West lose out in close encounter

West of Scotland vs Dumfries Saints at Burnbrae, Milngavie.
West of Scotland vs Dumfries Saints at Burnbrae, Milngavie.

West now sit third in the league following a narrow home defeat against a team also challenging for the top spot.

Although West still have a game in hand, Dumfries have beaten them already this season and a close match was anticipated.

Dumfries had the better of the early exchanges although both sides were taking time to get into their stride. An early penalty was converted by Dumfries to make it 0-3. West got back into it with some effective scrummaging. After several pick and drives failed it was spun wide to Jamie McAulay who scored. A knock-on from the kick off gave Dumfries a scrum from which they won a kickable penalty from which they regained the lead. The vistiors then increased the lead with another penalty to make it 5-9. With the weather deteriorating West started to pierce the Dumfries defence, but suffered a setback when Fraser Smeaton was yellow carded after the referee had warned the team for breakdown offences.

That didn’t deter them though and West kept things tight and started to push back. Once the sin bin period was over, Andy Love managed to squeeze past the Dumfries defence to score unconverted and West went into half time leading 10-9.

Just after the turnaround West scored a penalty to extend their lead to 13-9. Dumfries held off the host’s pressure before before scoring themselves, grounding after a good series of passes.

West made amends with more pressure, a series of pick and drives and finally after a line-out and driving maul, James Harley emerged as the scorer of a classic pushover try.

It was now 18-16 after the conversion was missed. Dumfries were next to score after a speculative kick forward into the blustery wind, ended up in Dumfries hands. West retaliated with a series of pick and drives near the Dumfries line then moved it wide with a floated pass from Alex Fisken which found Scott Hunter who scored. This time Ross McAulay converted and West lead 25-21 with a try bonus.

West would have been satisfied with that and despite Dumfries having a yellow card could not increase their score. Dumfries on the other hand were not done for the day and scored a winning try after an excellent passing move which they converted to clinch the match.

This Saturday, West have the second of their two important games and fellow high flyers Lasswade.

West: Stuart MacDonald, Iain Henderson, Andy Love, Mark Jenkinson, James Harley, Fraser Smeaton, Angus Thomson, Andy Ritchie, Richie Tran, Ross McAulay, Ross Carnegie, Jamie McAulay (c), Scott Hunter, Fintan Cuthbertson, Alexander Fisken. Replacements: Scott Carmichael, Neil Fullerton, Tom Gray, Cammy McClymont.