Aberdeen Grammar will be relieved to get back to the home comforts of Rubislaw on Saturday after two difficult weekends on the road in the Premiership.
Grammar have shipped a total of 11 tries, starting at Glasgow Hawks last week, where they lost 28-8, and followed by a more damaging 48-12 scoreline at Marr on Saturday, when they conceded eight tries.
Head coach Ali O’Connor admitted the first half against Marr had been a defensive nightmare, but looked to the positives of a vastly improved second period, during which they only leaked two tries while scoring on of their own.
O’Connor said: “I thought Marr were on fire in the first half, so congratulations to them, but we’re disappointed in our defending. We came back strongly in the second half, even dominating certain areas, and managed to get our new set-up working, which is something we have not been able to achieve in other games, including our warm-up ones.
“The back division came together well and, although it looks like a bit of a hiding, there were positives to build on from the second half performance. I am confident we will be able to put it together sooner rather than later.
“The game at home to Jed-Forest represent a great opportunity, especially as they have also lost their two opening games.”
Marr were on top right from the off, scoring the first of their eight tries in two minutes and were 17 points to the good in 20 minutes, including three tries.
Grammar managed an attack of their own which led to an unconverted try attributed to Craig Shepherd to reduce the deficit, but Marr finished the half strongly. Winger Scott Bickerstaff scored the first two tries of his hat trick, giving the Ayrshire side an unassailable 38-5 lead at the break.
The second half was a completely different story. Grammar rallied, winning the praise of home coach Craig Redpath, who said: “Grammar could have folded, but instead stuck in and gave us a game in the second half.”
But, despite their vastly improved performance, the Rubislaw side could only muster one try, touched down by flanker Ben Inglis and converted by centre Tom Aplin, while Marr boosted their tally with two unconverted efforts.
Meanwhile, Gordonians continue to struggle in National League 2, going down 40-26 at Falkirk, and – while their defending was poor – the Countesswells side looked enterprising when they had ball in hand.
In Caley Division I, Orkney underlined their title credentials with a 29-5 try bonus win at Kirkwall to the delight of president and coach Garry Coltherd.
He said: “This was a fantastic result against a very competitive Dunfermline side who has no answer to our three-try burst in the second half.”
The home side’s touchdowns came from captain Scott Rendall, Chris Guthrie, Niall Campbell and Scott Russell. The win takes the islanders to the top of the division.
Elsewhere, Ellon were involved in a high-scoring affair at Blairgowrie, where they just scraped through, holding off the late challenge of the home side to win 35-33.
The Caithness versus Aberdeen Wanderers game was called off due to Covid.
In Caley 2 North, Moray made it three wins from three start, easing past Ross Sutherland 20 – 15 at Invergordon, while 2nd Aberdeen Grammar were shocked at home by Banff, losing out 12-10. Elsewhere, 2nd Highland won a thrilling game against Aberdeenshire, running out 33-19 winners at Canal Park.