BT West Regional League Division 3
Loch Lomond RFC 19
Wigtownshire played their first home league game of the season at London Road on Saturday. The previous four scheduled fixtures having been called off due to visiting teams being short of players.
Loch Lomond found themselves in a similar situation this weekend but came anyway, despite the detour via Newton Stewart to get to Stranraer.
On arrival “Shire” made up the visitors numbers to a full side from their replacements and for the first time since the 3rd September rugby fans had senior rugby to watch. Coach Campbell McGregor was more than generous with loan choices, providing a good mix of experience and ensuring it was likely to be a stiff contest on the field. This display of the best traditions of rugby sportsmanship was even rewarded by the atrocious weekend weather drying up for the duration of the game, at times the sun even managed to break through.
Loch Lomond kicked off playing with the wind towards Ladies Walk and from the start exerted pressure on the home side. They made full use of the elements to ensure “Shire” remained in their own half and it took a full ten minutes before the home side managed to work their way down the field and onto the Loch Lomond five metre line. From here they tried to break out but a short time later Jason McKie showed his pace barging up the park breaking tackles before off-loading to Wullie McHarrie who burst over the line for the first try of the game. Kieran Little added the conversion. From the restart “Lomond” came out all guns blazing this time they did not waste the opportunity.
They drove up the park and sucked in the “Shire” defence. When they released the ball it was their front row out on the wing who had an overlap and passed the ball well to go in for a try, the conversion was added. Wigtownshire came back from the kick off, with hard straight running, trying to break through but the “Lomond” defence held and when they recovered the ball made use of the wind.
A good line chase put the “Shire” last man under pressure and he carried the ball into his own dead ball area and touched down. The visitors now on “Shire” five metre line with scrum feed had great field possession. Once again they moved quick scrum ball out to the wing to score and take the lead, however the conversion kick fell short. At the restart Jason McKie gave chase and jumping high to take the ball putting his team very much on the front foot. “Lomond” tackled and rucked but the “Shire” machine was on a charge towards the line.
Eventually they were stopped short of their goal, but quick ruck ball restarted the move along the back line. A rush defence came out but quick hands and some unorthodox through the legs passing got the ball to Kieran Little. He headed towards the line, but the cover tackle came in, preventing his score. John Dalrymple scooped the ball up to drive in and finish the job. The conversion was missed and the score remained even at 12 points each until half time.
The second half saw the Wigtownshire Club Captain Richard McCrindle take to the field for the first time this season. It also gave them the wind advantage. Neither points seemed to affect the visitors who very much stuck to their game plan. It took the home side a full ten minutes once again to gain an advantage. Adam Paxton was in possession of the ball at the end of a lengthy drive. He powered his way over the “Lomond” line despite the close attention of tacklers to score a try. The conversion attempt missed its mark. Once again Loch Lomond came back strong, testing the Wigtownshire team and putting pressure on their line. Eventually the home side made use of the elements. In the space of five minutes they scored three tries. All started the same way. A long high kick into the opposition half with a good chase.
This tactic worked as first John Dalrymple, then John McIntosh collected the ball to go over the “Lomond” line to score. The final one was down to Jason McKie who showed his footballing skills to kick the ball forward and drop on it from the last of the three. McKie also managed to add the conversion of his own try to the tally. In the final minutes of the game Loch Lomond managed to add to their points with another try and conversion before Referee Rod Glass brought the game to an end.
It was great to see rugby being played at London Road after such a long break. The local side have had such a stop start beginning to the season, only playing every other week, it will do the team good to get more consistent game time. “Shire” are presently seventh in their league having played five games, however the blight of cancelled games has impacted on all of the clubs and things will not become clear in the league until well into next year. Wigtownshire are back in action next Saturday, 14th November 2015, when they travel to Uddingston. They will need to be switched on from the start for that game, as their opposition have had some sizable wins in their six games so far, but will be smarting from two recent defeats and looking to return to their previous form.
Team: T Wilson, R Heron, K Little, J McIntosh, S Cameron, B McColm, J Dalrymple; B Graham, C Dickson, D Watson, W McHarrie, G Dunlop, J McKie, J Little, A Paxton.
Replacements: G Keith (LL), R McCreadie (LL), W Doyle (LL), R Forsyth (LL), A O’Hare (LL), R McCrindle (Capt). Coach: C McGregor