Stewartry 47, Wigtownshire 0
Stewartry, with their main two pitches frozen, worked hard to get their third pitch ready for this eagerly awaited fixture between the local rivals.
With the town end of the pitch still frozen and some ice-covered puddles, agreement was given by the referee to go ahead with the game after a pre-match discussion with both captains.
With the pitch a distance from the clubhouse, the big crowd had to leave its warm surroundings to watch the game. Most missed Stewartry’s first penalty in the first minute, converted by Cammy Fenwick.
A first penalty to Wigtownshire gave the Blues the impetus to set up a series of pick-ups and drive and for a good five minutes they took the game deep into the Stewartry half but the Blacks held firm. McCulloch and Porteous drove into the ’Shire half, winning a penalty which Fenwick missed. Next it was Ian Fenwick and Boyd who broke from the back of a scrum, setting John Muir up on the overlap for the opening try that Fenwick converted.
A bit of a skirmish saw Wigtownshire reduced to 13 men as a result of one yellow card and treatment to another player with a head injury, giving the Blacks another penalty score from Fenwick.
McCulloch collected the restart ball and set off with prop McMorran into the ’Shire half, winning a lineout. Porteous took the lineout and Swalwell put Wallace away but his inside pass saw Boyd cleaned out by the suicidal pass. Stewartry’s backs put the pressure on with a move involving them all that took them into the ’Shire 22 where a chip and chase was won by Stevie McCulloch for his first try of the season. The conversion was missed.
Wigtownshire were back to full strength and after another missed penalty from Stewartry the Blues made good progress from their own line to the Stewartry 22. After some ’Shire pressure it was Ian Fenwick and Mosey who broke out of the Stewartry 22 and Muir who cleared the danger with a fine clearance kick as the half ended with score 18-0 to Stewartry.
Two minutes into the second half Stewartry went further ahead with a try from hooker Danny Burton after good build-up play from Mosey, Fenwick and Wallace, with forwards Henderson and Cannon driving close to put Burton over. Fenwick converted. Wigtownshire’s kick-off went straight out and from the scrum back Stewartry won possession and Fenwick, Farquhar and David Kerr set up the next attack. Wigtownshire won another penalty but John Muir was on hand to clear the danger for the Blacks.
Stewartry scored the fourth and bonus point try when prop Tommy Cannon drove over from 10 metres for a second try in two weeks. Craig Mosey converted.
Stewartry went back on the attack from the kick-off, David Kerr breaking through a few tackles backed up by Broll and Fingland before Boyd was once again cleaned out by the ’Shire centres.
Mosey made another opening and McCulloch was in for his second try though the conversion was missed. It took a 50-metre clearance kick from Mosey to turn the ’Shire attack and the Blues tried the same tactic twice with John Fingland taking the catches and returning them with interest. Just after the hour, replacement David Kerr scored a fine individual try but again the conversion missed.
Wigtownshire never gave up and they battled back into the Stewartry 22 but, as throughout the game, could not score from the chances they made. Stewartry’s Wallace was stopped in the corner when he looked to be in for a try before the final score came from the Stewartry forwards, Cannon also being stopped short giving Liam Henderson following up the chance to pick up and drive over the line. McCulloch missed the conversion, his attempt a reward for his two tries..
This result gives Stewartry the double over their local rivals this season and puts the Blacks back on top of the league five points ahead of unbeaten Annan.
Stewartry’s next home game against McLaren is a rearranged league game on February 2 with a 1.30pm kick-off followed by England v Scotland at 4pm.
Stewartry: J Muir, J Fingland, C Fenwick, D Boyd, R Wallace, C Mosey, J Farquhar, I McMorran, D Burton, T Cannon, L Henderson, R Porteous, S McCulloch, P Swalwell, I Fewnwick (captain), S Broll, A Kerr, D Kerr, M Smith. All subs used.