Interception Heaven Brings Win Number 5 for PL
Ever alert PL too good for Ardrossan as five tries bring a fifth win in a row
After a shaky start to the season, Preston Lodge had found some form which they hoped would continue as they sought their fifth win in a row when Ardrossan were the visitors to The Pennupit on Saturday.
Early indications were that this could be a difficult afternoon up front because the first couple of scrums were very scrappy. Anderson, Johnson and Baikie in PL's front row were up against a difficult trio but they soon settled to their task and better ball was forthcoming to scrum half John Burns. The backs too were proving a match for their opponents and it only took until the fifth minute when some brilliant handling in the Ardrossan 22 saw the ball passed across the pitch until it reached Paul Glynn on the right wing. He still had work to do but he coolly stepped inside his marker and he was clear to score under the posts. Robbie Griffin added the conversion to put PL 7-0 up.
The next 20 minutes or so was quite evenly matched until PL were able to extend their lead with three points from Griffin after Dale Gordon had made a good break into the 22 and Ardrossan could only concede the penalty in their efforts to win the ball back.
Confidence was growing within the home side as the half wore on and Jonathan Brash set up another chance with a clever chip over the top but the next try came out of nothing when Ardrossan had the ball near their own 22. Their backs had been showing some good handling skills but PL's defence was always good enough to prevent any real danger and on the half hour as Ardrossan tried to run out of defence, PL's 2nd row Scott MacColl was alert enough to pinch the ball and stay upright to break the line and score near the posts. Griffin was on target again and PL were 17-0 up.
This lead would be extended before the break when Brash finished off the best move of the game which was started with another interception on their own try line. Ardrossan were once again showing some good handling skills and looked set to score before Jason Riley nicked the ball as the final pass was attempted. He broke away up to half way before looking for support in the shape of Dale Gordon, and he had Ewan Runciman on hand to help get the ball out to Brash. As with Glynn before, he too still had a man to beat but once again the step inside was good enough and a fantastic end to end try was completed under the posts. Griffin had no problems with the conversion and PL took a comfortable 24-0 lead into half time.
Coach Andrew Clark freshened things up as he brought his replacements off the bench, including Cameron Pallister who caught the eye early on at centre but it was winger Anton Penrose who grabbed PL's bonus point try with yet another interception of a loose Ardrossan pass and he was clear from 40 metres to run in unopposed. Griffin nailed the conversion and PL were 31-0 up after 41 minutes.
Despite the interceptions, Ardrossan had shown that they did have very good handling skills and just one minute later, they put these to good use to beat PL's defence and get themselves on the scoreboard with a try that was converted and make the score 31-7.
PL seemed to take their foot off the gas for a while and a yellow card for Pete Johnstone didn't help matters and this dip in form and lack of numbers allowed Ardrossan to grab a second try following a 10 metre line out and a catch and drive that the PL pack couldn't stop.
Once their numbers had been restored however, PL got themselves back on track with a Robbie Griffin try following an over the top kick which the stand off gathered and dived over for the try. His conversion completed his 18 point haul and 100% kicking record for the afternoon. The final 10 minutes brought no further scoring but the best of the action came from PL with a try saving tackle from Paul Glynn, a good catch and break from Penrose and Blair Cowan and Luke Reynolds linking well to carry the ball deep into the Ardrossan 22.
38-12 was a comfortable margin of victory for PL with some great play and decent tries to show for their efforts but more of the same will be required next week when Biggar – also on 26 points – are the visitors to the Pennypit. Kick off 3pm.
Preston Lodge Team:
P Glynn, J Brash, D Gordon, E Runciman, A Penrose, R Griffin, J Burns
C Anderson, T Johnson, C Baikie, S MacColl, J Sked, P Johnstone, J Riley, A Whittingham
B Cowan, L Reynolds, N Ross, C Pallister