Saturday’s BT National Division 2 clash provided cold comfort for West of Scotland as went down to Peebles on a bitter Burnbrae day.
The promotion-chasing visitors side from the Borders started the afternoon third in the table and ran out winners by 24-17 to close the gap on second-placed Kelso, whose game was postponed.
West, ninth in the divisional standings, started with a strong scrum leading to a penalty which was advanced 10 metres for dissent.
A kick to touch and driving maul resulted in Danny Dineen scoring a classic pushover try. Blair Smith converted and West led 7-0.
Then Peebles did exactly the same at the other end.
From a penalty, also moved forward 10 for dissent, they kicked to touch and scored from a maul, hooker Ryan McConnell grounding.
Greg Raeburn converted and it was all square again at 7-7.
West were defending well and nearly broke through with Alex Fisken being stopped by a last ditch tackle. Then West went back into the lead 10-7 with a penalty by Smith.
However the home side suffered a blow when they went down to 14 men as Jamie McAulay was yellow carded for accidentally kicking a Peebles player on the elbow while trying to get the ball.
Peebles piled on the pressure from the penalty and after a series of pick and drives the extra man told when Cammy Pye muscled in to score.
Raeburn again added the extras and Peebles went into the break with a 14-10 lead.
Raeburn extended the visitors’ lead after half-time with a penalty, but West hit back when a chip and chase by the home side forced Peebles into touch.
From the lineout Billy Dineed scored from a very rapid driving maul, Peebles offering practically no resistance.
Smith converted and once more the scores were level at 17-17.
This was proving to be a tight match and fiercely contested. Ross MacAulay and Peebles’ Darren Kerr were both sent to the bin for swinging punches at each other and both teams were down to 14.
Then the match was decided when a messy West pass was ruled a knock on.
Peebles piled on the pressure, hammering on the West line until scrum half Murray Johnston snuck over for what proved to be the winning try, converted by Raeburn.
West tried hard but couldn’t claw back any more points, but ended on the losing side albeit with a bonus point.
In truth this match could have gone either way and West played far better and made it a far closer contest than the sides’ league positions suggest.
Next up for the Milngavie side on Saturday is a trip to high flying Kelso which will be another tough test.
West: 1. Billy Dineen, 2. Danny Dineen, 3. Glen Sutherland, 4. Colin McInally, 5. Tom Grey, 6. Angus Thomson, 7.Jamie McAulay, 8. Fraser Smeaton, 9. Alex Fisken, 10. Ross McAulay, 11. Fintan Cuthbertson, 12. Sandy McCallum, 13. Blair Smith, 14. Robbie Greenhaugh, 15. Mark Sim.
Substitutes 16: Neil Fullarton, 17. Stuart MacDonald, 18 Craig McColl, 19. Calum Booth