Aberdeen Wanderers 29 (15)
Aberdeen Wanderers brushed past Blairgowrie as blustery conditions and a heavy Groats Road pitch made the going tough for both sides.
The hosts’ stand-off, Ed Vickers, scored 14 points, adding a fine try to three conversions and a penalty.
Ewan Smith, Mitchell Scott and Carwyn Walker also crossed the whitewash as Wanderers continued their good recent form with a bonus point win.
Blairgowrie responded through centre, Matthew Mitchie late on, but offered little attacking threat despite frustrating their opposition with some strong defence.
Wanderers make a winning return after a month on the sidelines
This was Wanderers first game since the 27th January due to weather related cancellations, but the Hazelhead outfit started brightly and Ed Vickers converted an easy penalty to give his side an early lead.
This was followed up by a Ewan Smith try on five minutes as the left-winger finished off a simple move from a strong Wanderers scrum.
Indeed, the hosts’ scrummage reigned dominant throughout the 80 minutes in a game where the set piece became crucial as the ball began to resemble a bar of soap in the Hazelhead mud.
Some fine interplay between Vickers and Mitchell Scott then sent the inside centre on his way as Wands looked to be on their way to a convincing victory.
From there it became rather quiet though as the home side struggled to break down Blairgowrie’s defence with a chance going a begging on 33 minutes when Vickers missed touch with his penalty as the wind swirled around Groats Road.
It wasn’t until the hour mark that the dead lock was broken after a multitude of scrums and chances missed through handling errors which were forgivable in the tough conditions.
Carwyn Walker and Gabe Liddle both put in impressive shifts in the back row and it was Walker who grabbed Wanderers third after another solid scrum.
The hosts’ bonus point looked imminent, but Blairs defence held solid until the 69th minute when Vickers added his side’s all important fourth try with a fine piece for running rugby before adding his third conversion.
In the dying moments of the game Blairgowrie were awarded for their efforts in defence with a try at the other end.
Matthew Mitchie found a way through after some sustained pressure in opposition territory to give his side something to travel home with.
Meanwhile, for Wanderers this win puts them in contention for third place and they travel to Ellon – who currently occupy that position – next weekend.
Aberdeen Wanderers Director of Rugby, Russell Arthur: “We had real problems finding players to play in the back line and made it more difficult for ourselves as we found it difficult to get the ball out wide. Full credit should go to a strong Blairgowrie defence who we often found hard to break down. I was really impressed by David Knights who has made the step up from playing in the back row for the Under 18s to starting on the wing today.”+