Match report by Ian Gray –
THIS vital Caledonia North League 2 game had to be transferred to Mackie Academy Playing Fields from a waterlogged Redcloak. It was a 2nd v 4th contest, and would go a long way to deciding who gains promotion to Caley League 1.
A nasty wind made handling difficult, something the teams should be getting used to, giving recent weather conditions.
It was the visitors who dominated the early exchanges, and Mackie’s defensive qualities were put to the test. For nearly 15 minutes the red barrier held firm, and just when it looked that Shire had broken the deadlock, they knocked on over the Mackie line.
The first score, however, was not long in coming, when Mackie lost the resultant scrum, and Aberdeenshire were 5 points to the good.
At this point, injury forced skipper Ross Gray to leave the field and, soon after, hooker F.P. Stewart also had to be replaced. These drawbacks seemed to urge the team on and soon after Stuart Harrington forced his way over to notch Mackie’s first try. Mikey Kelly added the extras and Mackie were 7 – 5 up.
Shire dominated most of the remainder of the first half, but Mackie held firm and the break came with the hosts narrowly ahead.
Shire started the second period on the front foot and 2 converted tries gave them a healthy lead.
MACKIE 7 – 19 SHIRE
Good handling from the Mackie backs led to a Jamie Lawrence try which, despite a bit of doubt, was deemed not to have been converted by Mikey Kelly. Those of us on the touch line knew that the kick had just failed to register.
With the score now 12 – 19, the game was by no means over. Injuries on both sides led to numerous substitutions, with James Sadio, Gareth Walker, Mikey Mair and substitute Stuart Byers all failing to last the game for the home side.
At one time It seemed that Mackie would run out of players. Shire pressure again led to another try, which remained unconverted, and the scoreboard read:
MACKIE 12 – 24 SHIRE
Time was running out and Mackie pushed hard for another try. For the third game in a row the boys in red manufactured a try in the final minute of the game. This time it was Robbie Crighton who was at the end of a good handling movement.
There was no doubt about Mikey Kelly’s kick this time and with the final whistle blowing the score at the end read:
MACKIE 19 – SHIRE 24
Mackie battled well against the form team of the league and at least managed to garner a losing bonus point for their efforts.
This result cements Shire’s 2nd place in the league behind 2nd Highland and confirms their promotion.
Mackie are fairly sure to finish in 4th place.Hopefully the walking wounded will be back to full fitness before next week’s final league game against Moray at Redcloak.
Mackie Squad :- 1. Gareth Walker 2. Finlay Stewart 3. James Sadio 4. Start Harrington 5. Fergus Inglis 6. Matt Foster 7. Ian Macey 8. Iwan Kelly 9. Finlay Jacobs 10 Ross Gray (capt.) 11.Mikey Mair 12. Mikey Kelly 13. Stuart Hamilton 14. Andy MacArthur 15. Robbie Crighton 16. Stuart Byers 17. Steven Somerville 19. Rich Leadbetter 20. Jamie Lawrence 21. Daniel Radbone 22. Kyle Duncan
CALEDONIAN NORTH LEAGUE 2 RESULTS – SATURDAY 29th FEBRUARY
HIGHLAND 2nd’s P – P GRAMMAR 2nd’s
ROSS SUTHERLAND 33 – 10 BANFF
MORAY 18 – 7 NORTH POLICE
MACKIE 19 – 24 ABERDEENSHIRE