Scottish 2XV League – Division 4 (West)
Ardrossan Accies RFC 2nd XV – 10 Dumfries Saints 2nd XV – 16
For their final league game of 2008 the seconds made their way up the A76 to North Ayrshire to play Ardrossan. They knew a vital away win would cement their position at the business end in what is becoming a very competitive league and see them challenging for one of the top positions. With the bottom end of the league equally competitive and only 5 points between fifth and tenth Ardrossan’s position at the foot of the table is by no means viewed by them as disaster.
The seconds took a very young side to meet a stuffy Ardrossan side clearly planning to turn over their visitors and gain valuable league points in the process.
In a young, fast, fit and technically very good backline positional changes were rung in an effort to get the most from them. Will Duncan started at halfback partnered by Burgess. Davidson and Bryson slotted into the centre with Smith and Carson filling the wing berths. Minty took up his old role at full back
Up front a mixture of youthful inexperience and some old heads took on a strong Ardrossan pack. Debutante Kevin Sturgeon started at loose head with Strawbridge on the tight head supported Macrae who had moved up from flank to fulfil the hooking role. Captain Andy Clanachan partnered Charlie Gallagher in what was a very solid boiler house. The back row trio of McAndrew, Morrison and Hanekom completed the pack with a mixture of youthful guile and good solid experience.
In dark gloomy conditions the speed of play confounded onlookers with the visitors commanding the first half and amassing a massive territorial and possession advantage. Slack finishing and some poor decision making saw the seconds only reap the reward of two penalties both slotted by Will Duncan. Despite this massive advantage the seconds found it difficult to put points on the board. With the Ardrossan side only in the Saints half once in the half they kicked a penalty much against the run of play and turned round only 6-3 down and all to play for.
After some harsh half time words spelling out the benefit of doing simple things well in treacherous conditions, and a major reshuffle of the back line, Drennan replaced the under the weather Burgess, the seconds restarted with a vengeance.
Good driving play and handling took them towards their opponent’s line on a number of occasions but as in the first half the final pass would go astray. They received their just rewards ten minutes in when Grant Drennan crashed over under the posts from Duncan’s neat feed. Duncan converted and shortly afterwards slotted another penalty to open up a 13 point lead.
With loss of McAndrew half way through the second half Carson moved into wing forward with another debutante Richard McCormack taking his wing berth. An indiscretion by Morrison saw yellow and the seconds were placed under great strain particularly up front. Much against the run of play the Ardrossan backs finally broke from deep in their half and scored under the posts with the conversion leaving the game finely balanced at 10 -16 to the seconds.
With no further subs available a hand injury to Grant Drennan saw Burgess resuming and the seconds down to 14 men for the remainder of the match. Tremendous defence including crucial tackles from Smith and new boy McCormick and another match saving smother tackle by Richie Davidson was enough to see out the game and record a good away win.
Minty; Smith; Davidson; Bryson: Carson; Burgess; Duncan; Sturgeon; Macrae; Strawbridge; Gallagher; A Clanachan (C) ; Morrison; McAndrew and Hanekom.
Replacements: Drennan and McCormick