pleased with the bonus point win, especially on the day that Gala also secured a bonus point in their away win at Kelso. We maybe expected to gain ground on Gala yesterday. We haven’t, but we haven’t lost any ground either.
This game was punctuated with lots of scrums to restart the game due to handling errors. Setting the scrums, and even the line outs took an age. This definitely broke up the rhythm of the game.
This lead to frustration in both teams, along with the coaches, and the ref who was dealing with a bit of niggle in the game. Thankfully it never boiled over, and cards remained in his pocket.
There were many contenders for the man of the match,. Grant Jamieson and Junior Waquanibau both scored 2 tries. Roko and Junior putting in big hits in midfield, and tearing up the field. Magnus Henry making ground whenever he’s on the ball. Sean Blair for his carries. The tight 5 as a collective who put the hard work around the park.
However the Man of the Match award, as sponsored by The Walrus and Corkscrew Wine Bar Inverness, was won by No 4 Owen McDonald.
You can see more pictures form the game, courtesy of Owen Cochrane, by clicking on the link to our Facebook page,
Caledonia North Region League Division 2
Gordonians 2nd XV 48-35 Highland 2nd XV
There is no report on this game except to say that Coach Nathan McLaughlan said.
“This was a frustrating day for the raptors. We looked to be in control of a tight game with 20 mins to go and then it all went wrong. We shipped 4 tries in the final quarter, 8 in total.
Basically a game we should have won but threw away.”
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