Bonus points only consolation as West lose close encounter

Ross McAulay eyes up a back-handed pass out of the tackle (pic by John Cameron)
Ross McAulay eyes up a back-handed pass out of the tackle (pic by John Cameron)

West of Scotland were out of luck as they lost 38-34 in an 11-try ding-dong BT National League 2 match at Peebles on Saturday.

It was a disappointing loss given the nature of the encounter with West’s only consolation being the two bonus points gained.

West made the better start and early pressure paid off when, after a number of rucks on the Peebles line, scrum half Alex Fisken pounced on a gap to score just beside the posts. Blair Smith duly converted to give West a 7-0 lead.

From the kick-off Peebles finally found some time in the visitors’ half and it was West’s turn to defend.

They defended well but eventually a break down in front of the posts saw the Peebles hooker Ryan McConnell power over. The conversion by stand-off Greg Raeburn took the scores level at 7-7.

From the kick off Peebles again rumbled progressively into the West 22 but an excellent opportunistic interception by West centre Jack Urquart saw him gleefully trot between the posts to give West the lead again. Blair Smith converted.

Peebles hit back with a touch down by second row Ross Brown out wide, but the conversion was missed.

However West managed to finish the half again on the attack and a penalty increased their lead to 17-12 at half-time.

The half-time talk by the Peebles coach certainly had an effect as they came out at the start of the half with all guns blazing.

Three tries in the first 20 minutes had West reeling and the home side in front by 33–17.

However West regained their composure and a good break through the middle by Ross McAulay and pop pass to Urquart saw a touch down under the posts. Smith converted to bring the score back to 33–24.

West kept up the pressure and quick dart by replacement scrum-half Richard Tran got another score. Unfortunately the conversion was missed but West were back in the game at 33–29 and had a bonus point.

The last 15 minutes was a nervous affair with both teams trying to get the crucial score and it was Peebles who found the break up the wing and an overlap - and what many of the West loyal support were convinced was a forward pass - saw them score in the corner.

The conversion was missed but Peebles were now fairly secure at 38-29.

With only minutes to go a couple of penalties put to touch saw them eventually drive over the line to gain the losing bonus point.

Next up for West is a home match with Kelso on Saturday, kick-off 3pm.