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MORAY 11 PORTOBELLO 17
Wed 29th Mar 2017
A disappointed Moray team left the field on Saturday having given their all but having gone down by 17 points to 11 against Portobello in their quest to win their semi-final of the BT national Bowl and get themselves a place in the final at Murrayfield.

The Edinburgh side kicked-off and showed their early intent to run the ball from anywhere on the field but it was the home team who opened the scoring after only 5 minutes. A penalty was awarded for a high tackle, 25 metres out, and wing Andrew McBean stepped up and slotted the kick for a 3-0 lead.

From the restart, a clearing kick from just outside the 22 drifted straight into touch for an attacking line. Clean ball was taken and driven to 5 metres before being spun wide. On receiving the ball and with the defence advancing, the inside-centre grubbered the ball towards the try line and was first to it to score and converted try for a 3-7 lead.

The Moray forwards, even at this stage were clearly dominating at the scrummage and in the 16th minute, play took the home side to an attacking scrum, 5 metres out. A clean take and a big push ensued but the visitors dropped the scrum and a penalty was given. A scrum was chosen and good control was required again but a ricochet delivered the ball into Portobello hands and they immediately moved the ball to their backs. A few quick phases later, the ball ended up in the hands of their flyer left-wing and he outpaced the defence to score an unconverted try for a 3-12 lead.
I
n the 25th minute, Moray again found themselves on attack in the Edinburgh sides half but a knock-on spilled ball which was quickly moved wide and the left-wing scored a second unconverted try to take a 3-17 lead.

This was a knock-back to the Elgin side who had been dominating the scrum, winning good ball and getting themselves into good positions on the field. They had spilled the ball on a couple of occasions and Portobello had made the most of these opportunities.

In the 30th minute, however, they reduced the lead. Good continuity play took them to an attacking scrum on the 22. Quick ball was moved wide and full-back Ewan Stuart came into the line, broke the first line of defence and then passed to wing Lewis Small to score out wide. McBean could not add the conversion points leaving the score at 8-17.

The home side continued to press and in the last minute of the first half, were awarded a penalty on the 22 for an infringement at the scrum. McBean stepped up and landed the kick for a half-time score of Moray 11 Portobello 17.
With all to play for, the home side started the second half brightly. With only 2 minutes on the clock, McBean narrowly missed a penalty opportunity to reduce the lead further.

Long spells of the first 15 minutes of the half were played in the visitors half but solid and organised defence kept the home team at bay. The next 15 minutes, however, saw Portobello doing the pressing and had it not been for a forward pass and a missed penalty, they would have extended their lead.

Moray rallied in the last 10 minutes and valiantly tried to get a winning score. A missed touch saw a good opportunity of an attacking line in the 22 go but they recovered the situation and in the final minute they forced an attacking line-out, 10 metres out. It was the final play, clean ball was taken and moved but the visitorís defence was up quick and forced a knock-on, ending the game and leaving Portobello victors by 17 points to 11.

It had been a hard fought and exciting encounter between two evenly match sides that could have gone any way. Moray had won plenty of ball throughout but it was Portobello who made the most of their opportunities. Although there was huge disappointment of not making the final at

Murrayfiel, the whole squad should feel really proud of themselves for their efforts all through the Bowl competition and for having won the North Bowl and making the semi-finals.

This Saturday, Moray return to BT Caledonia Division 2 North business when they welcome Garioch to Morriston. The league is still there for grabs but three wins in the last three games is required. Kick-off is early at 1pm.

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Caledonia 2 North

(2017/18 Results)
TEAM PLD PTS
Ellon 7 34
Garioch 7 29
Moray 7 25
Mackie Academy FP 7 24
RAF Lossiemouth 5 16
Ross Sutherland 7 15
Highland 2nd XV 5 14
Ab'deen Gram 2XV 7 13
Shetland 6 10
Deeside 7 9
Aberdeen Uni Medics 7 6
Stornoway 6 0

Last 1st XV Game

1st XV Season (2017/18)
Moray vs Shetland
POSTPONED
21st Oct 17 - KO: 15:00
Venue: Morriston

Next 1st XV Game

1st XV Season (2017/18)
Mackie Academy FP vs Moray
28th Oct 17 - KO: 15:00
Venue: Redcloak Pitches
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