Strathmore won promotion from the Caledonia Division to Tennants National League 3 with 16 wins from 16 and 14 try bonus points. They are a team used to winning with the only question being whether they have the momentum to continue in that vein but this was their first taste of National League. By contrast Lasswade were relegated from National 2 and needed to halt the slide as quickly as possible. A tough game was in prospect with previous form in Strathmore’s favour balanced against Lasswade’s home advantage.
Strathmore kicked off with Rosewell and a gentle breeze at their backs in bright sunshine that had dried the perfectly shorn ground and offering the prospect of a good handling game.
Using mostly the forwards Lasswade had the initial advantage driving deep into the Strathmore 22 and with just four minutes elapsed Robertson finished off a series of rucks under the post for an easy Smith conversion.
Strathmore responded with some of the brisk play that earned their promotion and challenged the Lasswade defence. On the quarter hour a penalty set up a Strathmore lineout on their left 15 metres from the home line from which the ball flew through hands creating space for right winger, Butchart to dart into the corner but his attempt to convert his own try fell well wide.
The hosts responded and within four minutes a bullocking charge by Robertson was stopped short of the posts but Gladstone was at his shoulder to take the offload and touch down beside the posts for Smith to make it seven.
Strathmore took control of the game at this point and with the next ten minutes a catch and drive finished off by Feighan and a backs move closed out by Maguire took them into the lead and Butchart’s successful conversion of the latter try brought up what was to be the half time 14-17 scoreline.
Lasswade got the measure of their opponents in the second half managing to contain their backs albeit with a bit of a scramble at times.
Ten minutes into the half they scrummed a penalty opportunity 6 metres from the More line and when the pushover was stalled, Robertson picked up at No.8 to set up a maul and Elliot grabbed the touch down as it rolled over the line. Smith was on target yet again.
The four point lead seemed pretty precarious at times so when the opportunity arose Hall, standing in for the temporarily injured Smith, was asked to convert a penalty and calmly obliged.
With the result still up for grabs, another penalty shot was handled by Smith and with just nine minutes left this proved sufficient to secure the win – and deny Strathmore a losing bonus point.
While still a slightly unknown quantity in National 3, Strathmore is undoubtedly a useful side and a good scalp to take.
On Saturday Lasswade renew a close rivalry from earlier in the decade when they travel to Fort Matilda to take on Greenock Wanderers. Kick-off 3pm.