Written by Jack Nixon. Photograph by Gareth Falls
Orkney bounced back to form at the weekend in Caley Division I with a comprehensive 47 - 7 win away to Glenrothes, while in Caley 2 North and Caley 3 North, Aberdeenshire and 2nd Gordonians made near certain of winning promotion.
The islanders easy seven try win took the pressure off head coach Garry Coltherd who said:”It was vital we bounce back immediately after last week’s disappointing 11 - 7 defeat away to Dunfermline. Glenrothes made us work hard in the first have, restricting us to two tries but our superior fitness saw us through in the second period. It was an impressive win, setting us up for our remaining games, including key games at home to Ellon and an away one at Aberdeen Wanderers. It’s certainly not yet over, but with two games in hand on Dunfermline, and only two points behind them, we are in the driving seat.”
In Caley 2 North, the title race swung dramatically the way of Aberdeenshire who won a try fest of a game in Invergordon where they eased into pole position after a 41 - 29 win against a gallant Ross Sutherland. Two tries from Andrew Cook helping the Woodside team to put one hand on the league trophy going into the last two games.
In the event it was Moray’s shock 32 - 0 defeat by 2nd Aberdeen Grammar at Rubislaw which almost certainly means Shire will be promoted to the top Caley league.
As it stands Shire are six points clear of their Moray opponents, needing only one win from their remaining two fixtures.
It is, however, hard not to feel sorry for Moray who in the space of a week have had games against Highland and Aberdeen Grammar who not surprisingly, and without breaking any rules, took the opportunity to field experienced players in their second teams. The fact that on Saturday Scott Renfrew and Patrick Mullholland chose to turn in great performances which could earn them places in Grammar’s first team against Premiership leaders Currie did not help the Moray cause.
Shire will in fact be worthy league winners, coached by Charlie Catto who despite losing the first two games of the season, rallied his troops, turning Woodside into a graveyard for visiting side’s hopes.
Cameron Hughes, the Moray head coach who has taken his Elgin charges to within touching distance of promotion was philosophical about the situation and said:”We gave it our best shot and have thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. It’s not actually over but it is hard to see Shire losing both their last two games.”
Ironically 2nd Highland could still end up top of the league but under championship rules cannot be promoted.
In Caley 3 North, 2nd Gordonians took another step towards the title after beating Garioch 55 - 5 at Kellands Park, while in the only other game played in the north Caley area, 2nd Caithness forced their way into the title race after beating Inverness Craig Dunain 22 - 14 in the Highland capital.