West travelled to Lasswade having won only their first league game and then lost the next four. To underline their problems, they were only able to bring two replacements to this encounter instead of the permitted four.
For their part, Lasswade’s results to date are best described as “mixed” having won three, lost two. By contrast they have fielded much the same 19 players for the last few games and today their captain, Stephen Hunter returned to the fray having fully recovered from a leg injury.
Having won the toss Hunter opted to play into the stiff breeze from Rosewell which, with a firm pitch, was the only adverse element on a bright autumn afternoon.
West used that breeze to keep Lasswade in their own half for most of the first half and it helped Carden to slot two long range penalties to take his side six unanswered points ahead. Lasswade also made life hard from themselves by several times blindly offloading in tackles and ceding possession rather than setting the ball up.
Just five minutes of the first period remained when Lasswade opened their account. Having earned a short range lineout, Hunter took the ball on the burst in a rehearsed move through a gap created in the middle of the lineout and had his hooker, Moffat, on hand to take the offload and dive over on the corner to bring up the half time score of 5-6.
With the wind at their backs in the second half the home side took the lead within the first 3 minutes when they won their own lineout on ten metres from the visitor’s line and swung it out to the backs for Blair Smith to jink and drive his way to the posts and his namesake Matt Smith added the two points.
The lead only lasted two minutes when Carden collected the ball on halfway and jinked and swerved his way past some weak tackling all the way to the line and then converted his own try.
Showing better ball retention, Lasswade controlled territory and possession for the next ten minutes and then, from a line-out, Blair Smith floated a long pass to Lockhart. The left winger tip-toed down the touch line to ground in the corner but the conversion drifted wide.
In almost immediate reply Carden narrowed the lead to a point hosts with a fine kick of some thirty-five metres into the wind. That, though, was to be West’s last score.
With fifteen minutes to go, the Lasswade forwards drove over from a close range tap penalty with Cook touching down the bonus point try and Matt Smith converted to make it 24-16.
Although play remained mostly in West’s half for what was left of the game the only scoring opportunity was a penalty for not releasing the tackled player and Matt Smith duly added the three points with just two minutes left in the game.
Darren Tiffney collected Lasswade’s Player of the match, a feat all the more impressive as he came on as the hooker replacement at half time.
This Saturday Lasswade make the long haul to Thurso to take on Caithness who have only one win from five and that at home against Strathmore. Kick-off 2pm.