Deeside comeback falls just short

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With strong winds blowing down the field of play at Kings College last Saturday the Caledonia Bowl final was always going to be a game of two halfs.

Aberdeen University had the wind on their backs in the first half and made their chances count to lead 29-6 at the interval.

Deeside had left themselves a monumental task in the second half, but through shear resilience managed to bring themselves back into the game to make the score 29-27 with five minutes of normal time to play.

However, Uni managed to see the game out and it was heartbreak for the valiant Deeside players who missed out on lifting the BT Caledonia Regional Bowl North.

The first try came as early as the first minute of play after Uni’s full-back capitalised on a kick that failed to make touch, counter attacking down the right wing and playing in the winger to touch down.

Uni missed the conversion before the game restarted and Deeside began to find a foothold in the game.

The Banchory men won a number of penalties before Jamie Stephen opted to kick for goal from the 22 and successfully brought the score back to 5-3.

Uni came back shortly after this with a drop goal to restore their five point lead.

The Aberdeen side again looked to score down the right hand side, but winger Michael McGlugash put in a strong last ditch tackle to prevent the score.

Five minutes later, Uni had their second try as the teams stand-out full back broke down the right again, but this time opted for the inside ball to the centre rather than the winger who went in under the posts.

The full-back converted and made the score 15-3.

One minute later Deeside pushed into the Uni half and won a penalty 25 yards from goal.

With the wind and blowing in his face Jamie Stephen made the brave call to kick for goal and calmly dispatched the penalty for another three points.

With ten minutes left in the half Uni looked to establish a more commanding lead and managed to do so with two more converted try’s to make the score 29-6 at the break.

At many points during the match Deeside had looked like scoring without managing to get the elusive try, but it was around the hour mark when Deeside racked up the phases and turned the screw before lock Bob Green managed to get over the whitewash for Deeside’s first try.

Jamie Stephen made the conversion to bring the score to 29-13.

Uni had struggled with the sheer size of the Deeside pack all game, as was evident in the number of scrums won by the Woodend team, and it was their second row player Ryan Strachan who barged his way through the Uni defence for Deeside’s second try.

Another successful conversion by Jamie Stephen made the score 29-20.

Time was against a rejuvenated Deeside who continued to try and find points wherever they could.

Eventually the third try came, this time from the backs, as some great handling put substitute Jordan Welsh in for a score in the corner and a well place conversion by Jamie Stephen brought the score to within two points.

Unfortunately Deeside couldn’t quite find another breakthrough in the last five minutes as Aberdeen Uni saw the game out for the win.

With the cup competitions now over for Deeside, they will need to turn their focus back to league matters.

The Banchory men look favourite to win the title and secure back-to-back promotions but nearest challengers Garioch made a point on Saturday that they were still very much in the hunt as they demolished eight place Lochaber 102-0 at Kellands Park.

Deeside are 11 points clear of the Inverurie team, but have played one more game.

League action will resume on February 20, when Deeside travel to Lochaber and Garioch take on Kinloss Eagles.

With only five games left to play for Deeside there is every opportunity for them to confirm their promotion before the end of the month.