Mackie FP: Good win and up to third
Mackie Academy FP climbed to third place in the Tennent's Caledonia North 2 table with a good victory over Moray at a very blustery Redcloak.
Moray were the only team to inflict two league defeats on Mackie last season, so the boys knew they needed to be at their best last Saturday.
It soon became apparent that the heavy Moray pack would put the Mackie eight under a great deal of pressure. However within five minutes Mackie were in front when Kyle Mair went over in the corner for an unconverted try.
This gave Mackie the confidence they needed and after a good carry from Ian Macey, centre Zander Begg burst through to score under the posts, giving Ross Gray an easy conversion for 12-0.
On 20 minutes an excellent handling movement was finished off by Lyle Venters. Ross Gray again added the extras.
At this point the game became somewhat scrappy, with the referee awarding a number of penalties, the majority against the home side, mainly for offside.
Nevertheless Mackie’s domination continued when Zander Begg’s superb break and score gave Mackie their fourth try and a bonus point. The conversion made the score an impressive 26-0.
Mackie then seemed to take their foot off the pedal and lack of concentration and missed tackles led to two Moray tries just before the break, making the half-time score Mackie 26 Moray 10.
The half-time team talk from coach James Sadio had the desired effect and soon after a terrific break and off-load by Chris Ballantine gave Kyle Mair his second try, which was converted.
There followed a frustrating spell where good play and slick handling was negated by dropped passes and poor decision making.
Thankfully, normal service was restored when Lyle Venters became the third player to bag a brace, making the final score 38-10 to the hosts.
Although all the tries came from backs, the forwards deserve great credit for sticking to their task and providing the ball required for a convincing win.
All the squad played their part and the fact that Moray failed to add to their total in the second half is testament to the part played by those who came off the bench.
Mackie: John Cullion, Finlay Stewart, Gareth Walker, Dean Gerrard, Matt Foster, Ian Macey, Chris Ballantyne, Iwan Kelly, Scott Simpson, Ross Gray (capt), Kieran Ferguson, Zander Begg, Mikey Mair, Lyle Venters, Kyle Mair. Replacements: Andy McBeath, Stuart Byers, Andy Jones, Dave Garden, Rich Leadbetter, Ally Pittendreigh.
Next up for Mackie is another long trip north, to Invergordon to play Ross Sutherland this Saturday (kick-off 3pm).