EK not at most fluent but win away
After a slowish start, and poor use of the elements, EK win at Cumnock. Roddy Beaton Man of the Match
This report was written by Alasdair Offin and appears late as Thunders is still celebrating scoring two tries last week and one this week. Disgraceful.
The team that took the field against newly promoted Cumnock had a few notable absences from last week, including last week’s man of the match, Scott Shankie; Calum Simpson and Mark Ellison. This created opportunities for Lewis Brown to start alongside Robbie Greenfield in the centre, and Ross Stewart on the wing. Roddy Beaton returned to the fold following suspension and donned the no. 15 shirt for this game.
Earlier form suggested that East Kilbride should triumph but it was clear early in the game that Cumnock had other ideas. Cumnock kicked off with a strong wind behind them. EK fielded well and carried the ball to the opposition and came close when Richie Murray weaved his way through a hole in the defence to take the ball within 10 metres of the home line.
Sustained attacking failed to produce a score and, when the ball was turned over, the initiative was handed to Cumnock. Their stocky no. 6 showed some pace to carry the ball into the EK half of the field and, when a penalty was awarded to the home side, their kicker used the wind effectively to gain a line out close to the EK line. The line ball was won and the ensuing assault gave Cumnock an early advantage 15 minutes into the game through a converted try. 7-0.
Cumnock continued to use the wind to their advantage with effective kicking from within their own 22 turning defensive positions into attack, giving the EK side the task of attempting to return the ball to the opposite end of the field. With the wind in their faces the boot was probably not the best implement to use and this was quite apparent when an attempted clearance kick was fielded by a Cumnock back who, with acres of space in front of him, carried the ball to within 5 metres of the EK line where an excellent try saving tackle saved the day for EK.
With the half drawing near to its end, Cumnock continued to use the wind to put pressure on the EK line and were rewarded with a second try 38 minutes into the game.
EK were not finished, however, and when they got into the home team’s 22 took the ball close to the Cumnock line. Alan Steel, Paul Rosie Chris McLellan and Chris O’Neill all came close, being held up within a metre of the line but it was Ben Mclean who finished of the half with a well taken try in the right hand corner. Roddy Beaton’s conversion attempt was held up in the wind and sailed wide of the posts.
Half-time score – Cumnock 12 – East Kilbride 5
With the wind behind them in the second half, EK were looking to play the game in the Cumnock 22 and this was certainly the case during the opening minutes. 5 minutes into the half, Lewis Brown crossed in the right hand corner and Roddy Beaton was successful with a remarkable conversion that seldom rose above 5 metres but was carried at that level far enough to get over the crossbar.
Ten minutes later, EK were awarded a penalty which Roddy Beaton converted to give the visitors a lead for the first time in the game.
Thankfully for the EK players and support, this lead was never relinquished during what turned out to be a high scoring second half. With Cumnock down to 14 as a result of the yellow card issued to the centre for an off the ball interference with an EK player, the intensity of the gold and black attack on the home line increased with Robbie Greenfield crossing for a try, converted by, you’ve guessed it, Roddy Beaton, 17 minutes into the half.
Cumnock did not give up and scored an unconverted try 3 minutes later to make the score Cumnock 17 EK 22. Nervous times for the visitors but nerves were calmed and reignited a minute or so later when Chris O’Neill went over in the left corner only to have the try disallowed as the touch judge adjudged him to have put a foot in touch before crossing the line. With no TMO available the touch judge’s decision was accepted and Cumnock were awarded a line out on their own 5 metre line.
The situation turned to EK’s advantage as, having turned over possession, EK attacked the Cumnock line enabling Chris McLellan to cross for his third try of the season (could this also be of his 1st XV career?!) under the posts, thus making things easier for Roddy Beaton who did not fail with his conversion attempt. With EK in a commanding position, they did not give up the onslaught on the home line and added further to the score when Gregor Haggerty crossed in the left corner for an unconverted try.
With ten minutes of the game remaining, EK looked to be home and dry but Cumnock had other ideas. Their first riposte came when EK chose to run the ball out of their 22, only to see it turned over thus inviting Cumnock to attack and when Aiden Stott offended on his own line he earned a yellow card which would have seen him sit out the half were it not for their being a significant period of time added on.
The try was unconverted but did not mark an end to Cumnock’s endeavours. With time running out, their pacey left winger carried the ball from his own 22 to score in the left corner. The try was unconverted and, with the blowing of the final whistle a couple of minutes later, the game ended with the score Cumnock 27, East Kilbride 34.
East Kilbride will be satisfied to have come away with a try bonus point while Cumnock took both a try and a losing bonus point from the game.
Supporters from both camps agreed that this was a very entertaining game of rugby to which both sides contributed. The wind did make this, to use the hackneyed cliché, “a game of two halves” though it has to be said that Cumnock made a better job of using the wind than EK did.
The wind also makes life very difficult for hookers and Rian Anderson has to be complimented for managing to throw the ball in straight and find his jumper, usually Alex Irvine, more often than not. [Editor's comment: This may be the first ever complimemt for Rian's throw ins!!].
Overall EK’s player put in a good performance. Paul Rosie carried the ball purposefully though, it seems, the word has got around and teams’ defences expect him to do this and organise accordingly. In the first half attempts to move the game upfield with kicks from hand simply gave the ball back to the opposition and, in the second half, when accurate kicking from defence would have moved the game well into opposition territory, EK chose to run it out with, as was seen from the way in which Cumnock claimed their second last try, devastating effect.
EK man of the match? There are quite a number of contenders as, generally speaking, everyone played with purpose and endeavour and problems came down to tactical errors rather than individual mistakes. His place kicking (4 conversions and a penalty), which helped to ensure that, as the game drew to its close, EK maintained a significant lead and for slotting in as if he had not been away from the game for four weeks, Roddy Beaton is named man of the match.