Clydebank 29, Wigtownshire 16
Wigtownshire travelled north for their final game of the season on Saturday.
The fixture had been rescheduled from March because the team could not make the journey due to snow. This delay resulted in the Stranraer side not having played for four weeks, while Clydebank had been playing every week catching up with a backlog of games.
This was a very important match for both sides as they have both been rooted near the bottom of the league. Clydebank, however, still have a number of games to play and they could overhaul the ’Shire in the relegation battle.
The local side had been working hard in training to maintain fitness but were under no illusions. Clydebank have proved a difficult side to beat, particularly at home.
’Shire started well, putting pressure on from the kick off, and captain Andy Farquhar playing out of position at No 8 leading by example. He took the game to Clydebank and turned the ball over. The home side went off their feet to prevent any advantage and William Parker stepped up to convert the penalty.
Clydebank came back strongly and played the ball deep into the ’Shire half. They stole the advantage at the lineout. This time ’Shire prevented release and Clydebank took a quick tap and crashed over to score, though the conversion was missed.
’Shire’s rucking game became more effective and won a second penalty. Parker stepped up and added another three points to regain the lead.
’Shire scrumhalf Callum Austin became frustrated by the home side sealing the ball at the ruck. The referee adjudged him over zealous in his attempts to clear the ball with his feet and gave him 10 minutes in the sin bin. While he was off, the visitors defence held firm.
The ’Shire backs got drove up field and a lineout set up a drive. Just short of the line Campbell McGregor offloaded to Austin who scored a try, Parker adding the conversion.
Clydebank hit back and passed the ball well to evaded the ’Shire defence and score their second try, which was converted. The score stood at 12-13 at half-time.
It was ’Shire who scored first after teh break, through the boot of young Parker once again.
This stung Clydebank into action and they came back with to score two tries but both conversion attempts went wide.
’Shire’s position was made more difficult when the referee red-carded Ross Pauley for using his feet.
’Shire battened down the hatches but frustration again cost them dear when a comment to the ref about a decision resulted in a penalty award and the Bankies were off. They went the full length of the park for a breakaway try that was converted.
This victory gave Clydebank a mathematical chance to lifting themselves off the bottom in their remaining two games.
’Shire on the other hand must wait and see. This is dependent on the Clydebank results and a meeting in May when the league structure for next season will be decided.
It was a disappointing end to a long hard season. The very full fixture card at the beginning of the competition, and then long breaks between games after the turn of the year, had made things difficult. This is particularly true now, when Wigtownshire had fulfilled most of the fixtures on time and were left with the odd game to play.
The club look forward to their annual dinner on Friday night when SRU president Alan Lawson is the guest of honour.
There will be a short break before training starts again for the new season.
Team: H McGeoch, J McIntosh, J McKie, D Maccaig, C Hose, W Parker, C Austin; A Love, G Keith, D Watson, C McGregor, G Dunlop, C Stephens, C Reid, A Farquhar (captain). Reps: S Blain, R Pauley, A Graham, S Cameron.
By Davie Hunter