BT West Regional League Division 3
Wigtownshire RFC 1st XV 39 – Lanark RFC 1st XV 0 (Nil)
Rugby returned to Stranraer for the start of the new season on Saturday. with Wigtownshire playing host to Lanark RFC, who they played twice last season with one win apiece.
New Club Captain and Vice-Captain, club stalwarts Keith McNeil and Duncan MacCaig, respectively, got their first game in charge and a new club and 1st XV Sponsor, “Border Motor Group”.
Lanark kicked off this West Division 3 league game, playing towards Bowling Green Road to test the local side’s metal.
Both teams appeared to be a little rusty with unforced errors and poor handling letting them down. The home side seemed to have the edge and a darting run by Jason McKie was brought to an abrupt halt with tackle round the neck. Wigtownshire then turned the screw, the back row, Dewar, McKie, and Porter working well together to break up the park. New half back pairing of Chan and Lawson were settling and showed what they could do. The ball eventually broke to Jason McKie who went over for a try after some fine passing and support play.
He added the extra points with a conversion. Lanark came back hard and pressed forward. They pinned the home side back on their line, but the local boys kept them out.
MacCaig then sparked a break. The ball was carried forward and Lanark were on the back foot. It was their turn to defend. A string of mistakes near the line seemed to plague the “Shire” attack, but they kept the pressure on. The forwards won the ball, the backs ran and passed, eventually, when John McIntosh was stopped short, Captain McNeil was on hand to crash over for a try in the corner.
The conversion attempt was missed. Once again Lanark regrouped and came into the danger zone. Wayward rucking by the home side gave Lanark a penalty. They went for the posts, but the kick went wide. From the restart Wigtownshire broke forward, winning possession the backs and forwards combined, Maccaig, Porter, MacCaig, Reid passed and surged forward. Full back Corrie Hose finished the move coming in to take the last pass and score a try. The conversion kick went wide.
This was a purple patch for the local boys, three minutes later having gained possession and worked their way forward, Isaac Porter broke through at pace. The defenders came to meet him, but with a show of the ball and a step he drifted through their line and in under the posts for another try. McKie added the conversion and the referee called for half time, the score standing at 24–0.
Wigtownshire kicked off the second period. A fine chase by the forwards forced a knock on from the visitors, giving up valuable field position. Once into the red zone the home side pushed home their advantage. With ball in hand they piled forward, this time McKie put McCaig in for a score. The conversion went wide.
The home back row, given a great platform by their tight five, just wanted the ball. Once again it was Porter that got it and away he went. Stopped short of the line, once again the forwards, back combination worked and it was replacement Forsyth that was on hand for his first senior try. The conversion kick went wide.
Jason McKie scored a final try, but he could not manage the extra points. From the restart Lanark tried once again to get a score, but it just would not come. They crossed the line only to find they just could not get the ball down. The referee blew for no side Wigtownshire winning 39 points to nil.
This was a great start to the season for Wigtownshire, strong both in attack and defence. The passing and support play was the key in attack. Solid at scrum and line out and dynamic at the rucks gave them ball to work with. The one down side was the penalty count; Mr McEvilly was more tolerant that some whistlers might be. This is something to be borne in mind for the future. Next Saturday the team travel to Birkmyre to continue their season’s quest. This will be another good test for the team, especially as things were difficult on the road last season.
Team: C Hose, S Cameron, J McIntosh, D MacCaig, J Dalrymple, D Lawson, J Chan; M Hastie, C Reid, M McConnell, B Graham, K McNeil (Capt), R Dewar, J McKie, I Porter
Replacements: A Murray, R McCreadie, R Pauley, R Forsyth, A Farquhar