Greenock Wanderers 39 Dumfries Saints 10

If every team is allowed one bad performance in a season, let’s hope that was it, unfortunately it counts twice as it was a league and cup double header as will be the return leg at Park Farm on 3rd November. The early exchanges all went Greenock’s way, the only bit of luck for the Saints was when stand-off Devlin chipped into the corner for winger Knox to run onto, referee Morrison penalised Saints for offside, if he had played advantage it would have been 5 points instead of 3.

A clever chip and chase from Saints full back Andrew Wilson took play into the Greenock half where persistent pressure led to a penalty for Tom Hiddleston the level the score.

15 minutes in Greenock stand-off kicked ahead again for his winger to run onto, an awkward bounce led to a pile up in goal and 5 metre scrum to Greenock. With Saints defensive record from last season’s highest ever league finish, defending a set piece should not have been a problem yet Greenock centre McGroarty waltzed through three attempts at tackles to score under the posts. Stand of Devlin missed the conversion.

5 minutes later and things were looking up, from a line out on the Greenock 22 fast ball off the top from Mather and a couple of slick passes from Saints half backs Campion and Kerr gave Tom Hiddleston the ball. He delayed the pass to let Ben Johnstone wrong foot the defence with a dummy run before off- loading to a sprinting full back Wilson who got behind the centres and drew the winger before passing to Graeme Gemmell who sprinted in for superb try which Tom Hiddleston converted. Saints were on top 8 : 10.

The Greenock wing forward came off a scrum too early 30 metres in front of his posts but Tom Hiddleston missed the penalty. Ali Mather had been controlling the lineout but had the leave the field with a hip knock and Saints proceded to lose three of their own lineouts before stealing one of Greenock’s. Dumfries had a good share of pressure in the Greenock half but got no more scores and were getting turnover too frequently, a lot of it due to poor ball presentation. Half time Greenock Wanderers 8 Dumfries Saints 10.

If only it could have stopped there, from a lineout McGroarty again went through three tackles to score under this posts, this time it was converted. Greenock were in control, 2nd row Matt Gray controlled the breakdown, stand-off Devlin controlled where the game was played. Saints defence offered little protection to their line, big and deceptively slow prop Lavelle jogged to the line leaving four would be Saints tacklers lying in his wake.

Saints were penalised for not retiring when Wilson returned one of Devlin’s probing kicks to go 25 : 10 down. Greenock number 8 Robb went between 2 Saints defenders for an easy try and then Greenock wing forward Mooney intercepted a risky pass inside Saints 22 for an even easier one.

Saints 1st XV; A Wilson, A Whelan, B Johnstone, T Hiddleston, G Gemmell, J Kerr, T Campion, S Graham, F Paul, B Kennedy, A Mather, D Henderson, C Wicks, J Currie, A McGaw. Subs; G Duffy, V Sattala, S Kennedy

Tom and Ben perfecting the dummy run

Andrew draws the winger

Graeme Gemmell gets clear,

and heads for the line for a great try.

Tom with Daniel backing him

Chris Wicks and Stuart Kennedy get James Currie up for the ball