Gordonians’ new head coach James Greenwood was under no illusions about the enormity of the task facing him and his young team after Saturday’s 76-3 defeat against GHK in Glasgow.
He said: “This was a real baptism of fire.
“We were dominated from start to finish but we will learn from this experience.
“GHK are a good team. It is going to be long, hard season, especially for those youngsters who have only played school rugby.
“But there was enough there to convince me that we have the makings of a good team who will develop as the season unfolds.”
The last time the two sides met was the Saturday before the season was suspended due to Covid-19 in March 2020 when the Countesswells created a shock by winning 20-11 in Glasgow.
A surprise was never on the cards in this contest as the superbly drilled home pack took the game to Gordonians, running into a 31-3 half time lead.
The visitors’ score came halfway through the first 40 minutes when stand-off Alex Fraser slotted a penalty.
The second half was a repeat of the first, as GHK added a further 45 points without reply, although there were signs of Gordonians coming to terms with the pace of the game as the half progressed.
There was, however, no hiding place for a well-beaten visiting side but who never shirked a tackle, giving Greenwood something to build on in the run up to Saturday’s home game with Dumfries Saints.
“There will be no easy games but with home advantage we can perhaps produce a much better performance,” said Greenwood.
Caithness and Orkney hit the right note
The Caledonian Leagues also got under way with good wins for Caithness and Orkney in Caley Division 1 while Aberdeen Wanderers’ game at Grangemouth was called due to Covid-related issues at the host club.
Ewan Boyd, the Caithness head coach, was delighted with his team’s try bonus 43-3 win at home to Hillfoots.
He said: “This is just the start we wanted. After nearly 18 months without a game it was an amazingly good game of rugby with a bit of spice in front of a very appreciative Millbank crowd.”
Orkney launched their campaign on the road with a hard fought 24-12 win on the road at Blairgowrie where they also picked up a try bonus point to the delight of president and coach Garry Coltherd.
He said: “Our scrum and lineout performed well. We weren’t the polished article but after such a long break that was to be expected. A win on the road is always acceptable.”
The Orkney tries were attributed to Liam Moor, his first for the club, Scott Russell (2),and Graham Poke.
Moray edge Mackie in Caley 2 North
In the much anticipated clash in Caley 2 North between Moray and Mackie FP’s in Elgin, the home came through 20-14 in tough but entertaining encounter.
Cameron Hughes, Moray’s new head coach, was pleased to have got off to a winning start and said: “We played well but left a few tries out there.”
Mackie president Neil Foster said: “We were disappointed but were up against a well drilled Moray team. I like to think we will both be in contention for the title at the end of the season.”
The Moray tries were scored by Archie Duncan, Rory Miller and Connor McWilliam, while Mikey Muir and Dave Smith touched down for Mackie.