Stewartry 24 McLaren 12
Stewartry were looking for a bonus point win to end the season as opponents McLaren with three games in hand could still pip the Blacks for third place.
A strong cross wind was blowing when Stewartry kicked off which was going to make conditions difficult for the players. The first penalty of the game was to McLaren on their ten metre line. Hamilton caught the kick cleanly and charged up the touchline back to the halfway line where Fenwick made a further twenty metres. McLaren won the scrum and kicked for touch using the wind advantage. McCulloch won the lineout for Stewartry and the Blacks gained a penalty for offside. McLaren gained possession from some loose play and again kicked towards Hamilton who took the kick cleanly and drove straight back at the McLaren winger. Stewartry started to increase the pressure on McLaren taking a scrum against the head and playing the game in the visitors 22. Captain Cannon lead the way with a charging run to the McLaren line backed by Smith And Burton but McLaren’s defence stood firm.
Scrum half Farquhar stole the ball at the back of a McLaren scrum and was stopped just short in the corner but winning a scrum. Cannon, Porteous and Farquhar all pushed to the try line and from a further Blacks scrum Smith was stopped short. The Stewartry pressure on the visitors all came to nothing when Fingland and Hamilton both called for a clearance kick but bumped into each other and putting the ball straight into the hands of the McLaren winger who ran the length of the pitch to score. The conversion was added. Stewartry came straight back winning a scrum and two penalty awards which were kicked to halfway and then the corner. A scrum award to McLaren from the lineout was stolen by Smith who crashed over for a try. Mosey kicked a penalty to touch then cleared further up the field into the McLaren half. Smith then left the field with a cut head replaced by Doug Boyd. An off the ball incident by Mosey missed by the referee denied McLaren a second try the ball going dead. Stewartry were soon back at the other end of the pitch with Fenwick and Henderson both stopped from scoring at the posts. From the scrum Stewartry pushed over for number 8 Fenwick to score. Mosey added the points. McLaren missed a penalty kick at the posts just before half time. 12-7 to Stewartry.
Cannon and Boyd were soon in the action taking the McLaren kick off ball straight back at them. Fenwick again stole a McLaren penalty lineout ball.
Then it was Farquhar with a steal at the scrum and reaching halfway. Ten minutes into the second half Stewartry kicked a penalty into the corner which was won by Porteous who held onto the ball and was driven over by the forwards for the third try. Ten minutes later the same ploy worked again with Porteous scoring again to gain the bonus point. Mosey added the points taking his seasons total to 139 points. With twenty minutes to go and the game won Stewartry saw the last of their replacements coming on Coach John Muir who has missed more than half the games this season with injuries but trying for a fourth score in four games. McLaren never gave up and a quickly taken penalty by Millar saw him race 30 metres through the Stewartry defence to score between the posts. McLaren continued to pressure Stewartry one more converted try would gain them a bonus point. The final kick of the game was a Mosey penalty to the touchline bringing an end to the game and Stewartry’s season. Third or fourth place in the league won’t be decided between the two teams until at the latest May 2, when McLaren play their last game of three verses Cumbernauld, Clydebank and Uddingston.
On Saturday Stewartry Sirens are playing at BT Cup Final Day in the final of the BT Womens Plate against Ayr Women at Murrayfield with a 12noon kick off.