1st XV vs Kelso: Match Report
Sangster was penalised for ‘pulling down’ a maul on the right touchline, and the referee held his hand aloft to signify advantage being played. Cooper directed a cross-kick to David Gobby, the Kelso left winger. Hanning and Gobby challenged for the ball, and Hanning won the ball in the air in the tight dead ball area in front of the Kelso pavilion. The referee deemed that Mike had deliberately knocked the ball directly out of play, and also deemed that a try would probably have been scored. He duly awarded a penalty try and two yellow cards.
To go back to the decision, it could be argued that, once the advantage had been taken and a score resulted, was that not sufficient advantage without producing a further yellow for Sangster? Mike Hanning, also, had a pretty good case for the defence, in that his challenge was at the edge of the dead ball area – and, finally, would the Kelso winger (with all due respect) have caught the ball cleanly and grounded it before it crossed the dead ball line?
As is now customary, the referee and his assistants took an interminable time to decide, and we were left with 13 players for ten minutes. Kelso were handed a life-line with this decision, but, in the event, were only able to score a further five points.
Before this incident we had accumulated thirty two points. Willie Aitken dotted down in the opening minutes after good continuity play, just as the visiting support were digesting the fact that McCashin had returned at 10 and that Jon Hamblin and Scott Brewster were both out.
Fraser Morrison, drafted into the second row with Ruaridh Stewart, repeated the move to score in the same spot – in front of the changing rooms. Both our wingers were excellent, offering themselves as options all over the place, and Morrell showed great determination as he touched down again in front of the clubhouse. Nick McCashin eventually found his range to convert Mike Hanning’s bonus point try.
The backs were playing well, and, if a stand-off can make a clean outside break, all of a sudden the rest of the threequarter line is through on the full-back. This scenario occurred for the best ‘try’ of the half, but the stand side assistant referee had spotted a previous misdemeanour. The half finished with Whittingham rounding off another slick handling move to score in the corner.
Mike Hanning scored our sixth try minutes after the restart, again after a neat back line interchange.
We were second best in the set piece, so, although we took our chances when we had possession, we were never in control of the ball, and the second half just petered out after the penalty try. We were also at the wrong end of an 11-3 penalty count. We made less mistakes with the ball in hand, and, therefore, had the majority of the scrum put-ins. This was a bit of a mixed blessing, as our newly assembled front five struggled at times. The continuity rugby was a joy, however, and the options for attack appeared all over the field.
It looked an enjoyable game to play, and Kelso later acknowledged what a difficult side we can be to play against, because – according to them – we are always off-side, scrap for everything and do the unexpected. ’O wad some Power the gift tae gie us …’
A great team effort, then, but a special mention must go to Nick McGlinchey, who, when he is introduced, brings an edge to the forwards.
Watsonians on Saturday – be there!