Brutal defensive display at Fullarton earns 5 points
By Gregor Ness
4 tries inside 30 minutes was enough to put away a quality Aberdeen Grammar side.
Match report by Stephen Allam
Marr Maintain Momentum to Maul Aberdeen
On a cold and still day at Fullarton Marr managed to suppress an Aberdeen side that had won their last seven Tennent’s National 1 matches.
With a large home support and perfect weather for fluent rugby, Marr took to the field eager to maintain their position as league leaders.
Marr kicked off and Aberdeen gained possession. For the next seven minutes Aberdeen powered forward with good ball control from both backs and forwards. As they entered the Marr 22 metre line Marr managed to turn over the ball and Ross Miller went on the rampage gaining 50 metres deep into the Aberdeen half.
From a scrum awarded to Marr on the Aberdeen 22m Marr broke left and Liam McLoughlin came close to crossing the defending team’s line. From the resultant ruck the ball came to Marr’s big number 8 Miller, who managed to break the first tackle and power over the Aberdeen line for Marrr’s first score. Sturgeon duly converted.
Two minutes later Marr started a skilful rolling maul on Aberdeen’s 22m and managed to get within 2 metres of the line. The ball was passed out to the blindside, however the Aberdeen winger was offside and the referee deemed this serious enough to punish the Aberdeen player with a yellow card.
From the penalty scrum on the 5m mark Findlay Hazel decided to go blind side and with the Aberdeen defence focus on Marr’s Scott Bickerstaff , Hazel noticed the gap and sped through to touch down to further Marr’s lead.
The home side now full of confidence and a man advantage soon scored again. From inside Marr’s half the ball was passed out the forwards and it came to Ross Miller who made a break down the wing and used the overlap to pass to Scott Bickerstaff who turned on his well-known afterburners to leave the Aberdeen defence in his wake and to score in the corner.
Marr scored the bonus point try from a move from a line out. Colin Sturgeon made the break down the right wing. He had Scott Bickerstaff outside him but through a lovely dummy passed to his inside where he found Marr’ fullback McLoughlin at full pace and with a sufficient gap to run through and score a great try underneath the Aberdeen posts.
With the exciting first half coming to a close Aberdeen rallied and drove up the park rucking and mauling and testing the Marr defence to the full. Eventually the ball came to the Aberdeen wing forward Jollands and from a rolling maul touched down to give Aberdeen a deserved score.
Half time Marr 26 Aberdeen 7.
The second half kicked off with Marr confident in increasing their dominance in this match. However this did not happen. Aberdeen were determined to show why they have won their last seven games and that they were no push overs. For the next 25 minutes Aberdeen were camped deep into the Marr 22m. Time and again Aberdeen drove towards the Marr line and time and again Marr’s defence stood up and repelled the Aberdeen advances. This was a most impressive display of ball control by Aberdeen but equally a fine display by the home side’s defence, determined that Aberdeen would not cross their line.
Marr eventually won possession when Captain Conor Bickerstaff put in an extremely aggressive tackle on his opposite number and with his forwards driving over the ball Marr gained a vital turnover and at long last got possession of the ball back.
Craig Redpath Marr’ head coach now made a few changes with Evans coming on for Steel and Jamie Drummond coming on for Grant. Jamie, Marr’s Scotland under 18 squad player was making his debut for the 1st XV and received a big cheer as he entered the fray.
There was one more try to come [the only score in this very tight second half]. It came from one of the few times in this half when Marr threatened the Aberdeen line.
Marr’s forwards drove into the Aberdeen 22m and after several phases the ball came to William Farquhar and from a couple of metres out, drove over the Aberdeen line to make the final score Marr 33 Aberdeen Grammar 7.
Marr will we very satisfied with this performance. They scored some very good tries and their defence looked solid when called upon.
Aberdeen are a very strong side and we must give them credit for their second half performance. A performance that deserved more points, if it were not for Marr’s defensive capabilities.
Man of the match for the second week in a row was our very own captain Conor Bickerstaff.
Marr Rugby 1st XV man of the match – Conor Bickerstaff (sponsored by CCL Logistics)
Marr Rugby 1st XV scorers
Tries: Ross Miller; Findlay Hazel; Scott Bickerstaff; Liam McLoughlin and William Farquhar
Conversions: Colin Sturgeon (3) and Liam McLoughlin (1)