1st XV - Report
Cumnock 25 Moffat 3
FIVE try Cumnock summoned up a superb second half display to take a convincing victory over fellow promotion hopefuls Moffat.
It was only the second home game of the season for the Broomfield side, and initially they seemed overawed with a clumsy and disjointed first half display.
The team were hoping to build on a run of away victories which had taken them to the top of the table but it was Moffat who had the bulk of the early possession. They kept the ball well with some smart offloading, though the Cumnock defence was solid and Moffat never really looked like breaching the red-and-black line.
Cumnock were bolstered by the return of captain Campbell Reid from suspension and the big number-eight made his mark with some typically powerful surges.
However, it was Moffat who were first on the board with a penalty from in front of the posts converted by the stand-off.
Cumnock set up camp deep in Moffat territory but were unable to make the position count, through a combination of errors and robust defence from the visitors. Jayson McMillan then had a chance to pull his side level with a penalty kick, but the centre's effort never looked like going over.
Moffat were then presented with a chance to extend their lead with a longer range penalty, but it came back off the post and Cumnock were able to clear their lines.
With half-time beckoning it looked as though Moffat were going to go into the break with a slender lead. However, Cumnock came charging back with Scott Houston making a half break before David Kerr carried almost to the line before Reid took a pass off Pete Berrett to drive over for the first try of the game. The conversion was missed but Cumnock still had the lead going into the second half.
This momentum was carried over into the second half, with Cumnock looking far more composed.
Their set-piece gave them a platform to play off, with Blair McMillan putting in a dominant shift in the line-out. Wide men Gregor McMillan and Martin Thomson were also well to the fore with both making good yardage with the ball in hand.
Cumnock showed some of their handling skills with a superb line-out take from McMillan being spread across the line for Jason Robb to launch a well judged miss pass to winger Findlay Hamilton who turned on the afterburners to score in the corner.
This gave Cumnock a confidence boost, which was further lifted when a Moffat forward was sin binned for a high tackle on Berrett.
The Cumnock pack launched a driving maul from another successful line-out and drove over the try line with Kerr getting the finishing touch.
Cumnock kept the pressure on, both in attack and defence, with big tackles from Houston and Jamie Thomson keeping Moffat on the back foot.
Cumnock wrapped up a bonus point with their fourth try soon after, with Reid scoring a straightforward try straight from picking up off a close range scrum.
They then underlined their second half dominance as Kerr scored a near identical try to his first with a powerful shove from the forwards allowing the flanker to touch down.
The coaches ran the changes in the closing stages of the match and Cumnock played the game out in the right areas of the pitch, with Houston nearly breaking clear, and mark linden going close before knocking on.
With this bonus point victory Cumnock now sit nine points clear at the top of the table and this win over a Moffat team who had been unbeaten going into the game is a big step forwards in the hunt for the league title.
Cumnock now have two free weeks due to international fixtures but coach Stevie Miller is looking to keep the momentum going.
He said: “I'm delighted with the win, especially the performance in the second half.
“We need to take that kind of form into the next game against Bishopton which will be another big match for us.”
Man of the match was David Kerr but it was a fine all round display from the squad.
Team: G.Montgomery, P.Miller, D.Hunter, S.Fulton, B.McMillan, J.Thomson, D.Kerr, C.Reid, P.Berrett, S.Houston, G.McMillan, J.Robb, J.McMillan, F.Hamilton, M.Thomson.
Bench: A.McCrorie, M.Linden, K.Brady, J.Hodge, I.McGarey.