5 months ago
By Christopher Mclellan
Rugby 1 - The Elements 0
Some of us are old enough to remember travelling to Helensburgh at the start of the sevens' season (what's that? you may ask) when the sun shone and Kenny Eggo found islands of firm turf on which he outpaced opposition defences to help us bring the trophy back to East Kilbride - heady days indeed!
Back to reality. Following a short spell of dry weather it rained all morning on Saturday 10th March leaving the Helensburgh pitch wet and muddy. However, when two teams want to play rugby and the referee can see no reason for them not to the game will go ahead; it did, and a very entertaining game it proved to be.
EK kicked off and went straight on to the offensive. Helensburgh held out and when an uncharacteristically loose pass from Paul Rosie was intercepted the home team moved play to the EK end of the field. EK then returned to the Helensburgh end of the field and with 15 minutes on the clock Richie Murray intercepted a loose pass to score the first of EK's 7 tries. Scott Shankie converted.
EK dominated set pieces. They drove the Helensburgh pack at every set piece and though they (Helensburgh) managed to keep the ball their scrum half and no. 8 were always under pressure. At the line outs East Kilbride, with Roddy Beaton very much to the fore, took the majority of Helensburgh's throw ins. It was, therefore, not altogether surprising that when EK had a scrum with their own put in close to the Helensburgh the result would be a push over try. It was when 25 minutes into the game Calum Aitken claimed the touch down. Scott Shankie converted. Ten minutes later EK attacked again and this time Ian Brown went over in the left corner to make the score Helensburgh 0- East Kilbride 19 and this is how it remained until half time.
Being a cold wet day the players retreated to the dressing rooms to warm up and the man at the hamburger stall was doing good business.
The game resumed with EK seeking the bonus point try. They didn't have to wait long as after some good interplay involving backs and forwards Chris McLellan touched down 6 minutes into the half. Minutes later, when EK were awarded a penalty, Scott Shankie, seeing Ian Brown free on the left side of the field, chose to cross kick in preference to going for touch. Ian came close but didn't quite manage to get the touch down.
Helensburgh had not given up. The game flowed from end to end but EK always had the upper hand. A couple of big kicks from Calum Simpson helped EK to return to the opposition's half of the field. It was, however, from a quick penalty taken by Aiden Stott that EK moved the play from their 22 to the opposite end of the field where Roddy Beaton touched down for a try that he converted himself.
Further scoring came after 74 minutes when Calum Aitken touched down following a break by the strong running Calum Simpson and Mark Ellison finished off a move started by Connor Wilson to make the final score Helensburgh 0- East Kilbride 41.
This was another satisfying performance by East Kilbride with a bonus point victory secured on a day when conditions made open, running rugby difficult. Helensburgh were more competitive than the score would suggest and certainly contributed to what was a good game of rugby.
Every EK player showed courage and commitment to overcome the difficult conditions that prevailed on the day. Paul Rosie made his usual bullocking runs. Ian Brown had what was a quiet game by his standards but always looked threatening when attacking. Aiden Stott jinked and side stepped effectively to set up attacking positions. Scott Shankie ran and ran until cramp forced him from the field about 15 minutes from full time. Roddy Beaton had an excellent game pinching opposition ball at line outs and always providing close support. EK man of the match for his all-round hard work and endeavour goes to Connor Wilson who has certainly been making a name for himself in recent weeks.
The day finished in the Helensburgh clubhouse where players and supporters alike gathered to watch Ireland v. Scotland. The atmosphere in the clubhouse was everything one looks for in a rugby club. Helensburgh's performances over the season see them at the foot of the league with 0 points and likely to be relegated. On the evidence of yesterday they're a good club with some decent players, a positive attitude that embodies the spirit of the game of rugby and a very good set up. If, as seems inevitable, they are relegated at the end of this season it will be a shame to lose them from our league.
Updated 10:30 - 14 Mar 2018 by Christopher Mclellan