Reds no match for league leader: Glenrothes 7 - Aberdeenshire 36

Glenrothes kicked off against league leaders Aberdeenshire playing uphill into a strong wind on a day that started off sunny.

But it rapidly deteriorated with rain being added to the elements during the first half and the temperature falling.

The visitors were put under pressure by Glenrothes from the starting whistle and remained so for much of the first half.

Despite this, there were few clear cut scoring chances in the first session, Aberdeenshire spurned a possible 3 points from a penalty in front of the posts, opting instead to put the ball into touch and the subsequent attack faltered. Glenrothes players Delorey and Kavanagh came close when a clearance kick was charged down near the visitors’ line but this chance to quickly evaporated and winger Mark Rennie was held up over the line.

Play was regularly interrupted by handling mistakes as the weather became colder and the ball wetter but by far the most frequent stoppages were for penalties as the streetwise Aberdeenshire team infringed time after time.

The referee appeared to warn the visitor’s captain but it was only after their eleventh misdeed that he took action and yellow carded an Aberdeenshire flanker.

Despite facing the worst of the conditions Glenrothes looked by far the better team but their inability to turn chances into points came back to haunt them just before half time.

Still playing with 14 men Aberdeenshire broke out from deep in their 22, a slick move between centre and right winger saw the latter run the length of the pitch and touch down behind the posts.

The conversion took the half time score to 0-7.

It is probably as well to draw a veil over much of the second half.

While the Glenrothes defence in the first half, with one exception was excellent, exactly the opposite was the case in the second period.

Aberdeenshire gained confidence from their score and moved the ball with much more purpose and with many fewer errors.

Glenrothes started to fall off tackles as they tired and even when tackles were made the visitors often contrived to offload the ball.

Aberdeenshire added another 5 tries to their tally, two of them converted.

The only bright point in the second half was Steven Varney’s try.

On one of their rare forays into the visitors’ territory the Glens were awarded a penalty, and Aberdeenshire a second yellow card.

The quick tap was followed by a poor pass but Varney hacked on the bouncing ball and chased his kick, touching down over the line just before an opponent.

Shaun Gray added the two points from the conversion.

Yet again Glenrothes inability to put points on the scoreboard when they are playing better than their opponents proved to be their undoing.

There must also be doubts about the fitness of some of the players as they appeared to run out of steam as the game progressed.

Glenrothes: S Gray, L Byers, S Varney, C Maxwell, M Rennie, S Hainey, M Delorey, B Johnstone, C Baxter, G Dryburgh-Cook, J Cowan, S Bell, C Kavanagh, I Bell, R Wilson, Replacements - D Butchart, R Hutchison, K Duguid.

The 2nd XV also came off second best, 17-27, against a strong Howe of Fife team including former Glens stalwart Jock MacDonald.

Next weekend the firsts travel to Tillycoultry to face Hillfoots and the seconds look for revenge against the Howe.

The colts will face Dunfermline at Carleton and the other age groups will be training.

JOHN GOODALL