A better week all round!
Unfortunately the Raptors game away to Ellon Rugby was postponed for the 2nd time, and we’re not out of September yet. The tie has been rescheduled for the 2nd December. This was the only blip on an otherwise very successful weekend of senior men’s and women’s rugby.
You can watch a summary of the 1st XV mens game by clicking on HIGHLIGHTS .
If you have plenty of time you can watch a re-run of the game by clicking on FULL MATCH.
1st XV Highland RFC 50-21 GHK RFC
The 1st XV enjoyed a day in the sun, and the fantastic rugby conditions that went with it in theirNational League Div 1 tie against GHK RFC.
Highland came out of the blocks quickly, possibly a sign of a revised warm up.
GHK returned the kick off to give Highland a line out just by the half way line. Highland made good ground up the middle of the park. Things seemed to break down after GHK cleared downfield when Highland knocked on at a tackle. However, Andy Kellock spectacularly managed to keep the ball in play, and direct it towards Adriu Muritoki. Setting the tone for the day the Highland full back decided to go for a run, bursting a few tackles on his way towards the GHK 22. He passed back outside to Kellock who ran in for the opening try from 30m out. Scott Fraser added the extras. Highland 7-0 GHK
Shortly afterwards,Highland were back in the GHK 22, looking to attack off a line out. Stuart Watson made a dent as he peeled round, and the ref pinged GHK for a high tackle,. Highland playing under advantage moved the ball right, before coming back towards midfield. GHK got pinged for another high tackle in front of the posts. Highland played on with a new advantage. Hugo Crush passed left behind Scott Fraser to centre Jack Sutherland who looped the ball out to Magnus Henry who sprinted in from 20m out. Scott Fraser’s conversion drifted just wide of the right hand post. Highland 12-0 GHK
GHK immediately found a foothold in the Highland half, with a line out mid way between the try line and the 22. The hookers overthrow worked in the visitors favour as they attacked towards the Sports Centre. Highland infringed in front of the posts. GHK took a quick tap, working their way out towards the left, with a series of pick and goes. It eventually paid dividends for GHK first try, the conversion was good. Highland 12-7 GHK.fWith 21mins on the clock Highland had a try disallowed after a searing break from Adriu Muritoki, coming in towards goal from the right wing, before offloading to Stuart Butler who crashed over the line, but was deemed to be held up by the referee.
Only 8 minutes later Highland worked heir way upfield from a line out on their own 10m line. Unfortunately Evan Milton spilled the ball. GHK looked to take advantage and immediately moved the ball across the pitch. They barely made ground before the ref called advantage over. At which point the left winger thought to could run over Adriu Muritoki which would have taken him int the back field. Adriu had other ideas and stripped the ball from the winger, spun round and outpaced the chasing defenders to the try line. The Conversion was missed. Highland 17-7 GHK.
A couple of minutes later it was GHK turn to be denied a try, on this occasion for a double movement when trying to score.
With 37 mins on the clock, from a Highland line out, on their own 10m line, Rory Mighton made an impressive 25m run into GHK territory. Once again Highland recycled quickly moving the ball left to Jack Sutherland who made ground up to the 22. The energetic Hugo Crush moved the ball back right, and 2 passes later Rory Mighton makes another bust. Crush moved he ball back left to Adriu Muritoki who was shouting for the ball having spotted the narrow GHK defence. He shipped the ball to Callum Carson who fired a pass out to Jack Sutherland to canter in from the 22 with Magnus Henry & Junior Waqanibau not needed in reserve on the outside. Scott Fraser slotted the conversion. Highland 24-7 GHK
This was to be the half time score.
It didn’t take Highland long to get onto the scoresheet in the 2nd half. But we definitely had a bit of good fortune on this one. After Rory Mighton had made another blocking run the balsas recycled and a few phases later we were back towards the left wing. The ref pinged GHK at the ruck and Highland were overloaded with 4 players on the blind side of the ruck, Callum Carson changed his arm by putting in a wee grubber. The ball bounced off several sets of legs before breaking towards the GHK line and Magnus Henry was quickest track to gather the ball and run in from 30m. Scott Fraser landed another excellent conversion, Highland 31 -7 GHK.
The next try came from a Highland scrum on GHK’s 10m line under the shadow of the clubhouse. It really was straight forward hands that led to that man Muritoki, again pointing to where he wanted he ball, skinning the winger and side stepping the next defender. He was taken down just short of the line but managed to offload the ball backwards. Andy Kellock was moving at pace and too close to the situation to gather the ball. But the supporting Hugo Crush just the 2m behind gathered the ball and dived over to score. No conversion on this occasion. Highland 36-7 GHK.
Possibly down to thinking the game was over with about 20mins left on the clock it seemed that Highland relaxed a bit, letting GHK back into the game. This period certainly coincided with a period where the lads got on the wrong side of the referee. We brought pressure on ourselves in our own 22. This ultimately led to Stuart Butler receiving the team yellow that the referee had warned was coming.
With about 10 mins remaining GHK applied pressure again through a series of pick and goes – with their backs being spectators. The forwards will have been relieved t finally get the ball over the line after about 5 mins. The conversion was good. Highland 36-14 GHK.
GHK had their tails up, and whilst the game was probably out of their reach, a try bonus wasn’t. They came strong again in what was becoming a forward battle. At a ruck GHK, finally, moved the ball to their 10, Charlie Grieves, who spotted the two forwards in from of him. He darted between them to go in under the sticks. The conversion was a formality. Highland 36-21 GHK.
This stung Highland and woke them up again.
With about 6 minutes left on the clock Highland had advanced up the pitch and were applying their own pressure by the posts at the sports centre end. However, a knock on seemed to have lifted the siege. GHK had the put in to the scrum, but the Highland set piece which had been dominant all day, drove GHK backwards. They couldn’t control the ball in retreat, and it broke out of the back of the scrum and over the try line. Hugo Crush reacts faster than his opposite number to score to the right of the posts. Scott Fraser slotted the easy conversion. Highland 43-21 GHK.
Highland were not going to back off again and went on the attack. From a line out on the right, the ball was moved left. When it got to midfield debutante Michael Gray made a kick pass to the left wing. The ball was recovered by Ruaridh MacDonald and the ball was recycled. Hugo Crush fed to Stuart Butler. Butler passed to Rory Mighton who was still looking for work, and being effective when he found it. Rory made a 15m break before offloading to his 2nd row partner Sean Blair. Sean showed some nifty footwork to beat a couple of defenders before finding Hugo Crush who only had a short dash to the try line for his third score of the day. Scott Frasers conversion was the last act of the game.
FULL TIME: Highland RFC 50-21 GHK RFC.
Man of The Match: Rory Mighton.
Highland Women 37-10 Caithness Krackens
Highland Women’s 1st XV continue making history. Saturdays Caledonia North League Division 2 (Womens) tie against Caithness Krackens was the Highland team’s first official league game played at home on Canal Park.
I was taking photographs for this game, and as such can’t really comment too much on the game itself.
This game wasn’t as one sided as the score might suggest. The were 7 tries to 2 in the home sides favour, with a single conversion making up Highlands total.
The Krackens seemed to have dominance in the scrum but this didn’t stop the Highland Women from being able to launch attacks off the set piece on a few occasions. Largely down to good skills at the back of the retreating scrum and an alert Amy Brown who lied to get the ball away from trouble as quickly as she could.
Both teams wanted to contest the breakdown, and put themselves about in the tackle.
The difference seemed to come when Highland made the line breaks, with several long distance tries scored. Most notably by Player of the Game, Morgan Redpath, who was mighty impressive in her first game of rugby.
Other long distance scores were the usual suspects, Holly Duncan, and Susanna Reid. I aim to get more detail an fill in the blanks. I’ll update with further details as soon as I can.
Stornoway 35-36 Highland RFC 3rd XV
Once again there is little detail on this matches this time. However, Stornoway RFC reported that the Sea Eagles (3rd XV) were 18 points down with 15 minutes remaining in the game.
Highland scored a try in the last minute to leave them 1 point behind, with the successful conversion last kick of the game being the heartbreaker for Stornoway.