A CLASH of colours saw West of Scotland wearing their shirts inside out and it proved lucky as they beat Peebles 22-21 at Burnbrae.
Both sides had early chances with Ross McAuley failing to convert a penalty for West.
From the drop out though West’s Andy Park ran the ball back upfield and good quick passing allowed Neil Herron to score the first try of the day. It was successfully kicked by McAulay for a 7-0 lead after 13 minutes.
West continued to have possession but some passes were being missed.
Peebles conceded another penalty wide out so West kicked to touch. The lineout was caught and driven but the ball was again lost.
Peebles cleared their lines again but Herron produced a great run from inside his own half and scored in the corner. The conversion was missed.
A penalty was given away by West not long after, allowing Peebles to kick and get some points on the board by Neil Warnock.
The home team continued to play well with good supporting play and ball retention. West went through the phases and won another penalty which they chose to run, setting up a maul which Simon Kay broke from and scored a good try, successfully converted to make the score 19-3.
West then lost their sense of defence and allowed Peebles to hit back and score in the corner. The conversion was missed and the half finished with the home team leading 19-8.
Peebles started the second half strongly and put early pressure on West who conceded several penalties as their defence was being stretched.
Five minutes into the half West were reduced to 14 men after 2nd row James Cuthbertson was sin binned for a dangerous tackle. Warnock kicked the penalty for the visitors.
Peebles continued to control the game and Andrew Brown soon crossed for their second try which was unconverted, taking the score to 19-16.
The crowd began to grow restless as it became clear that another heart-stopping 20 minutes was left.
West, against the run of play, were awarded a penalty which Ross McAulay successfully kicked to extend their slender lead to six points.
Both sides then continued to swap possession but it was Peebles who were pressing the most and they were rewarded when a strong run by winger Neil Hogarth saw him score in the corner to make the score 22 to 21 as the conversion was missed.
Colin Duck, relieved of his water boy duties, was introduced to try and use his experience to help control the final minutes as both teams chased victory.
The visitors had the chance to snatch the points with a penalty with a minute to go but the kick was missed and West held on for a hard-fought victory.
West will try to build on this success in their away game to Borders club Kelso on Saturday - the penultimate league game of the pre-split fixtures, kick-off 3pm).
The next home game is on November 19– a ‘friendly’ local derby against old rivals the Glasgow Hawks, kick-off 2pm.
West: Longwell, Kay, Ross, Cuthbertson, Kennedy, Thomson, McAulay, Walker, Russell, McAuley, Barker, Heron, McConnell, Fisken, Park. Replacements: Duck, Ritchie, Simm, Carmichael.