Shetland 0, Garioch 97
Shetland hosted the Garioch of Inverurie rugby team at Clickimin on Saturday afternoon. The weather was good, although a strong breeze would prove to make it difficult for Shetland in the first half.
The Shetland team had a different look about it, with the backs very inexperienced except for the inclusion of veteran Aussie Shane Patterson and centre Maurice Williamson who had the job of organising the defence. They were up against a physically imposing and well-organised Garioch backline, who had, since last playing in the same league two years ago, obviously been doing some recruiting.
Shetland kicked off and Garioch immediately went on the attack and scored within the first three minutes. This was to be the story of the half, with Garioch scoring almost at will, running good lines and breaking some ineffective tackles.
Shetland did manage to scrummage better than the previous two matches and the line-out was as usual effective, but Garioch had little need to use the wind, choosing to run the ball constantly, which proved to be a good tactic. To add insult to injury, the Garioch goal kicker was having a good day with the boot and by half-time the score was 49-0 to Garioch.
The second half began better for Shetland and there were some good phases put together early on, but several unforced errors handed possession back to Garioch, who were comfortable running the ball from anywhere on the park. The scoring from Garioch was still regular, with Shetland never really threatening.
The introduction of another veteran, Derek Ross, settled the backs somewhat, with Ross even putting in a couple of big hits early on to announce his arrival. Unfortunately even he couldn’t stem the tide and when Patterson had to leave the field halfway through Shetland were left vulnerable.
When time was finally called by referee Chris Hamer the score was 97-0, the worst defeat for Shetland in the league. There were few positives, although Maurice Williamson worked hard on attack and defence and there were some very good tackles made by individuals, although there were too many missed first-up tackles. The forwards were more competitive at the set pieces than previously, but more work is required.
The one aspect of the game that continually shows with the team is the enthusiasm of all the players to keep trying until the final whistle, no matter the score. With that in mind and a strong squad available to play away at Huntly tomorrow, the motivation for the first win of the season is strong.
Following on from tomorrow’s match, Shetland has two home games on the trot, to fellow strugglers Peterhead on 3rd October and West Dyce on 10th October. Players wanting to be considered for the matches will be expected at training at Clickimin, 6pm for 6.30pm on Tuesday and Thursday nights.