Stewartry 7, Waysiders Drumpellier 9
After an unbeaten run of five league wins, one with a record 87 points, Stewartry were brought back to earth when old rivals Waysiders Drumpellier proved yet again to be a bit of a bogey team.
Stewartry have never won at Coatbridge but have only lost the once at home, back in 2010, when the visitors won by two points.
The weather was going to decide the outcome of the game and whoever adapted to it best. Stewartry kicked off with wind advantage but it was the visitors who won possession and drove into the Stewartry half, keeping the ball tight in the forwards.
The first ten 10 minutes were spent in the Blacks’ half as they fought to win some possession. Mosey kicked to halfway but Waysiders won a penalty and then the lineout, driving Stewartry back. A lucky knock-on award gave the Blacks a scrum chance but they lost it again, being out scrummed by strong Waysiders drive.
A high tackle from the Stewartry defence gave Waysiders a penalty kick, converted in front of the posts.
Stewartry kicked deep into Waysiders’ 22 but some dropped passes allowed the visitors to push back into the Stewartry half.
An injury to Stewartry prop Ian McMorran saw him carried of the pitch and then to hospital in Dumfries. A number of injuries slowed the game down but Stewartry were still unable to harness the wind until the 27th minute when Picken, Austin and Fenwick broke through for John Kerr to sprint in from 20 metres for his fourth try in three games, Craig Mosey adding the conversion.
Stewartry upped their efforts for the last 10 minutes of the half, Mosey trying two long range penalties from the halfway line. Both narrowly missed and although Stewartry were 7-3 ahead at half-time, it was Waysiders who were looking forward to the second half.
Stewartry retained the ball from the kick-off and the forwards played it tight, driving deep into the Waysiders’ half. The heavy rain added to the strong wind to make it difficult for the Blacks to make good progress and when Waysiders won possession they soon used the conditions to advantage. After 61 minutes Waysiders kicked a second penalty to close the gap to one point. Ten minutes later a penalty award to Waysiders came back of the posts but it only delayed the outcome when, four minutes later, they converted a penalty to go 9-7 ahead with only seven minutes to go.
A valiant second-half effort from Stewartry could not save the game as they failed to score enough points in the first half with the conditions behind them.
Stewartry: K Riddick, J Farquhar, C Fenwick, R Austin, TJ McCarney, C Mosey, J Picken, I McMorran , D Thomson, S Broll, R Porteous, K McMinn, H Sainsbury, J Kerr and I Fenwick (captain): Reps: J Fingland, L Henderson A McMorran.
Sponsored by WC in Fields, the next home game is on November 9 against Annan for the Chisholm Cup with a noon kick-off, followed by Scotland v Japan at 2.30pm.