BT West Regional League Division 3
Wigtownshire RFC 1st XV 14 – Bishopton RFC 1st XV 12
The winter weather across the country on Saturday resulted in only five senior team fixtures being played. Once again the London Road ground, despite it being cold and very wet was playable, and Bishopton travelled down with snow fall back at home when they left. This was a very important game for both sides, the visitors sitting just above Wigtownshire in the League with a five point advantage were looking to open that gap further. The local lads were looking to break their three match losing run against Bishopton, and had the chance to move above them in the table if they could score four tries. With everything to play for the two teams braved the elements to see who would come out on top.
The visitors kicked the game off playing toward Ladies Walk. It was flat calm, no wind at all to interfere with play, however the pitch was wet and very soft underfoot and the icy cold rain continued to fall. Straight away Bishopton showed their intent and now well-known pace in their backs. They managed to recover the ball after a few phases of play and centre Dave Adams cut through the usually strong “Shire” defence to go behind the post for the opening score. Stand-Off Max Catto added the extra point without any difficulty. Seven points down with less than that on the clock, not the start the home side or their supporters wanted or expected, ominous to say the least. From the restart Wigtownshire recovered the ball and started to drive up the park. Unfortunately the slippery ball was dropped bringing the dynamic play to a halt. Bisphopton scrum feed did not appear any advantage as “Shire” powered them off the ball and set off again towards the line. Again as the boys rucked and passed the ball was knocked on. Once more the scrum won it back but an accidental offside halted play. For a third time the home scrum won the contest, this time crushing the opposition and getting a penalty. It was taken quickly and moved away, Jason McKie was on hand to carry over the line and touch down. Kieran Little added the conversion. With the score back level the play seemed to level out as well. The home side dangerous in possession with the driving support play making good ground and the visitors, passing chipping and kicking, using their pace out wide to go forward. Both teams into their stride now, closed down the opposition in defence and finding the ball difficult to keep hold of in attack. The “Shire” scrum was so powerful in the set piece that the visitor elected to thrown in at line out when infringements gave them the chance. But Bishopton were very dangerous in open play and made ground with their kicks keeping the pressure on the home side. “Shire” were also beginning to rack up penalties against them at the ruck. A quick tap from the visitors close to their try line resulted in Adam Paxton grabbing the ball carrier well inside the required ten metres. He was given ten minutes in the sinbin to consider that infringement while his team were left to battle on. This they did, but only just, before Paxton rejoined the action, and the scores remained level until half time. In the second half “Shire” kicked off and set about looking for a score. They managed to recover the ball and punch up the centre of the park with forwards. The backs then got in on the action, with Gregor Henry selling the dummy twice to get close to the line, but the cover managed to scrabble across and bring him down. “Shire” recycled the ball lost the ball forward as they passed it out the line. The Bishopton scrum held for once and they cleared the danger. Then very much against the run of play they went right down the park and scored a try. Using the boot they worked their way up the park, winning a lineout, the ball came to the backs. A little chip caused all sorts of problems for the defence, and Bishopton centre Rory Catto, was on hand to gather the ball and went over the line out on the wing. The conversion attempt went wide. Wigtownshire came back again, throwing everything at them. This time they got over the line, David Watson and Gregor Henry combined on a charge up the park, only to see it disallowed for an adjudged double movement when scoring. The visitors took this chance to clear the danger, then the “Yellow Card Curse” struck again. This time Jordan Little, for a high tackle, ten minutes in the bin. At the same time Bishopton front row injuries resulted in uncontested scrums, nullifying one of the most effective parts of Wigtownshire’s game, with twenty minutes still to play. Despite these setbacks “Shire” battled on and four minutes later were awarded a scrum ten mentres from the visitor’s line. Adam Paxton picked up and sprinted forward. Jason McKie was on hand to take the ball over the line when Paxton was stopped. Henry added the conversion to give “Shire” a two point lead. Both sides continued to battle on but play was very much contained to the centre area of the pitch for the remainder of the game. Neither side were able to add to the score line. When Mr. Kingston blew his whistle for the final time the score stood at Wigtownshire 14 Bishopton 12
Another good win for “Shire”, especially with them playing with fourteen men for quarter of the game and uncontested scrums being imposed half way through the second half. The penalty count and the yellow card situation continues to be of concern. They are playing some good rugby, showing real potential, as their game comes together. However they need to address these issues and must take more care in keeping possession of the ball once they have it. That being said the conditions for handling on Saturday were very poor. The way they played was a credit to both teams, producing some very entertaining rugby. Wigtownshire are back in action next Saturday when they travel to Loch Lomond to continue their league campaign.
Team: K Little, J Gallacher, J McIntosh (Capt), B McColm, E Jamieson, Campbell Reid, C Lammie; M McConnell, G Keith, D Watson, W McHarrie, G Dunlop, J Little, J McKie, A Paxton.
Replacements: S Blain, C Dickson, B Walker, R Dewar, G Henry, T Wilson J Dalrymple