Match report by Ian Gray –
ON the drive up to Banff, the gale force wind was buffeting the car and the rain was beginning to lash down. Could a meaningful game of rugby be played in such conditions? Should a game of rugby be played in such conditions, even if the ground is considered playable?
Thankfully, up at Duff House, at least it was dry, although the wind was going to play an important part, blowing as it did towards the Banff clubhouse.
Mackie’s last tussle with Banff took place on the 9th November at Redcloak, with the home side scraping home by 24 – 21. This was Mackie’s last home game and Saturday’s game up at Banff was the Stoney boys 6th away game in a row.
Banff started with the elements in their favour and didn’t take long to take advantage with two tries and a 12 – 0 lead. They seemed able to out-muscle their visitors and things seemed ominous for Mackie.
Mackie managed to steady the ship for the next 25 minutes, denying their hosts another score and managing to get their names on the scoreboard, when Chris Ballentyne crashed over for a try which Ross Gray managed to convert.
BANFF 12 – 7 MACKIE
With half-time fast approaching, this would be an encouraging score for Mackie to take into the break considering the wind advantage to come. Unfortunately, Banff had other ideas, and Mackie let themselves down through falling off tackles, allowing Banff to score another try under the posts, bringing the score at the break up to:
BANFF 19 – 7 MACKIE
The second half started in a disastrous, if bizarre, fashion for Mackie. The Banff kick off was clearly knocked on by a chasing blue shirted forward. Banff gathered the resulting loose ball and dived over the whitewash. The referee saw nothing wrong with the ‘score’ which remained unconverted and the scoreboard read:
BANFF 24 – 7 MACKIE
Mackie now had a mountain to climb and, for a long time, seemed to be second best in many of the exchanges, despite now playing with the elements.
With about 15 minutes to go, Mackie emerged from their stupor and started to hunt in packs, rather than individually, and good hands from the backs gave Simon Morgan the chance to score Mackie’s second try of the day. Ross Gray’s conversion made the score:
BANFF 24 – 14 MACKIE
The visitors were now on a roll, but with time running out, they were still two scores behind.
With five minutes to go, Robbie Crighton forced his way over and Ross Gray did well to add the extras.
BANFF 24 – 21 MACKIE
The impetus was now with Mackie, but the referee was looking at his watch. Mackie had never been in front and it seemed that the Stonehaven team were to fall agonisingly short.
The best time to be in front is at the end.
Mackie had the determination aggression and energy to mount one more attack. Quick hands and a burst from Andy MacArthur brought elation to the Mackie team and support.
Ross Gray took his full allotted time to successfully convert the try and the referee blew the final whistle.
In the end, this was a hard- earned victory, a very encouraging debut for scrum-half Finlay Jacobs, and a very welcome return for man of numerous positions Ian Macey.
An away win and a try bonus point to boot. What a result for Mackie, which for a long time seemed unlikely. This made the result even sweeter and sets the team up for their final three league games, all at Redcloak.
Final score BANFF 24 – 28 MACKIE
MACKIE SQUAD :- 1. Lewis Moir 2 Gareth Walker 3. James Sadio 4. Greg Hartley 5. Finlay Stewart 6. Ian Macey 7. Chris Ballentyne 8. Iwan Kelly
9. Finlay Jacobs 10. Ross Gray (capt.) 11. Jon Wilson 12. Mikey Kelly 13. Stuart Hamilton 14. Andy MacArthur 15. Robbie Crighton 16. Simon Morgan 17. Cameron Walker
Full results for Saturday’s games in Caledonian North League 2
BANFF 24 – 28 MACKIE
GRAMMAR 2nd’s. 0 – 60 ABERDEENSHIRE
HIGHLAND 2nd’s 54 – 5 MORAY
ROSS SUTHERLAND P – P NORTH POLICE
LATEST LEAGUE POSITIONS:-
P W L D Pts
HIGHLAND 2nd’s. 11 8 3 0 42
ABERDEENSHIRE. 11 6 4 1 33
GRAMMAR 2nd’s. 11 7 4 0 32
BANFF. 12 6 6 0 31
MACKIE. 11 5 6 0 26
NORTH POLICE. 9 3 5 1 22
MORAY. 11 4 7 0 21
ROSS SUTHERLAND 8 2 6 0 11
Next game for MACKIE is next Saturday 22nd February against ROSS SUTHERLAND at REDCLOAK (12.15 K.O.)
Come along and support the boys from Stonehaven.