1st XV - Report
|East Kilbride||38||vs||7||Newton Stewart|
EK just squeeze in try bonus point victory at end
EK 1sts beat Newton Stewart 38-7 but the score belies a tight, hard fought match. EK butchered various opportunities for the try bonus so it was a relief that they got it in the closing minutes.
The visitors were a hard working, nuggety side, strong in the upper body and they made EK work hard for everything. Shankie kicked a penalty after 5 minutes for a 3-0 lead. Newton Stewart missed their own penalty following a sloppy late tackle by EK. EK’s early play was too loose and lacking in intensity.
They paid the penalty for this when Newton Stewart drove from a penalty for EK offside, and claimed a well deserved converted try after 13 minutes, to lead 3-7.
Shankie kicked another penalty after 23 minutes for ruck offences by the visitors, score 6-7 with EK then responding with Paul Rosie, of all people, appearing in the backs to be denied in the last metre, just being bundled in to touch.
Prop Scott Aitken then dropped the ball just when he looked to be crossing for the try. Greater bad news was the sight of centre, and main kicker, Scott Shankie, being carried off with what looked like a serious knee injury, more worryingly the same knee as kept him out for much of last season.
Veteran Stott moved up to stand off, MacDonald took his place at full back with youngster Ross Stewart coming on as winger with Greenfield at centre.
More EK attacks saw the forwards try to barge over when they would have fared better using the backs. But the pressure brought another penalty which Robbie Greenfield kicked to give EK a 9-7 lead. EK were only playing well in patches, mainly as individuals, with Chris Mclellan, Scott Aitken and Paul Rosie looking good.
Just on half time, Chris Mclellan got a try, converted by Greenfield, which with a further panelty made it 19-7 at the break.
Newton Stewart were tiring due to the EK offensive onslaught, but it looked as if their line might just hold out. Greenfield butchered an early overlap by passing too early and not drawing his man; Little was bundled in to touch in the left corner; the EK forwards seemed not to want to drive the scrum making it so much easier for Newton Stewart to defend. The visitors also tackled well.
After 50 minutes, EK took a series of wrong options in moving the ball, but captain Jones somehow kept it alive for the ball to be shifted left quickly out the backs, Seymour linking to put Greenfield in for the try, which he then converted superbly. Score: 26-7.
Newton Stewart then got a yellow card for a high tackle in the 60th minute, which was slightly harsh, when a body check by them shortly later went unpunished.
EK still lacked fluency and cohesion, but a bit of magic by veteran Stott after 65 minutes created the overlap on the left, and following good support by Little, winger Craig Ferguson rumbled his way to the line from some 20 metres for an unconverted try. 31-7.
But the EK support were on the edge of their imaginary seats as the forwards proceeded to butcher a series of 5 metre scrums in the second half by not driving and instead trying to run like show ponies.
No one in the pack seemed to realise all they had to do was keep the ball in the scrum and drive. Frustrating! We wanted the try bonus.
A bit of good fortune arrived in the form of a penalty kick down the line. Some would have argued the ball went dead, but EK were given the put in at the line. Yet again the forwards did not drive as a pack, one individual making his own charge. EK were doubly lucky to secure a scrum put in.
No 8 Aitken picked up (again, when he showed have stayed down!) but managed to squeeze out a pass to centre Seymour who scuttled and crashed over for the fourth try in the 77th minute. Greenfield’s conversion rounded off a good day for him with the boot and the EK support sighed deeply with relief.
This performance rarely reached the heights of the last few weeks, in part because our go to man, Ian Brown, was absent due to a sore knee. Broon filled his day taking match photos - it seems he has quite a lot to learn about sports photography but let's hope that he does not need to bother and is back soonish.
EK played solidly against difficult and persistent opponents but we need to be able to read the game better, and know when to run and and when to drive - pretty fundamental, methinks
A wide range of people made good individual contributions, including prop Scott (I’m in the money) Aitken; Chris Mclellan with some good runs and pass links; Paul Rosie for various thumping tackles; Robbie Greenfield for his good kicking; Fraser Stott for adding speed and variation at stand off (and aggression when hitting rucks); and Grant Seymour for good driving play, linkage and strong tackling at centre.
No 8 Aitken, a stand out in recent weeks, was too loose, so my Man of the Match goes to Grant Seymour.
Next week, because of the club’s trip to France the following weekend, sees EK, currently third in the league, take on 2nd placed and old foes, GHK at Old Anniesland on Friday 8 March at 7.30pm.
Team: 15. Fraser Stott; 14. Andy MacDonald; 13. Scott Shankie; 12. Grant Seymour; 11. Craig (Fat but now Slimmer) Ferguson; 10. Robbie Greenfield; 9. Fraser Little; 8. Calum Aitken; 7. Gareth Jones (Captain); 6. Calum Hastie; 5. Paul Rosie; 4. Craig Ferguson Junior; 3. Scott Aitken; 2. Jason Currie; 1. Chris Mclellan. Replacements: Steve Lannon, Ross Stewart, Rian Anderson.