On a rain-swept Auchenkilns pitch, Cumbernauld returned probably their best form of the season to see off a team who had taken 45 points off them in September. While the scoreline would indicate a closely-run affair, Cumbernauld were by far the better and stronger team as they continued their impressive, unbeaten home run. The main difference was probably best exemplified with the “core of steel” evident in the home pack. From Kevin McTier at prop, through a hard-working second-row combination of Barry MacLachlan and Zac Davies, to an energetic back row of Ross Cowie, Ian Hepburn and Grant Clark, the Badgers constantly took the game to their Stirlingshire opponents in this BT West Division League 2 contest. The Cumbernauld pack lost a strike against the head in the early stages but this seemed to galvanise the home players and for the remainder of the game, the Auchenkilns scrum went from strength to strength. Astute kicking from Michael McDonald at full back and Alex Stokes at number 10, kept McLaren’s intrusions at bay and following a great break from Daniel Prinn, the visitors were penalised allowing Andrew Reid to ping 3 points. The lead was short lived when Jordan Reid was harshly penalised for a base-of-scrum pick up which McLaren converted to level the scores. This did not deter the home team in any way as Jordan Reid’s Garryowen was brilliantly collected by Zac Davies, who repelled a couple of McLaren tackles to gallop 30 metres to the line for a try converted by Andrew Reid. At this point in the game, Cumbernauld were in rampant with Jordan Reid, Ian Hepburn, Ross Cowie and Grant Clark all making mighty inroads into McLaren territory with scrum ball being regularly secured. From one such scrum, good rucking by Kevin McTier allowed full-back Michael McDonald to make a valuable incursion with a wonderful dummy pass and race to the line to score almost underneath the posts with Andrew Reid adding converted points. A brief response from McLaren allowed them to reduce the leeway with a penalty just before half time, making the score 17-6 in Cumbernauld’s favour.
Whatever the McLaren coaches said to their charges at half time seemed to do the trick as they turned round and really examined Cumbernauld’s defensive qualities, scoring an early penalty then a try following a lineout and driving maul. Just when it looked as if Cumbernauld would succumb to this incessant pressure, the Cumbernauld forwards got their game back together and successfully wheeled a scrum, taking the ball against the head, allowing man-on-the-match Grant Clark to feed winger Daniel Prinn to score in the corner, his last try being 2 years previously. Andrew Reid was unsuccessful with the conversion and in the dying minutes of the game McLaren hit back with a converted try to make the final score 22-21 and give Cumbernauld a well-deserved victory. Everyone played a part in this victory including Alan Durson and Craig Gough who gave Kevin McTier great support in the front row. Martin Caldwell made the tackle of the game, stopping McLaren’s number 10 in his tracks while Anthony Rice’s tackling skills get better and better. Next week Cumbernauld travel to Stewartry with a bus organised to leave the Clubhouse at 11.30 am. Players are reminded, as usual, of their training commitment on Tuesday and Thursday at 6.45 for a 7 pm prompt start.