Loch Lomond 19, Stewartry 48
Psychologically this game – Stewartry’s first ever at Loch Lomond – was over before it had started.
Having already scored 87 points at Greenlaw in the first encounter and appearing at the top of the banking next to the pitch with a full 15, six replacements and bag man Kenny to prepare for their warm-up, Loch Lomond had only amassed six players and were watching every car that went passed.
A minute from kick-off and the home team had made it to 15 players. After the game kicked off a spectator agreed to be a replacement man when they had an early injury.
Loch Lomond kicked off long into the Stewartry 22 and they got stuck right into the Blacks with revenge on their minds. A first scrum was won against the head and Loch Lomond were on the Stewartry line before the ball went into touch.
Five minutes into the game Lomond won a scrum five, pushing Stewartry back to their line the Blacks broke up and were penalised with a penalty try to which he conversion was added.
From the restart, the Lomond winger was injured and they went down to 14 men. Danny Burton and James Armstrong were driving through the middle but again Stewartry were penalised. Lomond’s tactic of their number 10 bombarding the Blacks’ defence with high kicks gave Scott Carson the chance to break and make 40 metres before being stopped.
John Fingland was next to show, putting T J McCarney away but he was knocked into touch 10 metres short.
Stewartry won a lineout but then forward passed.
Thankfully Stewartry’s lively set of backs were keeping them in the game, with TJ chipping to the Lomond line. Minutes later a quick penalty by John Kerr gave TJ McCarney the Blacks’ opening score, Craig Mosey adding the conversion.
Two minutes later John Muir went on one of his trademark 40-metre runs through the static Lomond defence to score, with Mosey again adding the extras for the Blacks to go 14-7 ahead.
Lomond responded with their forwards driving Stewartry back 30 metres and winning a penalty but it failed to make touch. Loch Lomond were in command up front and the Blacks had no answer. A penalty lineout and drive to the Stewartry line brought a yellow card for John Kerr as Stewartry stopped the drive illegally. Loch Lomond continued to drive Stewartry back and were rewarded with a second try and conversion right on half time for 14-14 at the interval.
Stewartry restarted and Danny Boyd dummied a chip ahead which Mosey carried on to score at the posts. He then added the conversion. Two minutes later John Muir made another of his runs to 10 metres out before putting replacement scrum-half John Picken in for the fourth, bonus-point, try.
In 54 minutes, a Muir kick ahead took play back to five metres out where another quick penalty from Kerr gave Cammy Fenwick a try in the corner. From one of Stewartry’s few scrimmage successes, a passing move set up by Armstrong saw the ball swiftly passed to TJ McCarney for his second try. Mosey added the points to make it 38-14.
Four minutes later Cammy Fenwick added his second try far out on the left. Victory may have been secured but Loch Lomond, to their credit, drove Stewartry back. A penalty to touch was won and three further drives to the line gave them a third try.
Cammy Fenwick and John Kerr joined the injury list on the touchline, Stewartry using all their replacements. Right at full time Stewartry won possession from a tired Lomond scrum and fullback Fingland ghosted through for the final try.
This was a convincing win for Stewartry but the forwards have seldom been as well beaten in the set piece as they were by Loch Lomond. The Stewartry backs took the plaudits on the day with six well executed tries.
Stewartry: J Fingland, S Carson, J Muir, D Boyd, TJ McCarney, C Mosey, J Farquhar, T Cannon, D Burton, M Smith, R Porteous, J Armstrong, J Kerr, C Fenwick, I Fenwick (captain), S Broll, M McCulloch, I McMorran, J Picken, K Riddick, H Sainsbury.