Stewartry 42. McLaren 17
Stewartry increased their lead at the top of the RBS West Division Two to six points when they scored five tries in their first ever game against McLaren.
Second-placed Annan have four games in hand over the Blacks but both clubs have still to meet each other twice this season. Lenzie, in third place in the battle for the two promotion slots, are 13 points behind Stewartry but also have four games in hand.
A 1.30pm kick-off to allow the the game to be finished in time to watch the England v Scotland Six Nations international seemed to suit both teams and the Blacks went ahead in the third minute with a successful Cammy Fenwick penalty.
Within four minutes McLaren had found their legs after the long trip down from Callander and from a penalty they won the ball at the resulting ruck and broke away to score the opening try, which they converted.
Stewartry went further behind when, from the kick-off, they gave away a second penalty which McLaren converted to go 10-3 ahead.
The referee was keen on the penalty rules, awarding Stewartry the next one and marching McLaren back 10 metres for dissent. Stewartry’s quick penalty saw them stopped just short of the visitors’ line.
Cammy Fenwick added a second penalty for the Blacks before another penalty award saw Stewartry kick to the corner for the lineout which was won but the Blacks were again stopped just short of the line.
McLaren were found guilty of holding onto the ball and Cammy Fenwick kicked the points from the penalty award.
The game got bogged down in the midfield area for a time before a five-metre scrum gave Stewartry a chance but they were stopped just short again. Five minutes from half-time Stewartry upped the tempo and were rewarded with a scrum five metres out. Pushing McLaren back over their line their scrumhalf came offside to touch down for a penalty. Stewartry opted for the same again and the scrum half did the same again for the referee to award a penalty try. Cammy Fenwick added the points for the Blacks to sneak ahead 16-10 at the break.
McLaren kicked off but it was the Blacks who were first to show when veteran Paul Swalwell broke away into the visitors 22 before unloading to captain Ian Fenwick who carried on the charge before passing inside to young Rory Porteous, who scored between the posts for his second try of the season. Fenwick again converted.
Three minutes later fullback John Muir scored one of his individual tries, breaking a tackle and running through two static defenders to score between the posts. Fenwick again added the points to put the Blacks 20 points clear.
Midway through the second half Stewartry brought on subs Davidson, Hogg and Henderson, and McLaren took advantage of these changes as the Stewartry players settled in to score a second try under the posts which they converted.
From the restart Stewartry took the game back to the McLaren 22, where they elected to take a penalty scrum which they won, Fenwick picking up at number eight and releasing Porteous who passed to Stevie McCulloch who scored left of the posts for the bonus-point fourth try. The conversion was missed.
From the restart Steven Hogg won a turnover in a ruck and passed to Stevie McCulloch, who could not believe his luck with a clear run to the posts for his second try a second double in two games. Cammy Fenwick added the final points of the day for the Blacks to run out comfortable 42-17 winners in their first ever game with McLaren, who stayed on in the clubhouse to watch the International.
Stewartry: J Muir, J Fingland, C Fenwick, Danny Boyd, A Kerr, C Mosey, J Farquhar, S Broll, D Burton, I McMorran, M Smith, R Porteous, P Swalwell, S McCulloch, I Fenwick (capt), C Davidson, L Henderson, S Hogg all subs used.
Stewartry’s next home game is on February 16 with a 3pm kick-off against Waysiders/Drumpellier.