West of Scotland 2nd XV 10 – Dumfries Saints 2nd XV 15
Last Saturday Saints sent a strong side to Milngavie to face a team who dropped down from National 1 at the end of last season. With weather conditions changing by the minute the players faced torrential rain, high winds and blistering sunshine over the game and this made things very difficult for both sides to stick to any real game plan.
Saints played into the strong wind in the first half and for the first 25 minutes play ping ponged between the 22 metre lines with no side gaining any real supremacy. Good solid defence kept the home team at bay and it took a penalty to break the deadlock with the home side slotting the easy conversion. Play then continued much as before with both sides playing some decent rugby although hindered by the elements. With the half drawing to a close Saints drew level through a Birdsall penalty. With the last play of the half Birdsall added a second penalty to give Saints the lead for the first time.
Turning round with the wind at their back Saints went on the offensive and came close to breaching the home defence which was very well organised. A further Birdsall penalty stretched Saints lead and they were controlling the game. Against the run of play West capitalised on some slack Saints defence to score under the posts. The subsequent conversion put West in front which rekindled their desire and efforts.
Saints by now were playing a more expansive game and causing problems in the home defence. A string of indiscretions by the home team saw penalties for Saints but Birdsall had accuracy difficulties in the gusting wind until he landed a long range effort and Saints regained the lead. Yet another Birdsall penalty gave the Saints some breathing space. However West, not to be outdone, laid siege to the Saints half. Resolute defence kept them at bay until full time.
Whilst it wasn’t pretty rugby it was mightily effective and it was a good all round team victory for Saints, in which every player made a positive contribution. It was ground out in very difficult conditions, the right decisions were made when it mattered and the hard earned points will have a significant bearing on their season. Only down side was a recurrence of the knee injury for Euan Mack, hopefully it will prove to be less serious than first thought.
Team: G Mack, S Lethardy, S Currie, R Davidson, M Smith, P Dillon, A Birdsall, C Montagu, M Macrae, C Geddes, S Renwick, W Greene, E Mack, D Crichton, M McClatchey, M Olney, B Thomson, F Carson and F Shaw