Newton Stewart RFC played host last weekend to visitors from Lenzie RFC. With the home team sitting second in the league and Lenzie battling for fourth, the fixture was set to be of a high calibre and a potentially close battle.
A superb number of supporters turned out to watch the match in some unusually dry and pleasant weather.
As the game kicked off the Reds immediately made their intentions clear. Establishing possession they set about putting some early points on the board and did so via a try from back row David Montgomery.
An injury to scrum half Robbie McCornick forced him to retire early from the game and be replaced by David Sommerville who had started at fullback. Some quick reshuffling meant Tyrell Wilson moved from the wing to fullback and back row James Wallace moved out to the wing while Russell Gaw came into the back row to make up the numbers once more.
With early nerves settled, Newton Stewart relaxed and began to enjoy the good weather and the firm ground it allowed. Clean passing, hard and direct running and some good offloading play brought more rewards. Tries from second row Thomas MacDonald, stand off Jamie Muir, back row Mark McCornick and centre Liam Brawl made for a fruitful first half for the home side.
Further injuries to centre Craig Johnstone and prop Kit Wright enforced more substitutions and reshuffling. Hooker Richard Fiskin moved to prop to replace Wright, whilst second row Thomas MacDonald moved in to hook. Duncan Skimming came on from the bench to takes MacDonald’s place in the second row. Meanwhile with Johnstone removed from the back line, Jame Wallace now took up his third position of the game at centre, Mark McCornick moved out from flanker to the wing and Alisdair Gaw came in to the forward pack.
With multiple members of the Red Army playing out of their favoured positions, the display of versatility that followed in the second half was impressive. Lenzie had little possession and despite their relatively good standing in the league this year, were completely outplayed by their hosts.
Second half tries came for David Montgomery, Jamie Muir, Liam Brawls, Tyrell Wilson, Stuart McAllister and replacement Ryan McNeil. This was McNeil’s second appearance for Newton Stewart and his first touch of the ball in this game. The cheer that followed his try was immense.
All kicking in this match was undertaken by fullback come scrum half David Sommerville. He had a good day at the office, scoring eight of his eleven conversion attempts and bringing the final score to an impressive 71-0.
This was a fabulous display of both the skills possessed by this predominantly young Newton Stewart team and the incredible team spirit they share. Despite the personnel changes and shuffling of positions enforced by injuries, every member of the team pulled together and worked for one another.
Some impressive running from Tyrell Wilson and Liam Brawls resulted in a couple of great tries, however it was the multifaceted play from James Wallace which really caught the eye and earned him Man of the Match this week. During this match he played at no less than three positions and shone in them all. Some immense tackling and strong ball carrying which are regular features of his play were transferred from the back row to the back line with consummate ease.
This weekend Newton Stewart take on league leaders Glasgow Accies RFC in what will be their biggest match of the year so far. Essentially a battle for promotion, the Red Army will be buoyed by this impressive win and their consecutive clean sheets. There can be no doubt they are ready for the challenge. The game is at Bladnoch Park with kick off at 3pm.