Slow start but Mackie pull through to Victory
Orkney took the overnight ferry with a large support to arrive for an early kick off at a snow dusted Redcloak.
Despite a firm pitch both sides were keen to get underway. Mackie started rather sluggishly and Orkney held sway in the set piece and the rucks. Casual play and a failed touch kick let Orkney run in a try that should have been defended. This was converted and soon after a penalty to the visitors took the score out to 10 – 0
Mackie were not devoid of attacking ideas and a great break by Cammy Gray looked to have breached the Orkadian line but a last ditch tackle saved the day. The a well worked lineout move saw Akaoula break down the touchline. Despite being tackled he got off a pass to hooker Mitchell who was brought again just short of the line. As the half was coming to a close Mackie established good field position near the Orkney 22. A drive took the ball on further and the ball was fed to Akaoula who in turn got a great pass away to Atkins. He slipped right through the Orkney defence to score a lovely try under the posts which was converted by Calum Reddish (7 – 10)
Half time and the Mackie team made a couple of tactical changes to tighten the lineouts and scrums. Not sure what was in the half time oranges but Mackie came out a different side in the second half. The lineouts started to improve and the breakdown started to improve with some nice turnover ball.
After 50 minutes a kick ahead by Mackie was fielded by the Orkney winger who had an easy run in for an unconverted try to take the score out to 7- 15. If anything this seemed to galvanise the home side even more and a series of scrums saw the opposition start to buckle. A defensive scrum by Orkney say their stand offs clearance kick charged down by the tigerish Mellis who scampered through to touch the ball down and bring the score to 12 – 15. By now it was one way traffic and with 15 minutes to go Mackie had a series of scrums that destroyed the other scrum and at the same time sapped their strength. Two identical tries followed in quick succession both from Mackie No8 Akaoula and both from open side pick ups from the scrum. With Levack getting one of the conversions it pushed Mackie out to a nine point lead at 24 – 15. For the last 10 minutes Orkney were reduced to picking and driving and were going nowhere. Mackie easily defended the position and when the final whistle went there was great delight in the ranks. What was markedly noticeable was the superior fitness of the home side in the final 20 minutes which allowed them to dominate and hound their opposite numbers and will undoubtedly stand them in good stead going forward