A strong Mackie 2nd XV travelled to Kingussie to take on Strathspey in a league encounter, the first game for 3 weeks due to the International break. There were doubts within the players that the game would actually go ahead due to the wintry conditions but with the Strathspey fixture secretary confirming that the pitch was playable at 10 a.m. the Mackie squad headed off.
This game marked Simon Morgans last game for the club as work commitments mean he has to move on, but it also marked Jason Matehe, a New Zealand born props first game for the club.
Mackie arrived in Kingussie, a very cold Kingussie, but at least the pitch was playable. Mackie started very brightly and were immediately on the attack and inside the Strathspey 22. A Strathspey knock on allowed Simon Morgan to pick and go at the back of the Scrum and dance his way through for Mackie first score of the day. The try was converted by Ross Gray. Strathspey 0 – 7 Mackie
From the kick off Mackie again went on the attack but cold hands led to some knock-on’s so for the next 5 to 10 minutes the game became scrappy. When Mackie did put phases together the 2nd try eventually came, good build up play by forwards allowed enough space for the ball to be shipped out wide for Full back Jamie McConachie to score. Ross Gray stepped up for the conversion but pulled it to the left. Strathspey 0 – 12 Mackie
Strathspey were starting to see more of the ball, and their flyhalf who looked a very handy player almost broke the Mackie defence, fortunately for Mackie his grubber kick rolled into touch giving back possession to Mackie. Mackie started to make their way back into the Strathspey half, Red balls and Blue balls working extremely well for the Mackie Pack. This constant pressure and phases allowed Simon Morgan to pick up at the back of a ruck and dance round about 5 Strathspey defenders to score his 2nd try of the day. Unfortunately Ross Gray had left his kicking boots at home and missed another conversion. Strathspey 0 – 17 Mackie
From the kick off again Mackie went on the attack but Strathspey’s defending was aggressive, and getting over the advantage line was a hard task. From a Scrum on the 22 a Silver ball was called. No 8 and Captain Newell picked up, fed inside to Levack who broke the gain line and fed Mark Coull allowing the blindside flanker a run in to the corner for an unconverted try. Strathspey 0 – 22 Mackie
Half time came and changes were made to the team.
The 2nd half started with Strathspey kicking off, the kick off being reclaimed by Matehe. The prop set off like a bull and steamed through numerous tacklers as though they were rucking bags. Eventually he was brought down near the 10 yard line and Mackie built more phases. Strathspey though were upping their game and wanted scores of their own, but some great tackling by Austin, Thurlow and Reddish prevented Strathspey from making too much ground.
Mackie again were starting to dominate, and with Dave Austin winning his own lineout ball and almost all of Strathspey’s lineout Strathspey were slowly being starved of the ball.
With Mackie dominating, centre’s Ra Atkins and Cammy Gray were now getting enough room to run good attacking lines, and from a Cammy Gray break, the ball was fed through the backs hands eventually to full back McConnachie who scored in the corner. This was a very good try, as handling, timing off the pass, and the support play showed by Mackie players were of the highest caliber. Again though the conversion was missed. Strathspey 0 -27 Mackie.
With the frost now starting to set in Mackie just had enough time in the game to score one more try. A try that again saw great passing, and support play from the Mackie backs, Atkins to Gray, onto Ferguson, back inside to McConachie and finally back inside to Atkins to score near the posts. It has to be pointed out that McConachie forfeited his right to a hatrick of tries here by passing inside to Atkins. The kicking duties were handed to Reddish to convert the final try. Strathspey 0 – 34 Mackie.
This was a good result for the Mackie 2nd XV, although strengthened by players who had played 1st XV it was a good team performance in very difficult conditions. Great performances from 2nd team regulars Austin and McConachie made the coaching team trip worthwhile and with Jason Matehe getting his first run out for the club in all it was a great day for the club.
Next week both Mackie 1st and 2nd XV’s are at home 2pm kick-offs. A big crowd to watch both games would be welcome!
Mackie Team – Moir, Kelly, Matehe, Campbell, Kindness, Newell, Austin, Coull, Morgan, Thurlow, Ferguson, Atkins, C Gray, R Gray, McConachie, Robertson, Reddish, Pittendriech, Rooney, Mckinnon, Levack