Strathaven 35, Stewartry 48
Stewartry were keen to get the previous week’s defeat at Annan out of their system as soon as possible when they travelled to their last away game of the season.
This would be a first ever visit to Strathaven for the Blacks and with only an 18-17 win at Greenlaw to go on, a tough game was expected.
Stewartry could not have started better, from their own kickoff taking the game into the home 22 where the Blacks won a loose ball picked up by fullback John Muir who raced to the goal line before setting vice-captain Danny Burton up for the opening try in just two minutes. Cammy Fenwick added the conversion.
From the restart, Stewartry again gained possession and it was Muir who jinked his way through three tackles before passing to second row Steven Hogg who scored between the posts, Fenwick again adding the extras.
Once again Stewartry won the ball from the kick-off and some good handling in the backs gave standoff Craig Mosey the chance to run in from the 22 for try number three. Fenwick completed his hat-trick of conversions.
A penalty award to Stewartry saw them kick into the corner for the lineout, which was won, and the forwards drove for the Strathaven line. The maul collapsed but the loose ball was picked up by scrumhalf Jamie Farquhar and he was in for the fourth try and the bonus point with only fifteen minutes on the clock.
Strathaven may have been down but they were not out and hit back from a penalty award on the 22. Quickly taken, they scored their opening try though the conversion was missed.
A back injury to Rory Porteous saw him take no further part.
A Strathaven penalty was passed out the line before Danny Boyd made the tackle releasing the ball for Andrew Kerr to pick up he passed to Ian Fenwick who put wee brother Cammy in for try number five but he missed the conversion.
Strathaven regained possession from some loose Stewartry play at the restart and their right winger scored their second try.
On the half-hour a penalty award to the Blacks was again kicked to the corner for the lineout which was won and the ball passed out to Muir, who jinked his way through the defence for try number six.
Straight from the kickoff Strathaven won turnover ball and poor Stewartry tackling saw the home team in for their third score. At half-time the score was Strathaven 15, Stewartry 36.
The second half saw Strathaven take a leaf out of Stewartry’s book and they scored in only the second minute from a quickly taken penalty for a bonus-point fourth try.
A penalty on the Blacks’ five-metre line saw Strathaven win the heel and score try number five and from another penalty award for back-chat Strathaven score a sixth try closing the gap to 36-30.
More loose play from the Blacks was keeping the pressure on them in their own 22 before a penalty kick up the field relieved the pressure. A scrum in the Strathaven half was won and Muir joined the line to put captain Ian Fenwick in for Stewartry’s seventh try and his 15th of the season. With five minutes left, Stewartry won a ruck in their own half and a charging run from Steven Hogg gave replacement Callum Walker the eighth and final try for Stewartry and his first ever try for the Blacks. Cammy Fenwick added the conversion.
But Strathaven were not finished and scored a seventh try in 78 minutes.
With Lenzie losing 14-15 to Carrick, second-placed Stewartry are now six points ahead of the Glasgow side, who have lost two in a row but still have three games to play.
Stewartry will have to wait until May 11 when they play undefeated divisional champions Annan in their final league game at Castle Douglas to find out what they need to do or if they have lost their chance of joining Annan in RBS West Division One next season.
Stewartry: J Muir, A Kerr, C Fenwick, D Boyd, J Fingland , C Mosey, J Farquhar, I McMorran, D Burton, T Cannon, S Hogg,L Henderson, R Porteous, S McCulloch, I Fenwick (capt) C Walker, A Cairnie