Strathie finish season with tight loss to division winners Orkney

Coach S. Graham handing the trophy over to the Blairgowrie Captain
Coach S. Graham handing the trophy over to the Blairgowrie Captain

Strathmore narrowly missed out on spoiling the title party as league champions Orkney RFC escaped Inchmacoble with a 15-12 victory.

The BT Caledonia League Division One champions arrived in Forfar for an early kick-off, looking for five points to put the cherry on the top of their title-winning cake.

But the men in black were eager to put a dampener on those celebrations.

With a change to the usual rugby format, Saturday’s game was played in two halves of 30 minutes to give the visitors the chance to catch their ferry home that day.

The game began with the home side on the front foot playing some of their best rugby of the season.

Following some great work from the forward pack, Tim Malkowski found himself in space out on the right flank, and his angled run cut through the Orkney defence and gave Strathmore the first points on the board for 5-0.

Orkney found their feet and managed to square the game at 5-5 just a few minutes later in bizarre circumstances; the ball ricocheted off several players following a kick and the result was the ball landing in the hands of an Islander, who scored just right of the posts - the conversion was skewed wide.

With the sun beating down, both sides looked like they were enjoying themselves almost as much as the healthy crowd that packed the touchline and balcony, beers in hand.

Strathmore regained the lead just minutes before the end of the half.

A great training ground move saw Stewart Ross and Colin Strachan play in Fraser Cameron who scored under the posts following a scrum midway inside the visitors half.

Ross converted and Strathie deservedly led 12-5 at half time.

The second half began with Orkney drawing level.

A fine move of their own saw the outside centre and fullback combine from close range to cross the line and even the score at 12-12.

The majority of the second half was spent in the Orkney half as Strathie battled hard to keep the league champions under the cosh.

Colin Strachan and Fraser McKay both made great line breaks but were both stopped near the line.

With just five minutes remaining it looked like the home team would win it, but Orkney snatched three points from a penalty kick to edge themselves ahead from a rare voyage into the Strathie half, making the score 15-12.

Strathmore were awarded a penalty at time up. three yards inside the Orkney half out near the right touchline.

Stewart Ross took the kick and the ball swung left and right before falling just wide of the right post.

With that the referee blew for full time to the cheer of the Orkney players and travelling support.

Although the draw slipped away from the Inchmacoble team, they’ll feel they created enough to win the game outright.

Strathmore finish the season in sixth place.

Giving consideration given to all the injuries and squad availability problems Strathmore have had during the long campaign, the squad and coach, although frustrated, will take positives from the season and will now build for next season.

Elsewhere, Strathmore Sharks JRFC held their annual Micro and P4/5 Tournament on Sunday on a glorious day of roaring sunshine that set the tone nicely for a glorious day of youth rugby competition.

The sun shone brightly and so did the rugby.

Teams from throughout Angus and Tayside descended on to Inchmacoble Park to play for the Strathmore Trophies.

Competition was fierce with many a try being scored by the local club and the visitors.

After an hour of play it ended up in a Strathmore vs Blairgowrie final, with Blairgowrie being the dominant force and scoring several tries within the first half.

Strathmore bounced back nearly closing the gap, but unfortunately time was not on their side, and the ref blew the whistle to a massive roar from all the supporters.

Winners for the Micros was Blairgowrie and P4/5 was also Blairgowrie.