Peterhead suffer at hands of Strathspey

Peterhead made the three-hour journey north to Kingussie, with an injury ravaged side, looking to make it two wins on the bounce.

The Blue Toon were given an early opportunity to go ahead when they awarded a penalty. Captain Daniel Smith opted to kick for goal but missed leaving the score at 0-0.

During the opening ten minutes Peterhead were well in control, but were wasteful with possession. They were left to rue this as Strathspey started playing the game on their terms. Soon a series of missed tackles allowed them to break through and score the games first try, which they failed to converted.

Just before the first-half finished Scott Cruickshank was forced from the pitch with a suspected broken nose, adding to Peterhead’s growing injury list. Peter Oliphant - who himself has been struggling with injury - came on as his replacement.

Stuart Whyte had a storming run up the park, before being upended by one of the Strathspey players, causing him to go off with a head injury.

Strathspey got a second try which they converted before half-time, leaving Peterhead 0-12 at the break.

Peterhead began the second-half like the first, playing quick, high intensity rugby. A line-out just short of the Strathspey 22 metre line, was well caught from makeshift forward Oliver Christie, who popped down to Stuart Hollis, sending the ball through the back line to Scott Robertson, who was unlucky to see his 30 meter run down the wing end without a try due to some last ditch Strathspey tackling.

Peterhead were awarded a penalty try as Strathspey players continuing to argue with the referee, it was clear he was not in the mood for any back-chat whatsoever. Captain Daniel Smith stepped up and slotted the ball between the posts, taking the score to 7-12.

However, the comeback from Peterhead was short lived, as Strathspey got right back up the park and scored another converted try. The Blue Toon was really up against as the score went to 7-19.

They went on to score two more tries, both unconverted, taking the score to 7-29, leaving Peterhead with a uphill battle to get the win now with around 20 minutes remaining.

Peterhead were awarded a penalty for infringement at the ruck from Strathspey, quick-thinking Daniel Smith went on his own as he saw the Strathspey defence was caught off guard, crashing the ball up.

A ruck was formed around five meters short of the try line, the Peterhead forwards taking the ball in and smashing it up, creating gaps, which was utilised by man-mountain Kyle Hutton’s powerful run as he charged over the line and scored his first try of the season, under the posts. Daniel Smith - dubbed the Chris Paterson of the north-east by some - converted it, taking the score to 14-29. A reshuffle in the back line allowed veteran centre Neil Davidson to enter the field of play as a substitute to replaced Aaron Ruck, the player-manager making his voice heard among the team, encouraging them on.

With about ten minutes remaining a line-out was won by Peterhead, taken in as a maul, gaining Peterhead vital yardage. The ball came out and was passed to the backline.

Toby Johnson holding on to the ball and sucking in the opposition, offloaded to Adam Stephen, who exploited the gap with his electric pace and he made a 25 metre dash to the tryline and scored his second try of the season. Daniel Smith failed to convert from an awkward angle taking the score to 19-29.

It appeared Strathspey were beginning to panic that their 22-point lead had now been cut to ten points with five minutes remaining.

Stephen Mckee had a great run solo run from the halfway line, who passed to Scott Robertson but again was tackled 10 metres from the tryline and the Blue Toon were to get no more chances as the referee blew the whistle for full-time at 29-19.

Peterhead’s next game comes at home to North of Scotland Police at home on Saturday. Kick-off 3pm.