Irvine XV 3-0 Marr 2nds

Irvine have of course kicked off at 7pm before, but such occasions have hitherto been restricted to the summer months when it is still light at that time of the evening.

The match got off to a cagey start in the wet conditions, and when Irvine were presented with a kickable penalty deep in the Marr half they opted for the kick at goal and Tracey made no mistake to edge the home side in front.

Clear-cut chances remained at a premium after this, and it was not until shortly before the half hour that a try looked on the cards, when Neil McMillan made a dangerous run down the right for Irvine only for the visitors to get bodies back and force a penalty to clear the danger.

Craig Williams looked set to extend the home side's lead when he found himself free on the left five minutes before half time, but his execution let him down at the crucial moment and the sides turned round with the game still delicately poised at 3-0.

The game opened up somewhat in the second half and the visitors almost made Irvine pay for their profligacy when they worked an overlap on the left and the number 8 appeared to have an unimpeded run into the corner, only for John Murdoch to produce an excellent tackle to keep the home side's line intact.

Play continued to rage from end to end as the second half progressed, but it was the home side who enjoyed the more sustained possession and territory.

They forced a series of scrums deep in the Marr half in the closing stages as they sought to crown proceedings with the elusive try, but - perhaps trying to be too patient - they continued to attack down the blind side when they had an overlap on the other and the pressure ultimately came to nothing.

It scarcely mattered however as the home side had done enough to secure a narrow, but still well deserved, victory.


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