EK claim five points against local rivals Dalziel
EK score seven tries in a strong performance, but incur worrying front row injuries.
This report is by Alasdair Offin. Thunders has been sacked for over indulgence in lemon squash.
In these days of Facebook and Twitter team lists, and score by score accounts of the game appearing on social media before my report of the game reaches the web-site, I will avoid boring you, dear reader, by excluding factual information that you already have!
This game was played at Dalziel Park on a beautiful Autumn afternoon. The sun shone and a gentle breeze blew over the near pristine playing surface. The scene was set for an entertaining game of rugby and that, indeed, was what the crowd was treated to.
EK scored 7 tries, 5 of which were converted to a penalty and a converted try by Dalziel but they did not have everything their own way.
Following some robust attacking play at both ends of the field Dalziel drew first blood with a penalty when EK offended in front of their own posts. The EK response was quick when Scott Shankie put a grubber kick beyond the Dalziel defence and Aiden Stott won the race to the line to claim the touch down.
The young winger, Lewis Brown, claimed two more tries before the ref blew the whistle for half time. Scott Shankie converted the second of these to make the half-time score Dalziel 3, East Kilbride 17.
The second period started badly for the men in gold and black. Under pressure in a scrum on their own five metre line, props Lloyd McLintock and Eddie Beaton both had to leave the field with shoulder injuries and there being no further front row cover available scrums were from then on uncontested.
At first it was the home team that took advantage of the situation. A converted try took them to within a single score of the EK total. This seemed to galvanise EK and few minutes had passed when, following an excellent run by Lewis Brown to take the play well into opposition territory, the ubiquitous Allan Steel crossed between the uprights and Scott Shankie made no mistake with the conversion.
Grant Dryburgh came on to replace the injured Lewis Brown and wasted no time at all in getting on to the scoresheet. Mark Ellison, chipped a perfectly weighted kick over the opposition defence, Grant ran on to it and took the ball with open space and the try line in front of him.
Tophie O’Neill shortly afterwards tried the same trick as Mark but without the same success. Maybe forwards should just keep the ball in hand!
With the clock running into stoppage time, EK made it clear that the game was not over. Scott Shankie took a pass from Grant Dryburgh to score under the posts and Alex Irvine finished off a man of the match winning performance with a try of his own to make the final score Dalziel 10, East Kilbride 45.
Although the margin of victory was, in the end, a highly creditable 35 points, it has to be said that the second half of the game was almost 20 minutes old before EK really took a grip on it. Lewis Brown’s performance on the right wing has him marked out as one for the future (as well as the present, says the Editor!!) and other young players, notably Grant Dryburgh, Ross Stewart and Ben Mclean are showing that they have what is needed to take EK to a higher level.
Man of the Match: Alex Irvine had an outstanding game. He did the basics in scrum and lineout very well,l and was often the man leading the charge with ball in hand as EK attacked the Dalziel line. He was, perhaps, unlucky not to have scored before he did after a magnificent weaving charge for the line from long distance, but his try, when it came, was well deserved and earns him the accolade of “EK Man of the Match”.
Team: McLintock, Anderson, Beaton, McLean, Irvine, Blackwood, Beaton, O,Neill, Ellison, Murray, Hagerty, Shankie, Stott, Brown and Stewart. Replacements: Rosie, Dalgleish, Steel & Dryburgh.
This win, and results elsewhere (Greenock Wanderers were suprisingly held to a draw away to Kilmarnock), sees EK sitting on top of the league, three points clear of Greenock but EK have played one game more. But a welcome sight nevertheless.
Next week - EK face a stiff challenge from Garnock at the Torrance House Arena, 3pm kick off. Garnock are fourth in the league table having won four and lost two matches so far. All support welcome.