Huntly 36, Shetland 10
A strong-looking Shetland rugby squad of 17 players travelled away at the weekend to play Huntly RFC in what turned out to be a well contested game by both teams.
The Shetland players arrived in Aberdeen to find a player unable to travel so a quick player re-shuffle saw Shane Jamieson moved to fly half and veteran Lincoln Carroll moved to scrum half.
On arrival at the pitch the Shetland squad found the sun beating down and a good turn out of supporters for the local team. Shetland kicked off and although there was a good chase by the Shetland players the Huntly players kept the ball and just started going through the phases with their big forwards.
Shetland did well to soak up the pressure, but the home team scored after 10 minutes. The conversion was missed.
Straight from the kick off Huntly started going through the phases again and the Shetland forwards where struggling at the breakdown and at the scrums. Huntly scored again after about 20 minutes when Shetland where punished for not being aggressive enough at the breakdown and missing first up tackles. Huntly missed the conversion.
For the next 20 minutes Shetland where starting to be more competitive at the breakdown, but where still missing too many first up tackles. The whistle blew for half time with the score at 10-0 to Huntly.
Shetland started the second half in attacking form but were soon turned over and Huntly ran in another try. Huntly hit the conversion and Shetland heads could have started to go down, but they kept there heads up and tried to play good running rugby.
Huntly scored another try and a conversion, but Shetland where starting to get into their rhythm and were awarded a penalty right in front of the Huntly posts. Matthew Nicolson elected to go for the three points which was a good decision with Shane Jamieson kicking them.
With Shetland getting points on the board and there still being 25 minutes left on the clock the players received a lift and started taking the game to Huntly. Shetland collected the ball from the kick- off and worked their way up the pitch and where awarded a scrum five metres out from the try line. The ball was spilled from the scrum to Stewart Mouat who ran over and scored only for it to be ruled out by the referee for coming out the tunnel of the scrum.
Shetland did get their try when the ball was kicked through to an onrushing Maurice Williamson and Nathan Coote, but it was the latter who managed to out-pace the full back and dive on the ball. Jamieson kicked the conversion and suddenly Shetland were back in the game.
Huntly managed to score another two tries and one conversion towards the end and the final whistle blew with a final score of 36-10 to Huntly.
Shetland can be proud of their improved second-half performance and left the pitch with their heads held high. Best in the forwards were the back row of Craig Mann, Stewart Mouat and Matthew Nicolson for making some good runs and for some excellent rucking. In the backs best were Maurice Williamson who put in some big tackles, which are becoming his trademark, and Paul Grant.
Williamson was pipped to the title of Northwards man of the match by Grant who excelled in a position change from centre to full back and was brilliant under the high ball and made some good runs all day.
A spokesman said Shetland Rugby Club would like to thank NorthLink for the continued support and help with their travel.
Tomorrow sees Shetland take on Peterhead with a noon kick-off at the Clickimin which is a very important match for the Shetland boys. A good turnout of supporters is hoped for. Players wanting to be considered for future matches are asked to come to training on Tuesday and Thursday nights at 6pm for a 6.30pm start.