Arbroath RFC 10, Aberdeenshire 45
ARBROATH Rugby Football Club were back in action for the first time this season against Aberdeenshire RFC in a pre-season friendly at the High School pitch on Saturday.
And as anticipated this was always going to be a good test for the younger players new to the team.
New vice-captain, but captain for the game was Danny Williams who from the start took control of his team like a natural, which continued through till the end. Arbroath kicked the ball into life, a high hanging perfect start as the forwards chased up the park, the ball was taken by the Shire number 12, who looked more like a prop forward than a centre and headed straight for the Arbroath advancing pack, which to their credit brought him to his knees, with three forwards hanging off him.
This man mountain was going to be the play maker for the entire Shire attack throughout the 80 minutes and after 10 minutes of sustained pressure Aberdeenshire broke through the thick gold and green defensive line of Arbroath to score a well worked try and conversion followed. The second try for the Shire team came from great forward rucking then fast hands to miss out the centre pair straight to the incoming full back at pace diving over under the posts.
Williams gathered his troops and got their heads up. More aggression was needed, but also needed to slow the pace of the game down. This worked a treat and deliberate play was the key against a well drilled strong team. From great phase play securing the ball Hendry passed the ball out to Oliver who rampaged forward men hanging off his back but still managing to off load in the tackle to Joe who darted through for the First Arbroath try. Aberdeenshire came back at Arbroath all guns blazing, and scored two more quick tries to put them firmly in the driving seat at half time.
Half-time: Aberdeenshire 24, Arbroath 5.
From the restart Aberdeenshire were intent on moving the ball around and effectively giving Arbroath the run around. Cover tackles were coming in all over the pitch from Arbroath and number 15 Lilley was in the thick of it and ended up taking a black eye for his troubles! All substitutes were used by Arbroath which gave all players experience against a well-oiled and professional team – all players present from Aberdeenshire were vying for places in their first team.
Undaunted, Arbroath came back against all odds with real guts and determination. The forwards of Arbroath took the ball in time after time drawing in more and more Shire players. This gave spaces for the centres to exploit and once again on a great angle Joe came in at pace to sprint 30 metres through players and on to a try. More tries came from the Aberdeenshire pack that finished the stronger however the Arbroath team can be more than satisfied with their performance.
Team: Captain D. Williams, N. Olliver, G. Irving, B. Smith, D. Crowe, P. McIntosh, J. Bedwell, A. McIntyre, O. Olliver, M. Hendry, L. Stanbridge, M. Starkey, I. Cooper, Joe, A. Lilley, J. Adair, B. Irving, S. Cook and K. Taylor.