Strathendrick 35 - 15 East Kilbride
An early exit from the West Division Shield for East Kilbride
An early exit from the West Division Shield was not the start that East Kilbride would have wanted to their 50th anniversary season.
It was a beautiful day, warm, sunny and with a gentle breeze blowing from the east and the picturesque position of the ground in Fintry set up a near perfect setting for a day of flowing rugby. Sadly, the game itself was far from beautiful.
EK kicked off but when the ball failed to travel the required 10 metres Strathendrick were awarded a scrum in which they exerted a mighty drive. A very worrying opening salvo for EK but, to their great credit, this trend was reversed in following encounters. Once the game got going it was played at fast and furious pace. EK eschewed an opportunity to open the scoring when Roddy Beaton’s kick drifted wide so it was the home team that drew first blood with a converted penalty after 20 minutes. EK responded well with tries from Ian Brown 22 and 37 minutes into the half the second of which was converted by Roddy Beaton. The period between these tries saw some ugly scenes including a fracas close to the EK line following an illegal hit on Mark Ellison that earned the Strathendrick no. 8 a yellow card and led to Mark having to leave the field. Brown’s second try followed excellent handling by EK backs and forwards which, sad to say, was all too rare on the day.
As the half approached its conclusion EK failed to stem a drive towards their line and Strathendrick scored an unconverted try to make the half time score Strathendrick 10, East Kilbride 12.
When East Kilbride failed to secure the ball at the kick off that got the second half underway the home team went on the attack and, with a try from short range put themselves in front, a position they were not to concede for the rest of the game. EK’s woes increased with Alex Irvine and Lloyd McClintock joining Mark Ellison on the touchline; all 3 having received head knocks and being deemed unfit to return to the field. And if this wasn’t enough captain, Ian Brown was yellow carded for high tackle with 20 minutes of the game remaining and Roddy Beaton received a red card following a dust up with the Strathendrick no. 8 who also received a red card. One might have thought that by this time the referee had finished dishing out cards but this was not the case as one of the home team’s props received the final yellow card for yet another illegal tackle!
Among all the mayhem that was the second half of this game Strrathendrick scored 4 tries, converted one and converted a penalty while Roddy Beaton converted a penalty for EK.
This game was costly for EK not just because they lost a game they would have hoped to win but more significantly because 4 players (1 red card and 3 cases of concussion) who started this game will not be available for a few weeks. EK did play some good rugby. The set pieces functioned well throughout the first half and the handling that led to Ian Brown’s second try was a highlight. However, with the scrum weakened as a result of injuries to players in key positions and some poor handling and decision making during the second half the initiative that had been gained during the opening 35 minutes was lost. The serious business of league rugby begins next Saturday (September 1st) with a game against local rivals, Cambuslang. Club captain, Ian Brown, and coach, Alan Steele, must apply themselves to the task of preparing the team technically, physically and mentally for this game.
In game in which many players displayed good qualities in short bursts it is difficult to identify any one individual who deserves the accolade of EK man of the match so for this reason it is not awarded.
Team: McClinton, Anderson, E. Beaton, Dalgleish, McLean, O’Neill, R. Beaton and Irvine. Stott and Murray. Dryburgh, Brown, Simpson, MacDonald and Ellison.
Replacements: Japp, Beggans, Proctor, and Quigg.