Hard day at the office for Shire’s new boys

BT West Regional League Division 3

Bishopton RFC 36

Wigtownshire RFC 10

Wigtownshire made the trip to Bishopton on Saturday with an understrength side. Injuries, combined with call offs, due to work and other commitments, to such an extent that calling the game off seemed very likely.

However determined not to incur the three point deduction in the league that would have resulted from a cancellation, “Shire” pulled a team together and made the journey north. No fewer than six players in the squad were making their league début for the club, a big ask against a side who are going well this season, sitting near the top of the table. Their woes were further compounded when they were held up on their journey, leaving only a short time to warm up before the kick off.

From the start Bishopton showed the reason for their current league position. They put the visitors under pressure straight away. Big runners carried the ball to Wigtownshire, crashing forward through the under prepared defence. With only five minutes on the clock “Shire” suffered another setback. Rookie centre Jason Gallacher stoutly defending the line sustained a gash to his chin. This resulted in his leaving the park to seek medical treatment and the “Shire” three quarters rejigging their line and using the bench very early in the match. “Bish” sustained their attacks with their props showing good pace with ball and hand and a No. 8 with both size and experience on his side. Despite a solid scrum and good line out jumping the “Shire” just weren’t getting the rub of the green. Clearance kicks were going straight out or even backwards, balls were being dropped or knocked on when they did get the change to run. Bishopton on the other hand were capitalizing on the errors. When the referee blew for half time they had scored three tries and one conversion, to have a comfortable 17 point lead.

The second half started very much in the same vein as before the break. Nothing seemed to work and “Bish” barged there way over the “Shire” line three times to score without reply, adding two conversions. To their credit, despite the difficulties and ever increasing score line they had faced, the visitor never gave up. They worked hard for each other, tackling, rucking and scrumming to win ball and try and turn the game around. Eventually their efforts were rewarded. Flanker Jon McLellan broke up the wing at pace. When he was stopped, Prop Ross Drysdale was on hand to take the ball on. Running like a winger he sprinted towards the line, only to be stopped short by a try saving tackle. The “Shire” support arrived together to recover the ball and it was Craig Dickson who crashed over the line for the score. Unfortunately the conversion attempt slipped wide of the posts. This score seemed to pull the team together. On the front foot at last things started to go right. They won and kept possession, driving forward to the line. Bishopton now feeling the pressure had to work hard to keep the Wigtownshire boys out. They regrouped and held them up on the line, but “Shire” kept working away. Eventually Jason McKie broke the stalemate, a powerful drive at pace took him through the “Bish” players and over the line to score. Once again the conversion kick failed to find its target. The visitors were now in the ascendance but all too late in the day. It was now the clock’s turn to be against them as the referee brought the game to a close before any more points could be scored. The final score standing at 36 points to 10 in favour of the home side.

This was a hard day at the office for the inexperienced “Shire” squad. Nevertheless there were a number of positives from the game. The club fulfilled the fixture, something that was in real doubt a few weeks before. Despite all the difficulties, late arrival, early injury, inexperienced players, and things just not going right the players worked hard for each other, they showed heart and determination in the face of adversity. Coach for the day, Eddie Stevenson, said “You can’t fault the boys for their effort. They worked very hard and were coming together near the end. The new boys got valuable game time, which is good for the future. I am proud of them all, despite the final score line. Hopefully we can build from here.” Wigtownshire are back in league action, next Saturday, 7th November 2015, at London Road, Stranraer, against Loch Lomond RFC.

Team: K Little, S Cameron, J Gallacher, R Forsyth, E Jamieson, B McColm, J Dalrymple; B Graham, G Keith, R Drysdale, C Dickson, G Dunlop, J McLellan, R Dewar, J McKie. Replacements: A Murray, W Doyle, D Kiltie, A O’Hare. Coach: E Stevenson