2nd XV vs West Of Scotland FC, 17/12/16
West of Scotland Rugby Football Club was founded back in 1865 – yes, 1865!!
Founded way back in different times, their founding fathers would have been well proud of their ambitions, for, on Saturday past, they welcomed three sides to Burnbrae from Edinburgh, Kirkcaldy and near neighbours GHK.
As for ourselves, despite arriving in ample time, we looked a bit frayed around the edges – which could only be expected after over a month without a match. The fact is, despite the best intentions of those who govern our game in Scotland, the Autumn Internationals have wreaked carnage in the Club game and we find ourselves now, in mid-December, almost back to square one.
We were ring rusty, with a number of unforced errors throughout, but, despite that, had enough in the tank to secure a hard fought win against a stuffy home team.
Even the run up to kick off saw us ringing the changes, with Jack Calder looking ill at ease in the warm up – the ground too heavy to risk this thoroughbred’s hamstring! As it turned out, Rhys’s passing would have finished him, off as ‘Eubo’ spent the afternoon picking passes off his toes at fly half!!
Euan Bowen has all the touches, does he not – slotted in at ten, kept us in the opposition half with some superb kicking from hand, breaks when he wants to …. he’s a tidy footballer.
Up front, too, we had to make changes, as Brodie Smithers was unable to make it through. It was good news, in a way, for, if Brodie doesn’t play for us, he’s playing for his beloved Langholm … that’s good, too.
In Brodie’s absence Oli Williamson switched from hooker to prop, allowing the more mobile Gavin McGregor to start. Cameron Taylor, nursing a hangover methinks, completed the front row line up, and, for me, it should be our preferred route from here. Oli needs to practise his scrummaging, but there’s a prop in there trying to get out!
Despite the changes, though, all credit should be given to our own boys, who pitched up the week before Christmas and did themselves proud. We always had the edge, especially in the three-quarters, where Daniel Anderson, Ali Greig and Jack Somerville gave their opposite numbers a most uncomfortable afternoon both in attack and defence. Ali, in particular, times a tackle to perfection.
We struggled to give them quality ball for the first half, though, and it was only breakaway scores that allowed us to go into the break 24-0 up. Turning with a slight wind on our backs and the slope in our favour, I think we all expected a bit of a runaway second half, however, in fairness, our hosts stepped their game up and it was honours even for the next forty minutes.
Up front, Thomas Spowart and Willie Malcolm form a formidable partnership in the boiler house, and our back row gelled well the more the game wore on. David Devlin catches the eye in the loose, as does Scott Cubitt, but, for me, Dylan Russell provides their foil, mopping up the chores.
Final Score: West of Scotland 5, Stewart’s Melville 29.
We go into 2017 in good heart, 4th in the League.
I like this team.