Match report by Ian Gray –
For the second week in a row, Mackie had to be content with a losing bonus point in this, their last league game of the season.
Moray grasped the initiative right from the word go, and almost scored straight from the kick-off, when only an alleged knock-on saved the hosts from an embarrassing start.
A Moray try wasn’t long delayed however, when after eight minutes a fearsome drive led to a seven point lead for the team from Elgin.
Unfortunately Mackie didn’t learn the lesson when on 15 minutes a burst from a Moray forward left the Mackie defence in his wake and Moray were 14 points ahead.
Just when things couldn’t get any worse for the home team – they did! With 20 minutes played, an alleged punch was thrown by Mackie winger Andy MacArthur. The referee decreed the offence serious enough for it to be punished by a sending off and Mackie would have to play for an hour with 14 men.
Next, an injury forced Mackie’s left winger Kyle Duncan to leave the field to be replaced by Jamie Lawrence.
Mackie’s luck seemed to have taken a turn for the better when they were awarded a penalty, but Mikey Kelly’s kick went wide and Mackie were still pointless.
If the earlier red card was deserved, the next decision by the referee was decidedly harsh, when a Moray player slipped as he was being tackled by Chris Ballentyne, and the decision was a yellow card for the Mackie flanker.
The home team, 14 points down, now had to play the next 10 minutes with only 13 men.
When the going gets tough, the tough get going – and that’s exactly what the red-shirted boys from Stonehaven did for the rest of the game.
First of all they held firm for the next period and, when Chris had served his time, they pressed hard and Ian Macey touched down for Mackie’s first try of the day.
The conversion from Mikey Kelly looked to have missed, but the referee disagreed and the scoreboard read:
MACKIE 7 – 14 MORAY
The first half came to an end with Mackie’s 14 men on the offensive, and but for some basic handling errors, could have, indeed should have, added to their total.
Mackie started the second half as they had finished the first, and good hands gave Ross Hartley a chance to put his opposite number under pressure, with Robbie Crighton on hand to finish it off, and score his usual try.
This time the try went unconverted and the score was
MACKIE 12 – 14 MORAY
Not surprisingly, the Elgin team had a spell of pressure with the heroic Mackie XIV holding out, and even managing forays of their own into Moray territory.
In one of these, an aggressive burst from Mikey Kelly was rewarded by a try under the posts and the home side were ahead !!
MACKIE 19 – 14 MORAY
There were five minutes left for a tiring Mackie to hold out. Again they defended like demons. Wave after wave of Moray pressure followed.
In the last two Mackie games, the boys in red had scored a try in the last play of the game. Almost inevitably, It was the away team who had the last laugh this time, managing a try, close enough to gain the extras.
The immediate blowing of the final whistle somehow made the final score even worse for the Mackie team and support to swallow.
MACKIE 19 – 21 MORAY
The season ended disappointingly, but the full squad can hold their heads up high, putting in a sterling performance against all the odds.
Of the 14 league games played, six were won and eight lost. The league this year was a lot more competitive than in previous years, with Mackie defeating league leaders Highland 2nd’s, and many other close games throughout the season. You only need look at Saturday’s scores for evidence of this.
MACKIE SQUAD :- Gareth Walker, Finlay Stewart, James Sadio, Matt Foster, Fergus Inglis, Ian Macey, Chris Ballentyne, Iwan Kelly, Mikey Mair, Ross Gray, Kyle Duncan, Mikey Kelly, Stuart Hamilton, Andy MacArthur, Robbie Crighton, Cameron Hunter, Rich Leadbetter, Fraser McAuley, Greg Hartley, Steven Somerville, Daniel Radbone, Ross Hartley, Jamie Lawrence
CALEDONIAN NORTH LEAGUE 2 – RESULTS FOR SATURDAY 7th MARCH
ABERDEENSHIRE 29 – 26 ROSS SUTHERLAND
MACKIE 19 – 21 MORAY
NORTH POLICE 31 – 29 GRAMMAR 2nds
Finally, I would like to express my thanks to all the Mackie players who have given their all throughout the season. Thanks very much for all the effort, entertainment and enjoyment. You have all given me highs and lows, euphoria and disappointment in equal measure.
I have looked forward to the game every week and have enjoyed putting together the reports every week, even though I sometimes have disagreed with the referee, both throughout the game and with the scores at the end. ( My arithmetic is quite good – honestly!)