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Defending champions Highland Raptors start campaign with derby win

By Will Clark

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Highland 2nd XV began the defence of their Caledonia North Two League title with a 35-7 victory against Ross Sutherland at Invergordon.

The Raptors ran in five tries at the Naval Grounds to secure the bonus point victory.

Calum Anderson scored two tries with Craig Irvine, Alex Macdonald and player/head coach Nathan McLaughlin also crossing the line in an impressive start to the 2019/20 campaign.

Highland 2nds move the ball out of the scrum in their derby match against Ross Sutherland. Picture: Peter Carson
Highland 2nds move the ball out of the scrum in their derby match against Ross Sutherland. Picture: Peter Carson

McLaughlin says he was satisfied with how his team performed on the opening day of the season.

“We are still a bit rusty but that is to be expected in the first game,” he said.

“There was a lot of good stuff to take from the game but there is also plenty things that have to be worked on too.

“We got what we expected from Ross Sutherland.

“They were solid in the set-piece and looked to be physical up front.

“But when we got three or four phases on the ball and got it wide we looked dangerous which was great to see.”

Highland 2nd XV cantered to the Caledonia Two division title last season winning all of their league matches.

But they were denied promotion to Caledonia One as second XV teams can’t be promoted any higher in the current league set-up.

Before the match the return of Highland 3rd XV saw them take on a reformed Ross Sutherland 2nd XV as they ran out 29-5 winners.

Highland’s junior sides took on Stirling County in this weekend’s Shogun Conference matches and it was a tough set of results for the youngsters with only the under-14’s gaining a victory.

Highland head to Aberdeen on Saturday when they will aim to make it two wins from two against North Police.

Meanwhile in Caledonia Four, Inverness Craig Dunain’s match against Ellon 2nd XV was cancelled due to having insufficient players available.

It is hoped they will be able to play their first match of the league season when they face Dyce at Inverness High School on Saturday.

Craig Dunain Ladies return to action this weekend when they travel to face Stornoway in North Region League West.

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