Gale blows away Greens' half-time lead
An ill wind put paid to Caithness's hopes of a shock result against Greenock Wanderers as the Greens went down to a 27-13 home defeat on Saturday.
Millbank had to endure a strong, blustery wind and it was clear that whichever side could take advantage of their spell with the gale on their backs would go on to win the game.
Normally a 13-7 half-time lead would have the Greens looking forward to pushing on in the second period.
That lead, however, was built up with the wind in their favour and to have any chance of victory a bigger margin between themselves and Greenock would have been required.
And so it proved, as Greenock were more clinical in handling the conditions to quickly wipe out the Greens' lead and cruise ahead.
Caithness did put up a spirited performance against the wind and, on a more settled day, would have racked up more points.
Unfortunately for them, though, it's another defeat that edges them closer to an unwanted return to the Caledonian League.
Head coach Ewen Boyd said: "It was a case of a game of two halves. The winds battered Millbank during the game and Greenock used it better than we did.
"We started off with the wind on our backs and we had some good possession in that first half.
"We played well and we got two tries through Graham Fryer and Gordy Macleod. However, I felt that, with us having to play against that wind in the second half, we needed to score another two tries to give ourselves a good chance.
"Sure enough, when it was Greenock's turn to play with the wind, they took advantage. They got a few breaks but that happens in rugby.
"Saying that, we did create opportunities – despite the conditions – but we were unable to convert them into tries.
"It was disappointing to lose but special mentions go to Evan Sutherland and Hamish Coghill who both carried the ball well.
"Scott Webster and Kris Hamilton also played well, while Dave Mackintosh put in a superb man-of-the-match performance for his defensive skills as he made a number of tackles."
Spirited though the Caithness performance was, the defeat itself draws the spectre of relegation even closer.
While they can still dig themselves out of trouble and pull fellow strugglers West of Scotland and Murrayfield Wanderers into the drop zone, the latter two have games in hand on the Greens which could prove pivotal if they win them.
Boyd added: "We're not oblivious to our situation. I worked out the various permutations of the relegation issue on my first day as coach.
"As I've said before, all we can do is take one game at a time, focus on that, give as good a performance as we can give and move on to the next fixture.
"We've just got to keep on giving our best and trying to improve – which we will still be doing even if it becomes numerically impossible for us to avoid relegation."
• For all budding rugby players in primary one, two and three, Caithness's micros squad have resumed their training sessions for this year.
They take place every Sunday in separate sessions in Wick and Thurso, starting at 11am and running until noon. The club ask all players to arrive approximately 10 minutes before so they are ready to begin training at 11am, and to wear appropriate clothing for the weather.
The training sessions will take place at the playing fields at the rear of Wick High School and at Millbank rugby ground in Thurso. Each age group has an SRU qualified coach in charge.