Newton Stewart 17-13 Ardrossan: Reds maintain winning start

Newton Stewart's Mark Craig battles for the try line against Ardrossan
Newton Stewart's Mark Craig battles for the try line against Ardrossan

Newton Stewart hosted Ardrossan Academicals last weekend; a stuffy team who were amongst the toughest opponents the Reds faced last season.

The visitors applied early pressure and looked to cause an upset. The Reds defence proved solid enough to keep Ardrossan off their try line, however, with 15 minutes gone, the referee gave the visitors a penalty, which was converted.

Five minutes later Newton Stewart started to apply pressure of their own. Breaking the gain-line, back row Mark Craig received the ball and fought his way to the line for his first try for the Reds. Centre Fraser Morton added the extra two points.

The Reds settled and created some difficulties for the visitors. Second row Alan Ferrie ran a great line, finding a gap in the Ardrossan defence, and then backing himself right to the line to secure the second try for Newton Stewart. Morton converted for 14-3.

As half-time approached Ardrossan fought back. Reds’ prop Ronan MacDonald was deemed to have illegally collapsed a maul and received a yellow card. Ardrossan looked to capitalise on the man advantage. Getting the nudge on in the next scrum, they drove forward until their flanker Telfer could fall down upon the ball for a pushover try just before half-time. The successful conversion narrowed the gap to 14-10 before the whistle.

The Reds stoically defended their line in the early part of the second half, thumping tackles coming over and again. They avoided a try, but couldn’t prevent a penalty for the visitors and it was all to play for at 14-13.

The next 20 minutes saw Newton Stewart come under more intense pressure and the Reds’ supporters got increasingly tense as the minutes ticked by.

However, the hosts kept their composure. Back row Jason McKie produced a textbook turnover at a critical moment to ease the pressure on his team and fire up the crowd.

Chinks started to form in the visitors’ defence and Reds clinched victory with a penalty from Morton.

Newton Stewart travel to Glasgow to play Hillhead Jordanhill where they hope to maintain their unbeaten run so far this season.