Win set West up for crunch meeting with Dumfries

Craig McCall opened Wests account at Berwick
Craig McCall opened Wests account at Berwick

West of Scotland travelled south of the border to play Berwick on Saturday - and returned north with their hopes of promotion very much intact after a 15-10 victory.

The win left West two points clear of rivals Dumfries in the fight for the second BT National League Division 3 promotion spot, ahead of Saturday’s crucial clash between the two at Burnbrae.

Despite the cold and muddy conditions West played flowing rugby from the start and were looking sharper at the breakdown although Berwick were playing a forward oriented game which took a lot of defensive effort to stop. West got the driving maul working and after a 10m drive put the ball through the hands, finding Craig McCall to touched down to put West in the lead.

Unfortunately West didn’t have their kicking boots on and had no success from the tee all afternoon.

However they doubled their advantage after another 10m driving maul.

This time they were held up but kept the ball alive and won a penalty. After a tap Ross McAulay grounded to score and things were looking comfortable.

Berwick managed to claw back the score with a penalty from Jack Webster before West nearly scored again.

The visitors were dominant at this stage dominant in the scrums and the props featured in a good passing move before the ball was spilled with line in sight.

After some scrappy play, West ran back a Berwick clearance with first Mark Sim then Ross MacAulay finding a lot of free space before releasing Angus Thomson who scored in the corner, giving West a 15-3 interval lead.

West expected more of the same in the second half but it wasn’t to be.

The ball hardly came out of the forwards all half, with scrum after scrum, and both sets of forwards found it hard to keep energy levels high.

West were defending easily until a series of penalties given against them in their own 5m zone took its effect.

First James Harley then Ross MacAulay were yellow carded, but even against 13, Berwick only just managed to squeeze over a try from Gareth Clark, converted by Jack Webster.

The match fizzled out but West had the way and a two-point cushion going into what could be a cliffhanger on Saturday.

Kick-off against Dumfries is 3pm and whoever wins will be in pole position in joining runaway leaders GHK in going up at the end of the season.