West of Scotland on brink of drop from Division 2

A Dumfries player resorts to  a shirt tug to stop a West attack. (pic by John Cameron)
A Dumfries player resorts to a shirt tug to stop a West attack. (pic by John Cameron)

West of Scotland are on the brink of relegation from National Division 2 after suffering a crushing defeat at Dumfries Saints on Saturday.

The first of the Milngavie club’s two unplayed fixtures - the scheduled league officially ended the previous weekend - was always going to be a difficult fixture.

Martin Wallace cuts inside a Dumfries tackler (pic by John Cameron)

Martin Wallace cuts inside a Dumfries tackler (pic by John Cameron)

Dumfries are riding high, chasing promotion with a National League Cup final place already secured. And due to injuries and player unavailability it was an unfamiliar West team that made the trip with under half the squad composed of regular first XV players and a few making their debut at this level.

From the kick off West were under intense pressure but good organisation and determined tackling kept the game scoreless for the first quarter of an hour.

But the sin-binning of the experienced Fraser Smeaton for a ruck offence disrupted the defensive structure and led to two tries being scored in his enforced 10-minute absence.

West’s 14 still made their presence count and when an attack into Dumfries territory was illegally disrupted, stand-off Pete Burns duly slotted the kick. But it proved West’s only points of the game.

Two further Dumfries first-half tries gave Dumfries their bonus point and a 26-3 lead at the break.

The second-half continued in the same fashion. Periods of West possession and good attacking play during the first 20 minutes brought no reward but limited Dumfries to two tries.

On the hour the score was 40-3 but the constant effort then took its toll and West’s defences were overwhelmed in a 26-point deluge.

In the very last move of the game there was a genuine prospect of a West try but, with the line beckoning, the opposing stand-off intercepted the pass and scampered the length of the park to score.

Results elsewhere compounded West’s disappointment. Technically survival is still possible - but with West’s final game on May 5 being away to newly crowned champions Kirkcaldy the prospects are bleak.