Rugby round-up: Aberdeen Grammar want to reach National League 1 potential in new year

Aberdeen Grammar in action.
Aberdeen Grammar in action.

Aberdeen Grammar will head into the last two games before the festive break in the best of health after their convincing 47-28 win at Rubislaw last weekend against second-placed Musselburgh.

And club captain and winger Doug Russell wants them to realise their potential in the new year.

Russell, 28, says tomorrow’s game at Kirkcaldy is one the Aberdeen club have targeted.

He said: “There are a number of good things happening at the club, not least the spirit in the squad, who are now starting to believe in themselves, backed by a great management set-up brilliantly led by president Jim Rae.

“We owe them, and will be doing our best to get a high finish in National League 1.

“Beating Kirkcaldy on Saturday, followed by a home win against Kelso, would set us up nicely, but generally it is one game at a time, although maximum points in these games is the target.”

Full-back Bryn Perrott, one of the heroes of last week’s seven-try win, will miss the game due to exams –although he was on the doubtful list after picking up facial injuries against Musselburgh.

There are a number of players who could readily step into the breach, given the array of talent available to head coach Ali O’Connor, including centres Tom Aplin and Sean Mills.

Beveridge Park is never the easiest place to win, but having beaten the Fifers 42-12 earlier in the season, a double beckons for Grammar, who have not lost since crashing 37-24 to bottom side Cartha Queens Park.

Russell insisted that defeat was not one to dwell on and said: “It’s well out of our system, but served as a wake-up call.”

Gordonians enjoy the comfort of a home game at Countesswells where they entertain fourth-placed Carrick, who will be keen to be the first team to beat the Aberdeen side.

Head coach Ryan Morrice is well aware of the threat the Ayrshire side bring and said: “We only drew down there in the corresponding game, but missed too many conversions in the exciting 27-27 draw.

“They will want to improve on that performance, but then so will we. Captain and hooker Tom Williams is back after an extended break due to work commitments. He makes a big difference, although Chris Simpson has been a very capable deputy.

“Winning our two games before the Christmas break would leave us in a good place for 2019.”

In Caley Division 1, Ellon will be bolstered by last week’s last-gasp win at Grangemouth, not that head coach Craig Parslow was getting too carried away about playing Hillfoots at the Meadows.

He said: “They are a big physical side who play agressive, hard rugby, but we beat them at Tillicoultry, so with a positive performance I would be looking for a repeat.”

Aberdeen Wanderers face a tough test in Alloa with points a must for both relegation-threatened sides.

In Caley 2 North, Garioch will be bidding to build on their good win in the promotion game away to Mackie FP’s last week when they travel to Aberdeen, where they meet North Police Scotland, while Mackie will be attempting to get their push to go up back on track at home to Banff.

Aberdeenshire travel to Stornoway in Caley 3 North.

In an all-students clash, Aberdeen University meet the Medics at Kings College.

But the Caley game of the day may be in Caley 4 North, where first plays second in a Buchan clash which brings together Peterhead and Fraserburgh at Catto Park.