Ayrshire Storm - Report
|Easterhouse Panthers||22||vs||52||Ayrshire Storm|
Easterhouse Panthers 22-52 Ayrshire Storm
Ayrshire Storm were made to work but ultimately ran out comfortable opening day winners over Easterhouse Panthers at Nethercraigs.
The Storm included a number of new faces in their lineup, including Ross Bryan, formerly of the now defunct Carluke Tigers, and Welsh fly-half danyl davies, fresh from a 28-try season with Irvine in rugby union - both of whom did their bit to keep the scoreboard ticking over with a try and six conversions and a brace of tries respectively. Winger Connor Turnbull also looked lively and weighed in with two tries of his own.
Both sides had a look at each other in the opening minutes before the Panthers moved into the lead with the first incisive attack of the game. Prop Sam Herron, one of several debutants for the home side, made good headway after securing brian hendry's fifth-tackle kickthrough, and on the subsequent possession fly-half Indio Singh eluded the visiting defence before sending lock forward Nathan Delgado over under the posts. Singh added the extras to make it 6-0.
Good defence by the visitors on the kick-off reception forced a knock-on, and the resulting scrum set the platform for the Storm's first try of the afternoon on 8 minutes. The chance looked to have gone when the Panthers turned the ball over but the referee ruled an illegal strip, and from the resulting penalty Ross Bryan crashed over to the right of the posts. He was unable to add the conversion however, leaving the home side with a slender 6-4 lead.
It took almost twenty minutes for the next score to arrive as play raged from end to end, and when it did it went the way of the visitors. The Panthers were ruled to have knocked on as they tried to build out of defence, and to add insult to injury they were then penalised at the resulting scrum. brian hendry crossed to the left of the posts for the first of a hat trick after a patient spell of try-line pressure, with Bryan adding the conversion.
Minutes later the Storm were over again. They worked the kick-off possession upfield, after which Danyl Davies' fifth tackle punt and Nathan Murray's intelligent chase saw the home side pinned back deep in their own half. The visitors then turned over possession and sent Connor Turnbull over for an unconverted try in the right corner to take the score to 14-6 in the Storm's favour after half an hour.
Home heads were in home hands four minutes later as the Panthers passed up a glorious opportunity to reduce the arrears, when Singh's pass failed to find a team-mate with the try line beckoning. However the fly-half made no mistake at the next time of asking, finding second row forward Glyn Butler, who was left with a routine touchdown. Full back Steven McCarter, taking over the kicking duties for the home side, brought the Panthers back within two points with a minute to go to half time.
The visitors restored their eight-point advantage in injury time however, with a near carbon copy of their previous try, pinning the home side back with the kick-off and forcing a turnover. This time it was centre Ruchin Filander who did the honours, and Bryan's conversion left the half time score at 20-12 to the Storm.
The visitors all but wrapped up the match in the first ten minutes of the second half with two well-taken tries. Their chance of the first looked to have gone when they were penalised for a high tackle after the punt, but they turned over possession once again and on the resulting set brian hendry powered over in the left corner for his second try of the afternoon.
Then, on the set after the kick-off, the Panthers forced a knock-on, but illegally in the eyes of the referee, and from the resulting penalty set Filander released Davies for the first of his two tries. Bryan converted both to give the Storm a 32-12 lead.
The home side were not finished yet though, and hit back with a try of their own on 52 minutes. They forced a penalty as the Storm looked to work upfield once more, and from the resulting set, Singh scored under the posts to give McCarter a textbook conversion.
For the third time in the game however, the Panthers conceded a try at the other end within minutes, when Connor Turnbull - having served due warning shortly before when he had to be forced into touch on a similarly dangerous run - raced up the right flank and round behind the posts for his second try of the afternoon. Bryan's conversion restored the visitors' twenty-point cushion.
Back came the home side once more. This time they were the beneficiaries of turnover possession, and forced a penalty which was taken quickly by Singh. The resulting set was initially well defended by the Storm, but they then conceded a second penalty, and on the last tackle of the subsequent set Singh gathered his kick ahead to score his second try of the afternoon in the left corner. Winger Iain Allen had assumed the kicking duties for the Panthers now, but was unable to add the conversion.
Once again the visitors replied within minutes of the restart. Not for the first time, it came as a result of turnover possession after a good defensive set from a kick play. After some patient probing on the Panthers' try line Hendry completed his hat trick, crossing in the left corner for a try which Bryan was unable to convert on this occasion, although with only fourteen minutes remaining the Storm's 42-22 lead was looking decisive.
The Storm completed the scoring with two late tries. First, on 74 minutes, Hendry released substitute winger Martin Sneddon who scored in the left corner. Then, in injury time, shortly after Turnbull's pass to Hendry had been ruled forward, Davies raced in under the posts to bring up the fifty and give Bryan a straightforward conversion to make the final score 52-22 to the visitors.
Next up the Storm entertain Aberdeen Warriors who will be looking to get back to winning ways after a 40-16 defeat at home to champions Edinburgh Eagles, while the Panthers travel to Haddington to take on newcomers East Lothian Hawks.
EASTERHOUSE PANTHERS - S McCarter; G Johns, S Riley,
R Cuthbertson, I Allen; I Singh, C McGlane; S Herron, C Fisher,
I Waterston, S Connolly, G Butler, N Delgado. Interchange:
F McTaggart, P Chojnacki, R McConville, M Majewski, B Boom,
AYRSHIRE STORM - G Powrie; C Turnbull, R Filander, S Robertson,
N Murray; D Davies, R Festorazzi; G Munro, R Bryan, A Holmes,
S Rodgers, T Wright, B Hendry. Interchange: N Savage, J O'Neill,
M Sneddon, C Taylor.