’Shire pipped at the post

Once again ’Shire lost a game they had every chance of winning. As the game went into injury time ’Shire led 8-7 but a penalty kick to touch failed to reach the line and a counter-attack by the visitors led to a try – unconverted – which meant they held a 12-8 advantage. ’Shire spent the last minutes of injury time camped on the visitors’ line and actually crossed it but were adjudged to have failed to ground the ball.

The ’Shire backs had a good game and showed a willingness to run the ball at the visitors. In defence they were brave and robust and thwarted the visitors’ attacks throughout the game. The forwards had a hard day aginst a heavy pack. The lineout did not work well, with Eddie Stevenson and Neil Irving sorely missed. The visiting pack had a very effective rolling maul which they used to good effect and their lineout was very efficient, with the thrower finding the jumper almost every time. The ’Shire defence overall was superb and held out at times when a score looked on the cards. The two tries scored by Clydebank were both from wingers when the ’Shire defence had been stretched and sucked into the middle of the field.

Clydebank play a similar style of rugby to ’Shire and one regular on the touchline remarked that it was like watching two ’Shire teams playing each other. The first 20 minutes saw ’Shire dominate and most of the play was in the visitors’ half. After 22 minutes, however, the visitors took the lead with a simple try by their left wing after a smart move across the field. The try was converted so they led 7-0, against the run of play. Ten minutes later ’Shire were awarded a penalty some 20 yards out to the left of the posts. Fullback Austin’s kick fell short but a Clydebank player tried to field the ball, knocked on and John McInmtosh following up collected the ball and crashed over for an excellent try. The kick failed narrowly, so the score was now 7-5 to the visitors. ’Shire were forced into some desperate defence for a while but held out to the interval. The first half had been very even with ’Shire having had a territorial advantage.

The second half was very even with neither side able to force a score. Play was becoming very robust – in fact, over robust at times – and the referee had to speak to both captains on more than one occasion. Andy Farquhar placed a lovely kick into the corner and Wilson following up fast almost got to the ball before a defender. Scrum-half Patterson placed a box kick deep into the Clydebank 22, forcing the fullback into a desperate clearance. With the clock showing 37 minutes played ’Shire were awarded a penalty in front of the posts which Austin kicked to put ’Shire in the lead 8-7. As the game went into injury time ’Shire were under pressure but were awarded a penalty in their 22 with the chance to clear their lines. The kick fell short and a counter-attack by the visitors led to a try . In spite of Herculean efforts to force a try, the whistle blew with ’Shire camped on the visitors’ line. A claim for a try was denied by the referee. This was a game ’Shire could easily have won but pressure has to be converted into points. The players deserve praise for their efforts and must be very disappointed at losing.

Team: C Austin, t wilson, d maccaig, l mcintosh, n warwick, a farquhar (capt), j patterson, m hastie, g keith, a love, r drysdale, r thomson, j mckie, m mcconnell, k mcneil. Subs: r mccreadie, k little, a mcmaster, g dunlop, r dewar, s taggart, s hannah.

Davie Hunter