McLaren just pip Endrick to the post

FINTRY. Strathendrick v Mclaren.
FINTRY. Strathendrick v Mclaren.

Endrick’s winning run came to a dramatic end on Saturday when local rivals McLaren beat them in a close game 27-25 at Ruth Menzies Field in Fintry.

The game had a rather inauspicious start with the first few minutes noted more for mistakes than sustained rugby. But when the initial nerves settled a thoroughly engrossing game followed with the result in doubt right up to the last kick.

The home side took the lead after six minutes when a McLaren back tried to keep Sam Greenock’s clearance kick in play. He just failed but opted to take a quick throw to an unprepared colleague and Jeremy Thomas darted in to seize possession and a blend of power and pace took him 35 metres to the McLaren line.

That score strangely seemed to have a settling effect on both sides and they got down to a good competitive game of rugby. Endrick appeared to have an early advantage in the loose and in set scrums but that edge was balanced by an unusual lack of authority at the line-out where they struggled with little success all day.

Endrick’s narrow lead was lost in 14 minutes when a good passing move was finished off by Scott Drummond. That was a jolt for the Fintry men and they quickly cranked up the pressure on their visitors who were mainly defending for the rest of the half. They did this very well but there was a feeling that Endrick gave them some help by persisting in trying to cash in on their pack’s supremacy when there were backs lined up to finish the job.

The scores remained unchanged until two minutes before the break when Endrick’s backs were brought into action and Stuart McGill scored their second try. Sam Greenock added the extras to give the hosts a 12-5 lead at the interval.

Right from the restart Endrick were penalised and Peter McDougall landed a 35 metre kick to cut the margin. Three minutes later Kyle Campbell and Sam Greenock indulged in some improvised soccer when between them they hacked the ball forward over the try line. The touchdown eluded Campbell but Greenock followed up to drop on the ball for a try which he then converted.

In 52 minutes McLaren produced the best passing move of the game which was finished in style by Robin More. The conversion cut Endrick’s lead to four points but Sam Greenock gave them a breathing space on the hour with a 24 metre penalty. Six minutes later Robin More scored his second try, but it was not converted. Greenock then landed another penalty.

Five minutes from time the pendulum again swung McLaren’s way when inside centre Brooks went over for a fourth try. The conversion put them two points ahead for the first time but Endrick were not quite out. Another penalty award gave Greenock a long shot at goal but the range was too much. Endrick skipper Richie Bruce was then injured and when play finally resumed there were still three minutes on the clock. In the last of these Endrick had another penalty on the 22 and just inside the touchline. In any

circumstances it would have been a difficult kick for a right-footer but added to that was the build up of tension and Fintry’s late Saturday afternoon gusty swirl had picked up. Greenock’s brave attempt crossed the face of the goal and McLaren gleefully booted the ball to touch to end a fine match.

Endrick: Moore, Calderwood, Campbell, Wallace, McGill, Duff, Greenock, Gibson, McNeill, Bruce, McEwan, Allan, Thomas, Ogilvy, Gourlie. Replacements: Beaumont, Beaumont, Campbell, Davies, McVean, O’Connell.

Endrick’s next league match on Saturday will be away to Stewartry.