EK 2nds played some brilliant rugby to beat Greenock Wanderers 2nds in the West Regional Reserve League Promotion Play Off Final, at neutral venue Old Anniesland.
The result was never really in doubt after 8 minutes, when centre Gary Thornton
ran 30 metres round and through the Greenock defence that simply did not want to tackle him. Bert Blackwood
converted to make it 7-0.
It took another 10 minutes before EK scored again - they scorned a number of opportunities, but Bert kicked a penalty to make it 10-0.
The EK forwards were dominant, through good play and Greenock inefficiency - the first 3 Greenock line out throws were seriously squint, with EK stealing their other two line outs through good jumping.
The EK halfbacks - Little and Blackwood - were operating well and excellent kicking by the latter gave EK good position.
That said, Greenock kicked a penalty after 31 minutes to make it 10-3.
But this spurred EK in to action with another try by Thornton,converted by Bert. And they collected another penalty to make the score 18-3 at half time. There was only one team in it at that stage.
After only 4 minutes, a burst through midfield by Chris (Tophie) O'Neillllllll gave Alex Irvine an opportunity to beat his marker and score a try in the left corner. Bert converted for 25-3.
Craig Ferguson Senior (known as Cramps on the day) got the next score, with another excellent Blackwood conversion from the touchline. Score: 32-3.
It looked as if the nearest Greenock would get to scoring was when one of their players mistook the 5 metre line as the try line, but they kept plugging away, and finally scored a good unconverted try in the last minutes.
But before that, Gary Thornton
completed his hat trick as Greenock again took evasive action to avoid bodily contact with him. Blackwood converted.
The final score camefrom a line out with Ferguson breaking through and the final pass gave club captain Scott Huge Johnston the opportunity to get on the scoresheet. As befitting his general kicking on the day, Huge missed the conversion by a wide margin despite being just in front of the posts but it mattered not a jot.
This was a fantastic performance by the 2nds, well deserved. They were superior in all departments. The foundation was laid in the forwards where everyone played their part. Chris O'Neillllllll was particularly effective.
The half backs both competed for the man of the match award, as did try scoring machine Gary Thornton
. The winner was Fraser Little
for his smart service and disruptive work around the fringes of the contact area.
This result will hopefully mean that EK 2nds play next year in West Regional Reserve League Division 1, where they will encounter a higher quality of rugby. They will welcome the challenge.
A key feature of the play off success was the strong spirit shown by the squad throughout the season. Assistant Manager Bruce Beggans
deserves congratulations for much of this, as does club captain Scott Johnston
. Let's build on it next year.