Irvine 27 - East Kilbride 24
Deja Vu - East Kilbride return from Irvine with only a losing bonus point to show for their endeavours.
East Kilbride travelled to Marress on Saturday knowing that they needed a victory to consolidate their position at the top of West Division 1. However, a combination of basic errors, poor decision making and indiscipline handed the game to Irvine.
The game was quite even during the opening period with the home team taking an early lead through the successful conversion of penalties after 7 and 15 minutes. EK responded 5 minutes later with a try, claimed by Tophie O’Neill, from a driving maul following a line-out on the home 5 metre line. Roddy Beaton
added the conversion to give the visitors the lead. Irvine came back at EK and added to their score just before the half hour. Their strong running centre shrugged off tacklers and ran around 30 metres to touch down between the posts. The conversion of that try and a third penalty conversion brought the score to Irvine 16 – EK 7. With time running out EK came close when following a good move by the back division Gregor Hagerty
was hauled down close to the try line. EK were awarded a penalty as the tackle was adjudged high and opted for the line-out. The ball was mauled, recycled and then, from a maul in front of the Irvine posts, EK were penalised enabling Irvine to clear their lines. EK came back into the Irvine half and were awarded a penalty converted by Roddy Beaton
to make the score at half-time Irvine 16 – EK 10.
Behind by only 6 points as the second half kicked off EK were looking to take control of the game. The third quarter of the game belonged to EK as they launched attack after attack on the Irvine line. Aiden Stott touched down after the ball had been hacked on by himself and other backs but he was adjudged to have been offside earlier in the move and the try was disallowed. The try that put EK ahead came 10 minutes into the half with Lewis Brown
completing a well worked move to touch down in the right hand corner. Roddy Beaton
converted to maintain his 100% record off the kicking tee. The one point lead soon became 8 when after a sustained attack on the Irvine line during which the hosts conceded three penalties, all for offences at mauls following line-outs on the five metre line, and had one of their flankers yellow carded, Paul Rosie
crashed over between the uprights following a pre-planned move.
8 points ahead and going into the final quarter the EK support called for composure from EK. Unfortunately this message, it seemed, failed to fall on the ears of the men on the field and when they really should have been keeping the game tight and holding on to the ball they did not. The first serious error of judgement was made by scrum half, Mark Ellison
, who for reasons best known to himself, maybe he saw a gap, chose to take a tap and go penalty when the better option would have been a kick to touch deep in the Irvine 22. The move got EK nowhere and the ball ended up in Irvine hands. They returned the play to within the EK 22 and completed the move with an unconverted try. Worse was to come as time ran out. The play returned to within the EK 22. A short period of relief came when Paul Rosie
carried the ball back to the half way line only for it to be turned over allowing Irvine to go on the attack again. This attack finished with a penalty for Irvine and this conversion and a second in stoppage time saw them leave the field with the spoils.
What is it about Marress? A year ago EK lost there in similar circumstances and with time running out in this game they once again grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory. The team performed well in patches but when they performed poorly they were poor and this was probably their poorest performance of the season and one which puts a serious dent into title hopes.
Man of the match? Many players showed good touches but negated these with mistakes so for taking his try well and not making any obvious mistakes the man of the match for this week is Lewis Brown
Team: McLellan, Anderson, E. Beaton, Rosie, Dalgleish, Irvine, R. Beaton and O’Neill. Ellison and Murray. Hagerty, Greenfield, Stott, Brown and Dryburgh.
Replacements: McLinton, McLean, Mason and Stewart.