Stewartry 20, Cumbernauld 6
It was hoped that the presentation of a new set of white change strips from Stewartry 100 Club organiser John Low would boost the first xv’s performance against Cumbernauld.
With Stewartry sponsoring the RNLI and Mountain Rescue Team with their logos on the shirt sleeves, the white strips were the only bright spots on a grey afternoon.
Cumbernauld’s kick-off went straight into touch. Early on a penalty to Stewartry saw Craig Mosey kick to touch. From the lineout Kerr McMinn took the catch and was driven over the line for the opening try, with Mosey adding the conversion.
A number of knock-ons saw Cumbernauld start to take command in the scrums, pushing Stewartry round and backwards. After 12 minutes prop Tommy Cannon put the Cumbernauld winger into touch at the corner flag as he looked certain to score. Stewartry won the lineout and cleared to the 10-metre line.
Cumbernauld had their best spell of the first half from the 15th when a penalty just missed the posts. Keeping the pressure on, a late tackle gave the fullback Reid a second kick at the posts which he converted.
Stewartry were lucky to keep all 15 players on the pitch when a second late tackle in a minute gave Reid his third kick in five minutes but the wind blew it wide.
Stewartry at last gained a scrum and made ground upfield with a Cammy Fenwick kick ahead. Some good play from Fenwick, McMorran, Boyd and Muir gave Stewartry the chance of a forward drive, bringing a penalty award which Mosey converted on the half hour.
Stewartry took advantage of the restart not going 10 metres and the ball spun out to T J McCarney, who juggled to hold it but did enough for McMinn to be stopped just short of the line.
There was a lively start to the second half as McCulloch, following up the kickoff, took the catcher out but it was John Muir who suffered minutes later when a set of studs damaged his ribs which meant him leaving the pitch 10 minutes later.
Reid converted a second penalty from just inside the Stewartry half to make the score 10-6.
Liam Henderson came on for Smith, making an impact right away. Then Cannon made one of his classic charges through the middle of the Cumbernauld defence.
Midway through the half Stewartry produced a big scrum effort, winning good ball with Fenwick, McCulloch and Fingland giving youngster McCarney his third try in three games as he sneaked in at the corner.
John Kerr came on in the back row and was soon in the action, followed by Stuart Broll and John Picken as Stewartry freshened things up with a number of positional changes for the final ten minutes. A penalty to touch was won, followed by a scrum five which turned into a penalty. Stewartry drove forward with Cannon leading the charge giving John Kerr the chance to touch down for a third try.
Stewartry have to improve on this performance if they want to progress up the league starting this week away at Clydebank.
Stewartry: J Fingland, C Fenwick, Danny Boyd, J Muir, T J McCarney, C Mosey, J Farquhar, I McMorran, D Burton, T Cannon, M Smith, K McMinn, S McCulloch, R Porteous, I Fenwick (captain), S Broll, L Henderson, J Kerr and J Picken.