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Greens dismayed over latest postponement after bus hitch

By Iain Grant

Scrum-half Euan MacDonald is in the Caithness squad for the home match against Moray on Saturday. Picture: James Gunn
Scrum-half Euan MacDonald is in the Caithness squad for the home match against Moray on Saturday. Picture: James Gunn

A last-minute travel hitch involving scheduled visitors Aberdeen Wanderers left Caithness 1st XV idle on Saturday, extending their wait for their first run-out at Millbank to more than two months.

In an unprecedented sequence, the Greens have followed up their two away friendlies with four Caledonia Region League 1 north conference matches on the road.

The two previous home fixtures were called off after RAF Lossiemouth had a clutch of their service personnel diverted to special duties while Highland Seconds were caught up in a prolonged blockage of the A9 following a crash near Golspie.

Stand-in coach Cameron Boyd said the club accepted both those call-offs as unavoidable. But he said the reason for the latest postponement has left a very bad taste in the mouth.

"They contacted us on Friday evening to say they couldn't come up as they only had one bus driver," Boyd said. "We offered to reverse the fixture but didn't hear anything back."

He understood the bus company could not fulfil the hire as two drivers were needed to complete the return day trip.

Had the same issue confronted Caithness, Boyd said the players would have volunteered to take cars.

"They would have thought nothing about doing that, so the reason Wanderers gave didn't get a tremendous amount of sympathy from us," he said.

"I think it again underlines the commitment our guys have. While we generally use the club minibuses, our Firsts and Seconds have over the years taken their cars to fixtures throughout the country."

He said the Greens had a decent squad and were very disappointed at again having a home game scrubbed at the eleventh hour.

Despite foul weather, he was encouraged by the turnout at a training session on Saturday, which was followed by an indoor tactics talk-in.

The Wanderers match will now take place on December 2 with the city side, perhaps surprisingly, not being sanctioned by a points deduction.

Caithness play Moray on Saturday in the first of a scheduled run of three home games.

Last season's Caley 2 champions defeated the Greens 60-12 in Elgin on the first day of the season.

Their subsequent winning run was ended when they went down 35-29 away to Aberdeenshire on Saturday.

Caithness have still to get off the mark after four straight losses in the north-east.

Coach Boyd can call on the same squad which was due to face Wanderers, plus scrum-half Euan MacDonald and lock Kevin Brims.

He said: "Moray are a very decent outfit and will have a point to prove after losing last Saturday.

"What I want to see is for us to play the way we want to play, impose our game plan and build on the promise we showed in large parts of our last game against Shire [a 46-10 defeat]."

The match has a 3pm kick-off.

The Seconds are due to play at the same time on the adjoining pitch against Moray 2nd XV in the north conference of Caley 2.

Aberdeenshire's victory on Saturday allowed them to leapfrog Moray into top spot in Caley 1.

Elsewhere, Highland Seconds edged out Mackie 19-12 in Inverness, while Ellon were 53-10 victors at RAF Lossiemouth.

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