West of Scotland 29 Dumfries Saints 24
On a bitterly cold day and heavy pitch Saints took on West of Scotland against whom we have faired well at home and badly away in previous encounters. West started strongly and maintained pressure on the Saints defence until the first try which was converted taking the score to 7 nil with as many minutes played.
The play went on 20 minutes before Saints got any decent possession in the West half and after some excellent support play Zeke Dyson scores under the posts with John Carlisle converting, 7 : 7.
Saints saw very little of the ball in the rest of the half until a penalty kicked into the corner by Jordan Kerr gave them a simply won line out then fast hands back across for Andy Whiteford to score in the other corner. The conversion was missed and that score took the teams to half time with Saints up 7 : 12.
From the restart West failed to kick 10 Saints won the scum, kicked to touch stole West’s lineout, Sam Hiddleston got behind the defence and great interplay between Rory Steele and Keagan Jones put John Carlise over for a try that he converted, 7 : 19.
The large travelling support thought the floodgates were about to open but West had other ideas. They picked up the tempo and from a tap penalty just inside the Saints half scored an outstanding try with fast hands terrific support running finished off by scrum half Fisken who started it, the conversion was good and it was 14 : 19.
Saints normally sure footed defence started to leak badly with a stocky but fast West Centre running a good angle, breaking 3 tackles to score under the posts, the conversion took the score to 21 : 19.
With West’s tails up their confidence soared and some dazzling passing turned the Saints defence inside out for their right wing to score in the corner. The conversion was missed and at 26 : 19 Saints worked their way back into the game and started to make inroads into the West half. However in one of the few visits to the Saints half in the final quarter West won a penalty for a high tackle and extended their lead to 29 : 19.
There was no way Saints were leaving this field without any points and after a line-break by Zeke Dyson, Sam Hiddleston finished the move under the posts. Unfortunately there was a “misunderstanding” between the referee and John Carlisle and conversion was disallowed, but the Saints got 1 bonus point for scoring 4 tries and another for being within 7 points of their victors.
Squad: Gareth McCall, Zeke Dyson, Tom Martin, Scott Goodwin, Mark McClatchey, Michael Thomson, James Clyde, Ryan Cruikshank, Gavin Wilson, Finlay Miller, Alan Birdsall, Jordan Kerr, Keagan Jones, John Carlisle, Sam Hiddleston, Andy Whiteford, Rory Steele, Jack Currie.