There was a surreal and slightly awkward feeling as Phil, the Dyce Team Manager, directed us to the yellow door changing room in the Academy PE Department. Surreal, as I hadn’t stepped foot in that “splendid” educational facility for 33 years and slightly awkward as the yellow door traditionally led to the girls changing rooms - a forbidden and dangerous place in olden days, strange things happened to boys dragged in there. Anyway, ghosts of the past were soon exorcised by the need to mark territory and get on with it. After pleasant introductions and bants we quickly worked out; who was who, who was where, and who was no-where !!! As we were missing two of our kind at the agreed meet time. We then announced the “match day duties”, the logistical organisation of which much impressed St. Peter Chalmers (V.P.) who went and celebrated with a cup of tea.
Our tribe of 14 warriors made the short but chilly walk behind Asda to a sodden, but playable, pitch. Beautifully burnt in lines marked the ground on a slightly inclined pitch, slightly steeper than our own one at Woodside. The easterly wind was biting and blustery as we got down to the business of warmup, ramping and group skills preparation.
Eventually Duncan Angus arrived to make up the team saying work had held him up but was sporting a newly fully groomed façade - Hmmmmmm!... With Charlie Flett sportingly offering to go into uncontested front row for injured A. Leggat, we now had a fully dysfunctional team with the addition of Ross Dugan at 9, an ex-shire/Wanderers’ Colt/player of considerable flair. Incidentally Ross’s Auntie and I shared many biology lessons at Dyce back in the day, a fact I was pleased to relay to him after the game.
We lost the toss and had to play up hill against an unfamiliarly strong Dyce team, grade and wind. Suffice to say the 1st half was pretty much one-way traffic with our boys unfamiliar with each other, the opposition and sometimes basic principles of attack play particularly at the lineout. But we stuck at it and tackles were made time after time showing great spirit against the odds. We learned later that Dyce had drafted in 4 Wanderers’ players (Including ex-Shire man D. Coull) and an Ellon player. Whereas we had 5 guys pulling on a shire shirt for the first time, one of which hadn’t played since he was 14…. Dyce, with all the elemental, ground and player advantage scored several tries in the first half. Much of the back-attack play coming from their Ellon draftee. We struggled organisationally to generate a platform to allow our attack to get going throughout the game. Uncontested scrums probably added to our difficulties. Steven Norrie put in many crunching tackles at 13 against opposition who were massively bigger but had to move to 15 when his shoulder was starting to feel it. Andrew Webster, brother to ‘Shire Quines’ player Eilidh Webster, stepped into the 13 slot and acquitted himself well by also putting in some great tackles.
Second half was a little bit better, however we didn’t take full advantage of wind and slope, relying to try and run through players at every opportunity rather than kicking for territory. Some loose passes due to miscommunication and unfamiliarity from the base of the scrum also put pressure on an already fatigued back line. Unfortunately, at about 60 minutes S. Norrie’s shoulder finally gave out after another crunching tackle. The Dyce Physio who kindly assisted the game was called over and while assessing the injury asked him “where are you comfy?” to which he replied “oh I’m fae Turra” ….at least the laughter helped alleviate the pain for the trip to A&E. Now down to 14v15 and after another 10 minutes of similar onslaught we had had enough, and the referee stopped the game. Loss 51 - 0.
How valid is the result, open to question, if circumstances were known previously perhaps a better option would have been to play a 12v12 match with people of reasonably equal ability. Questions will certainly be asked before future fixtures. What was positive is that we have a great bunch of young and old lads who never gave up in true Aberdeenshire R.F.C. spirit, we just need to train together, improve some basic techniques and get a bit fitter. “Man of the match” was Andrew Webster who played about 4 positions during the day and did well in all of them, but Stephen Norrie was a close second for tackles and giggles. In the forwards Richard Scullion and Ross Keightley put in marked performances with Calvin Cox doing well for the first time playing in a while (we won’t talk about the attention seeking cramp too much!). Thanks to Ross Dugan for helping us out at #9.
Most of our team made their way to the Green Trees Lounge for teas and after match speeches, eloquently delivered by Captain for the day Mike Mackie, this time with-out Charlie interrupting.
See you at training!
Team: David Taylor, Mike Mackie, Charlie Flett, Ronald MacIsaac, Duncan Angus, Ross Keightley, Calvin Cox, Ross Dugan, James Andrew, Andrew McKie, Richard Scullion, Gary Moore, Khalid El Hidane, Andrew Webster
Referee: Frank Selbie
Touch Judge: Peter Chalmers
Team management: Graeme Buchan, Peter Chalmers, John Henderson
MEN'S 1XV & 2XV TRAINING
TUESDAY & THURSDAY
18:30 - 20:00
Woodside Sports Complex
TUESDAY & THURSDAY
19:30 - 21:00
Woodside Sports Complex
GIRL'S & BOY'S SESSIONS
Taking a break, returning SUNDAY 3rd of November!
All ability, experience and fitness levels welcome at 'Shire!