Shire pip leaders in thrilling showdown

BT West Regional League Division 3

Wigtownshire RFC 1st XV 13

Strathaven RFC 1st XV 12

On Saturday BT West Regional League Division 3 leaders Strathaven travelled to Stranraer to take on Wigtownshire at London Road.

The visitors have been going very well this season, with nine wins from ten games, and picking up one loss and eight try bonus points along the way. When they last met back in December “Shire” were on the receiving end of a 44-17 drubbing.

Fullback Kieran Little was first on the scoresheet after four minutes. He stepped through the defence to get to the try line and touch down before the chasing cover could stop him.

However soon after Strathaven drew level. Securing the ball at the set piece they set off towards the try line. Hard running and good support play took them crashing over in the corner to level the score, a missed kick left the scores even.

All areas of the Wigtownshire play were fully tested and the visitors were getting the upper hand, in scrum, lineout and open play. So confident were the visitors that they spurned an opportunity for easy points from a kick at goal in front of the posts, in favour of a line out in search of tries.

The local lads dug deep and held them out and fought their way clear of the line. Another penalty chance was kicked to touch and went out in the in-goal area allowing “Shire” to clear the danger.

The visitor kept up the pressure, they managed to create a two man overlap, but failed to use it and the defence held again. Once again they came back, this time centre Aaron Graham was the battering ram on a charge.

The tackles failed as he crashed over for the score and the conversion was added. At the restart “Shire” took advantage of a fumble in midfield as Strathaven tried once again to get their running game going. With the ball in good field position the home side made no mistakes. Two rucks later the ball was sent out the back line and Gregor Henry battled his way over the line to score a try.

The conversion attempt slipped wide of its mark. For the remaining ten minutes of the half defence was king and neither side could best the other.

When the whistle sounded for the break the score remained unchanged with the visitor having a two point advantage.

Wigtownshire started well, working to within ten metres of the Strathaven line before the visitors managed to halt their progress.

Tempers began to fray as the visitor could not break out. This resulted in a penalty being awarded to the home side in front of the posts. Henry calmly stepped up and slotted the ball between the posts to give his team a one point lead.

They will have a chance to do it all again at home on Saturday when they will face Birkmyre at 3pm at London Road.