Good start earns Highland victory as Orkney leaves it late in capital

Highland took full advantage of their first two National League 1 games at home, recording a second win to put them in contention for the only promotion spot on offer in the division.

For 75 minutes, head coach Davie Carson was in dreamland as his side rode to victory against a well-drilled Dundee side.

But he was less than happy with his charges, conceding two late tries to give the 35-12 scoreline a look that flattered the visitors.

Carson said: “For most of the game we were fully in charge but less convincing in the final minutes.

“But it’s a trial bonus for us and an unbeaten record to take away in our away campaign, starting with GHK in Glasgow next week.

Highland RFC Head Coach Dave Carson. Photo by Sandy McCook

“I am happy with the progress we are making. It was especially good to bleed 17-year-old Alfie Kinsella in the front row.

“He had a great game when he arrived. It bodes well for the future that we have so many youngsters coming through the second and third teams.

The Canal Park side dominated the first half, taking a 19-0 lead in the interval thanks to a sound scrum and quick hands from the backs.

The rewards came in the form of three successful tries, awarded to running backs Gordon Gregor and Stuart Butler, but the pick of the pack was winger Craig Findlater’s run.

And with opposition from Scott Fraser in imperious kicking form with three penalties and three conversions, the outcome was never in doubt despite the tough times Dundee’s back row were giving the Northerners.

The second half was something of an anticlimax, although Highland was in control enough to grab a vital fourth down.

Orkney pushed to the end in National 3

In Edinburgh, Orkney worked harder to register their second road victory than new manager Derek Robb would have liked.

Murrayfield Wanderers were closing in on victory before the Islanders dug deep to secure a late win.

Robb said: “We were down 26-25 in the final five minutes but luckily Willie Thomson saw Scott Rendall wide and threw a great pass at him to give us a narrow 32-26 lead after the conversion.

“We then had to fend off the onslaught of Murrayfield Wanderers with 14 men.

“But it’s good to be co-leaders after two away wins, especially as this is our first season in National League 3.

“We can’t wait to have our friends from Strathmore at Kirkwall next week, especially as they are also unbeaten.”

Other points scorers for the Islanders were tries for Craig Slater, James Donohoe (2) and Mark Sinclair while Connor Hancock kicked two conversions and a penalty.

Ellon edged out by Aberdeenshire in high-scoring affair

In Caley’s Division 1, Ellon continued his high scoring streak at the Meadows but got a run for his money by Aberdeenshire who eventually toned down 57-31.

Grangemouth Stags won 45-25 at Blairgowrie, while Caithness got back on track with a 27-12 win at home to Hillfoots.

The day’s top scorers were at Groats Road where Dunfermline put up 83 points ahead of Aberdeen Wanderers who managed 12.

In Caley Division 2 North, RAF Lossiemouth slipped 31-17 past the RAF base.

Just along the road at Elgin, Moray beat 2nd Aberdeen Grammar 68-0.

Shetland also convinced 60-12 winners at Lerwick where Ross Sutherland was the visitors.

The clash of the day was at Countesswells where the 2nd Gordonians were beaten 36-26 by Mackie.

At Caley 3 North, business was much tighter.

Garioch was pushed all the way by the University of Aberdeen medics in their 18-12 win, while Deeside had to give Dyce second best 24-17 at Banchory.

Turriff picked up a fine 64-19 victory at home to 2nd Caithness, while 3rd Highland’s trip to Lewis ended in a 27-7 win for Stornoway.

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[Strong start earns Highland victory while Orkney leave it late in the capital]