Newton Stewart 22, Lenzie 8
Having gained promotion to RBS West 1. Lenzie are brimming with confidence and with a coach of some pedigree – George Breckenridge – this was an outfit that clearly fancied their chances against.
From a shoddy performance against Kilmarnock, who beat Lenzie, the Reds had plenty of detractors in the spectating ranks.
Fifteen minutes into the game they had done nothing to dispel any concerns and with the busiest person in the Newton ranks being physio Gillian Vance, Lenzie were where they wanted to be: in the home side’s half with possession. However, the only reward for their domination was a penalty and it was only until the last play of the game did they manage to advance their tally.
Twenty minutes in the Reds came to life and the remainder of the first half was all Newton Stewart.
A charged down clearance saw James Wallace just lose out on the foot race for a touchdown. From the resulting scrum five, Newton spun the ball wide but were again held up as centre Graeme McMillan carried over the line.
The next five-metre scrum was clearly driven over the line but again held up with opposition hooker Martin Williams yellow carded for his labours in try prevention.
A fourth attempt saw the home side offend but a poor clearance from Lenzie had Mark McCornick execute a text book “tackle and take” and a simple pop to Jamie Muir saw the stand-off cut through the centre channel for a fine solo effort from the 22.
Ty Wilson just missed the conversion but made amends only minutes later with a fine break and a well-timed pass to winger Liam Brawls to add a further five points to the cause.
The Reds were on a rampage and, with the confidence to throw the ball about and offload, even veteran prop Martin Wallace was in on the action with a deft flick to keep the ball alive as Newton launched waves of attacks.
Muir should have been on the score sheet with another solo break but a cynical stopping of the stand-off as he chipped his man brought nothing more than a lineout to the opposition.
The opening encounters of the second half saw Lenzie enjoy a better spell with a fairly evenly matched struggle in the midfield. What was coming was a bit of a melee in the breakdown area and first for a “team yellow” was Lenzie second-row Duncan McLean. With further yellows for both sides, the game lacked fluency.
However, around the 60-minute mark the Reds treated the crowd to as good a try as Bladnoch Park has witnessed for many seasons.
James Wallace broke from a Lenzie lineout on Newton’s 22 and started a series of six offloads on the journey to the line, with Muir on hand to complete the manoeuvre. The seven points effectively put the game beyond doubt.
A fourth try was needed for a bonus and stepped Muir again. A half break and a kick to touch put Lenzie back on their own five-metre line and in a moment of madness the visitors began to throw it about and Mark Adams was on hand to collect a fumble and claim the try.
Lenzie’s last-minute push-over try was a deserved consolation.
Testament to the home sides performance was the picking of a star player but with Richard Fiskin, William McCornick and James Wallace all getting a silver, gold has to go to Jamie Muir by virtue of his two try tally.
This week sees the Reds stay home and attempt to conquer as yet unbeaten GHK at 3pm.
Man of the match: Jamie Muir
Newton Stewart: J Vance, R Fiskin, I Matier, S Hamilton, M Adams, W McCornick, J Wallace, A Gaw, R McCornick, J Muir, J McWhirter, M McCornick, G McMillan, L Brawls, T Wilson. Subs: B Haigh, M Wallace, D Skimming, D Montgomery.