Newton Stewart kept their promotion hopes on track with an important 36-7 win over West of Scotland in National League Three.
Running out for the first time on their newly renovated pitch, the Reds took control early on and looked the more dangerous team despite their weather-related disadvantage.
Ten minutes in back row James Wallace made an impressive break through the field before forcing an offload under pressure, which captain Mark McCornick scooped up to crash over the line and open the scoring. Full-back Jack Gaw kick’s fell short in the gale force wind and it remained 5-0.
A prolonged spell of pressure from the Reds finished with a sublime try on the half hour mark. Winger Liam Brawls cut through the West of Scotland defensive line perfectly before passing out wide to second row Alan Ferrie who demonstrated excellent strength to finish the try. An amazing conversion kick from Jack Gaw found its way over to add the extras for 12-0.
The restart saw the visitors come out all guns blazing. After a couple of infringements from Newton Stewart, West were awarded a penalty on the 5m line. Choosing to go for the scrum, they put a squeeze on and the Reds faltered – another penalty being given away resulted in the referee awarding a penalty try. The score was suddenly less comfortable at 12-7.
A timely penalty from Jack Gaw after a high tackle came in against MacDonald stretched the Reds’ lead to 15-7 and thereafter, the home side gradually drew away from their opponents. Alan Ferrie scored a second try, once again supporting an incisive run from Brawls, with Russell Morton helping to bundle him over the line.
Scrum-half Robbie McCornick wrestled his way over next to earn the bonus point, before James Wallace scored a try of his own right on the final whistle. Jack Gaw converted all three to finish his game with a remarkable kicking record given the conditions.
The victory maintained Newton Stewart’s promotion push with West of Scotland falling ten points behind in fourth. Ardrossan remain a threat, five behind with three games to play.
Newton Stewart are next in action at St Boswell’s on March 16.