Newton Stewart RFC 77
Helensburgh RFC 3
BT West Division 1
With the previous week’s game cancelled due to an unplayable pitch in Oban, Newton Stewart RFC went into this week’s match against Helensburgh full of enthusiasm and looking forward to what they hoped would be a more comfortable game than their last.
Conditions were perfect: the ground was dry and firm, the sun shining with barely any breeze - a rare treat for October at Bladnoch Park.
With some of the old guard missing from the team-sheet this week, the squad was comprised of many young and upcoming players. The youth factor certainly gave the team plenty of energy and Helensburgh RFC were put to the slaughter with a fast-paced game, with plenty of line breaking runs and breakthrough tries.
The scores themselves are too great in number to describe in detail. William McCornick, playing prop no less, scored an impressive three tries, as did captain James Wallace in the back row. Returning from injury this week after a month off, Wallace was impressive as ever and showed no signs of rustiness.
Scrum-half Russell Morton, making his debut for the team, scored two tries also. This was a confident first performance for the youngster, who was able to show he had pace to burn when he ran in his second try from close to the halfway line.
Hooker Thomas MacDonald had a superb performance throughout the game. Dominant in the scrum, he also showed fantastic presence in the loose making some important carries and scoring a try in the process.
Fraser Morton at centre got a try in the second half, running a good supportive line behind substitute Ryan McNeill up the near wing, while back row Mark McCornick gave another impressive performance on route to scoring the last try of the game. McCornick’s powerful tackling and strength in the ruck is so consistent that it becomes expected, but his contribution shouldn’t be overlooked.
Scrum half Jamie Muir scored a try during the game too, making for a final tally of twelve tries for Newton Stewart. Responsible for the kicking duties, he also added the extra two points in seven of his conversion attempts, plus a penalty kick, giving Muir a personal total of twenty-two points.
Helensburgh were unable to make any real impact on the game. They had spells of possession, which they had to fight hard for at the breakdown, but the Reds defence was solid and there was no way through for them. A single penalty kick was their only score of the day.
Man of the match has many contenders this week. James Wallace and William McCornick were both important ball carriers and impressed in defence too. Fraser Morton put in a creditable performance at centre, maturing into his role in the back line, and hooker Thomas MacDonald was nothing short of superb this week.
It was centre Liam Brawl however who takes the accolade this week. A real presence in the back line, both in attack and defence. There were many other names on the scoresheet, however Brawl was responsible for many of them being there with his incisive running and perfectly weighted passing.
Next weekend Newton Stewart travel to Maybole to face rivals Carrick RFC. Last season saw some tough battles between these two teams, and with Carrick sitting only a point ahead of the Reds in the league table currently, albeit with a game in hand for Newton Stewart, this is a big match for both sides. With such a comprehensive win under their belts this week however, the Reds can go into the game with confidence.