League leaders Deeside lose out to Peterhead

Toby Johnson in the thick of it
Toby Johnson in the thick of it

Saturday saw Peterhead host unbeaten league leaders Deeside at Catto for the first game of 2015.

From the first kick, Deeside were up on the Peterhead players who had little option but play with ball in hand.

The forwards took the ball into contact with an authority and a confidence seen growing over the past few seasons.

With scrum-half Nat Johnson controlling the play Peterhead were making good ground and after a number of phases the ball went wide with stand-off Daniel Smith kicking very well into the gale force wind.

From a well worked ball Deeside were making ground out wide and for once managed to split the Peterhead defence.

The forwards covered across and as Deeside breached the Peterhead try line out on the touchline a score seemed inevitable.

Captain Kyle Hutton was having none of it and with a final despairing tackle he managed to force the Deeside player’s foot into touch just as he was about to touch down for a try.

From the resultant line-out Peterhead moved the ball up to the 22 with some good forward pod-work and again Daniel Smith kicked well to clear the danger.

The half was drawing to a close and Deeside had not used the wind well deciding mainly to keep the ball in hand rather than kick for territory.

When they did kick the Peterhead back three had fielded these well with full back Oliver Christie recovering the loose ball and attacking wherever possible.

With almost the final play of the half Peterhead were attacking the Deeside line and from a scrum James Scarisbrick, at number 8, picked up the ball and went blind.

With his two flankers in close support a ruck was set up with 10 metres to go.

With a dummy runner drawing the defence number 9 fed number 10 who deftly kicked ahead for wing Ross Fotheringham to outpace his despairing opposite number to score with inches to spare. This unconverted try saw the end of the first half.

Peterhead were in the driving seat from the restart using the strong wind to push Deeside back time and time again.

With the line-out being very difficult to control Liam Bain at number 2 found his jumpers again and again and Kris Chalmers robbed the Deeside jumper on a number of occasions ensuring Peterhead were getting the better quality ball.

From another chip into the try area the Deeside winger missed the ball and Stephen McKee was denied a try as the referee was unsighted for the touchdown amidst a confusion of bodies.

This seemed to allow Deeside to gain some momentum and they started using their backs to move the ball up the pitch.

The Peterhead forwards drove into the maul and kept their heads showing great maturity eventually turning the ball over for Daniel Smith once again sending Deeside back down the pitch.

From another scrum in the Deeside 22 James Scarisbrick again picked up going blind and after four phases of forward play the ball was given to Daniel Smith who, with his usual coolness, spotted a gap in the first line of Deeside’s defence. Darting through the gap he scored under the posts despite two defenders hanging onto him. This offered Stephen McKee an excellent opportunity to add the conversion which he duly did.

Peterhead were fully in control now and decided to try a few changes in the backs with Stuart Hollis moving to number 9 and man of the match Nat Johnson going to inside centre.

With only a few minutes left Deeside had weathered another Peterhead onslaught and only had to win the 5 metre scrum to clear their lines and see the end to this torrid game.

From the scrum Peterhead took the ball against the head and Hollis went blind jinking past the despairing Deeside defence to score Peterhead’s third of the day.

This was the final play of the game and ended: Peterhead 17 Deeside 0.