To use an old cliché this was, indeed, a game of two halves. The first 40 minutes was dominated by East Kilbride while Irvine had the better of the second period, particularly the last 10 minutes.
With only 12 minutes on the clock EK were 15 points up through tries from Calum Aitken and Ian Brown, a penalty from the boot of Roddy Beaton and his conversion of Ian Brown’s try. Scoring at this rate the home team looked capable of accumulating points more quickly than the men in white on an adjacent pitch were accumulating runs!
Having created a 15 point cushion the EK backs decided it was time to try a few moves that may, or may not, have been practiced in training. While these did present the Irvine defence with some problems they did not produce further scores. EK had to wait a further 10 minutes before scoring again, a penalty this time converted from around 40 metres by Roddy Beaton. Strangely EK had had an earlier opportunity from a more favourable position but eschewed this and chose to kick to touch instead. The final 10 minutes proved profitable for Calum Aitken who crossed the line twice to bring his tally for the day to 3 tries. Both were converted by Roddy Beaton.
Having scored 32 points without reply in the first half EK might have been expected to build on this but, sadly, this was not to be the case. Irvine attacked the EK line from the start and when EK were penalised and went a man down as Rian Anderson was sent to the bin for 10 minutes the visitors gained their first points; a converted try. EK’s response was almost immediate as 3 minutes later Ian Brown crossed the line for his second try of the afternoon converted by Roddy Beaton. Irvine then came back at East Kilbride and it took a try saving tackle from Mark Ellison to prevent them from scoring a second try. EK’s next try, 21 minutes into the half, was really something special and seldom seen at Torrance House. Spectators have become accustomed to the sight of Paul Rosie beating off defenders to score from close range but on this occasion, having beating off defenders inside his own 22, he then had a full 70 metres to run to make the touch down. He did so with Irvine players in his wake but unable to lay a hand on him.
A little while later the match ground to a halt as Irvine coach remonstrated with the referee leaving him (the referee) no option other than to direct him (the Irvine coach) to leave the touch line.
EK’s third and final try of the day, scored by Calum Simpson 28 minutes into the half, came from good back play following a strong drive at a set scrum. Roddy Beaton’s conversion made the score East Kilbride 51, Irvine 7.
The final 10 minutes of the game turned out to be a nightmare for the home side. Replacements Craig Ferguson and Chris McLellan both received yellow cards and Irvine took advantage of their numerical superiority to run in three tries, two of which were converted, to make the final score East Kilbride 51, Irvine 26.
Although this was a comfortable victory for EK it is also the case that with a more ruthless edge to their game they could have scored more points and conceded fewer. Once again there were many examples of good individual skills. Aiden Stott’s mazy running posed problems for the opposition, the catch and give at Line Outs proved most effective, Mark Ellison did sterling work at full back and Ian Brown ran at the opposition with pace and power. It was, however, defensive frailty during the closing minutes of the game that allowed Irvine to gain a try bonus and this aspect of the game will have to be addressed for the 1st xv to be successful next season, the season during which the club will celebrate becoming 50 years of age.
Man of the match – for his 3 tries and work around the field Calum Aitken is EK’s man of the match.
Finally; Rian Anderson (Bully) has indicated that Saturday’s game would be his last as a first xv player. Bully has been the 1st xv hooker for longer than he, or anyone else, would care to remember. He’ll be a tough act to follow.
Team: C. Hastie, R. Anderson, E Beaton, A. Dalgliesh, P. Rosie, A. Irvine, R. Beaton & C. Aitken. A. Stott & R. Murray. I. Brown, R. Greenfield, C. Simpson, G. Hagerty and M. Ellison.
Replacements: E. Aitken, C. Ferguson, G. Dryburgh and C. McLellan
Updated 21:05 - 20 May 2018 by Christopher Mclellan