West of Scotland edged home by just a single point in their BT National League Division 3 clash with Dalziel at Burnbrae on Saturday.
West have played Dalziel for the last few seasons and the two sides now know each other well so a close encounter shouldn’t have been a surprise.
The landscape was doing its best to come out in West colours of red and yellow but conditions were calm with little wind.
The match started with few scoring chances, with Dalziel being penalised often but a long way out of kicking range.
Dalziel’s Darren Hay was sent to the sin bin for an accumulation of team offences, but despite being a man down it was the visitors from Motherwell who opened the scoring when Scott Johnstone succeeded with a kickable penalty shot.
Dalziel then missed another penalty before finding scrum half Cameron King who found a glaring hole in the West defence to score unopposed under the posts.
Johnstone converted and the Motherwell side were now leading 0-10.
West couldn’t make much headway until just before half-time when a lineout led to a driving maul.
West took the ball through the phases before finally Jamie MacAulay beat his defender to score.
Blair Smith converted to make the half-time score close at 10-7 in Dalziel’s favour.
West then went into the lead after half-time with a good lineout finding Fraser Smeaton who snuck through to score.
The try was unconverted but West now led 12-10.
Dalziel missed a kickable penalty to go back in front, which was a let off for West, although in truth at this stage it looked like the least worst team would be the winners with both sides suffering a series of errors.
Dalziel were at times stretching the West defence with only an excellent clearance from Leask Carnegie saving the day.
However the visitors eventually found full-back Lee McWhinney who scored unconverted to put the Lanarkshire side 15-12 ahead.
West struck back immediately though, with a good passing move, MacAulay making a break before the ball was spun wide for Carnegie who scored in the corner.
Smith converted and West were back in the lead at 19-15.
Johnstone pegged back West’s advantage with another penalty, bringing the score to within one point at 19-18.
West nearly managed to sneak another try near the end but a scrum was ruled and though finishing more strongly, they couldn’t increase the lead further.
The 1st XV will need to play better than this to make much headway in the league, where they now sit fourth, six points behind the promotion slot.
So far West have won four, drawn one and lost three of their games and have 25 points, nine adrift of the leaders GHK.
This Saturday West are at home again when they entertain a Berwick side who are in eighth place, kick-off 2pm.
West team 1. Elliot McLaren 2. Scott Carmichael 3. Andy Love 4. Calum Morrison 5. James Harley 6. Jamie MacAulay (c), 7 Angus Thomson 8 Fraser Smeaton 9 Alex Fisken 10 Blair Smith 11 Fintan Cuthbertson 12 Scott Hunter 13 Sandy McCallum 14 Drew Readie, 15 Leask Carnegie Subs 16 Peter Davie 17 Stuart MacDonald 18 Luke McLaren 19 Ross Carnegie.
Meanwhile, the 2nd XV had a much better day, beating Dalziel 2nds 110-0.