Wigtownshire RFC 3 – 48 Newton Stewart RFC
Spice Cup 2018/19
Saturday 29th December 2018
The annual festive derby match, played for the Spice Cup, took place between Wigtownshire RFC and Newton Stewart RFC last weekend. A tremendous number turned out to watch the spectacle which saw both sides field two teams for a 1st and 2nd XV, as well as the ‘minis’ taking to the field during half-time.
As the 1st XV match got underway Newton Stewart were quickest out of the blocks and put some early pressure on their hosts. Robert Service broke up the right wing at speed but was contained by some organised Wigtownshire defence. Some big carries came via forwards William McCornick and Gavin Freeland, before Service received the ball in space again and managed to utilise his pace to run in for the opening try to put Newton Stewart 0-5 ahead.
Wigtownshire now had a spell of possession where they repeatedly threatened the Reds’ defences. Some big tackles came in from Duncan Skimming and scrum-half Robbie McCornick to stop the lively ‘Shire backs from breaking through the Newton Stewart line. Having worked their way upfield now Wigtownshire camped for a spell on the visitors’ try line, but no way through presented itself and a knock-on ended the opportunity.
Reds’ back row Calum Gaw intercepted a pass on the right wing shortly after and broke upfield with Alan Ferrie in support. The ball was passed along the back line until it landed in the hands of acting captain Fraser Morton who galloped over the try line for his first score of the day, 0-10.
Gaw broke the line again from deep in his own half and worked hard to make territory. Newton Stewart found ‘Shire battling fiercely at the breakdown and it took a tremendous ruck clear out from Connal McDonald to maintain possession, before winger Muir demonstrated some strong running to score the Reds’ third try.
A ‘Shire penalty late in the first half clawed back three points for the home side before Newton Stewart full-back Russell Morton collected a high ball cleanly and went on the attack. He made good ground with Service in support, then sent the ball through the backs once more to find Muir ready to collect his second try of the day. The first half finished with Wigtownshire trailing 3-20.
The second half opened with another try for Fraser Morton, utilising his pace when he saw a gap in the Wigtownshire defences. He converted this one to take the full seven points, before an almost carbon copy of this try followed minutes later from his brother Russell and the lead extended to 3-34.
‘Shire steadied the ship with some sustained possession now and bore down on the Newton Stewart line once more. Again, they asked some difficult questions, but the Reds remained stoical in defence.
Hooker Thomas MacDonald and second row Connal McDonald both ran some superb incisive lines in this half, looking dangerous with the ball in hand. The latter created a try for stand-off David Gaw, once again converted by F Morton.
Some important tackles came in from brothers William and Robbie McCornick in the late stages and prop Gavin Freeland continued to demonstrate his raw power in the loose. A burst of speed from Freeland sucked in several players in the dying minutes and created an opportunity on the left wing. The ball popped loose but was gathered instinctively by centre Jack Gaw who threw himself over the line for a final score of 3-48.
The was a lot of entertaining rugby played in this game and Wigtownshire made much more of a match than the score-line might suggest. Importantly however both sides played the game with great sportsmanship, the healthy rivalry always tempered by respect for each other. With such a superb crowd out to watch the games, and enjoy the after-party, there is no doubt that rugby in Wigtownshire is a growing sport, and there is much to be celebrated in that.
Man of the Match for Newton Stewart was tight-head prop Gavin Freeland who made a real impact in the loose, utilising his physique to full effect!
Newton Stewart RFC would like to thank Wigtownshire RFC immensely for their superb hospitality and continued friendship and wish them all the best for 2019.
Newton Stewart 1st XV team: Russell Morton, Robert Service, Fraser Morton (capt), Jack Gaw, Jamie Muir, David Gaw, Robbie McCornick, Ross Campbell, Thomas MacDonald, Gavin Freeland, William McCornick, Duncan Skimming, Alan Ferrie, Calum Gaw, James McMiken. Subs: Ronan McDonald, Connal McDonald, David Adams, Liam Brawls, Richard Fiskin
Wigtownshire RFC 2nd XV 6 – 55 Newton Stewart RFC 2nd XV
Spice Cup 2018/19
Saturday 29th December 2018
Some young, up and coming players from both local clubs took to the pitch on Saturday, bolstered by a few older and more experienced heads, for the 2nd XV fixture.
Newton Stewart started the game strongly with scrum-half Alex Reid demonstrating some quick hands and instigating some slick play which led to an opening try for centre Graeme McMillan. Frank Gwynne, making his senior debut, converted the score for a 0-7 lead.
The experience of forwards Peter Simpson and Mark Adams shone through as they asked some questions of the Wigtownshire defences. Kenneth Faulds bulldozed his way over some players in blue when he got up a head of steam and created a real physical presence on the pitch for Newton Stewart.
A penalty was awarded to Wigtownshire and the home side took the opportunity to narrow the gap to 3-7.
Reds’ winger David Adams scored a try in the left corner with twenty minutes played, before ‘Shire scored another penalty to keep within touching distance at 6-12. Two more tries followed for Newton Stewart in the last ten minutes of the first half, one for Faulds and another for Adams to take the score to 6-22 at half-time.
Further tries for Newton Stewart in the second half included a second for McMillan and a pack pushover try where it was Simpson who touched the ball down to claim the score.
Some impressive tackling came from second row Ross Vance, whilst the U18 players who starred all held their own in what was a very physical game at times.
The final score was 6-55, a flurry of late tries widening the gap more significantly. It was a thoroughly entertaining game to watch and the standard of rugby played was high.
Man of the Match for Newton Stewart RFC was stand-off Frank Gwynne who looked at ease in this senior team. He bore his kicking responsibilities well and created many opportunities for the Reds.
Newton Stewart 2nd XV team: Graeme McMillan, Richard FIskin, Aiden Dunbar, Daffyd Gwynne, Mark Adams, Alex Reid, David Sommerville, Josh Murray, Sam Wallace, Connor McCaig, Peter Simpson, David Adams, Craig Murray, Malachy Wright, Ryan McNeill, Donald Robinson, Frank Gwynne, William Ferrie, Ruari Donald, Kenneth Faulds, Johnny Longlocks, Ross Vance, Alisdair Gaw, Russell Gaw.