West of Scotland moved up to third place in the BT National League Division 3 table with a 31-7 win over Berwick at Burnbrae on Saturday.
The win leaves West with a record of five wins and a draw from their nine league matches this season, ahead of this Saturday’s crunch match away to second placed Dumfries.
The visitors travelled across the border for the encounter, played in dreich conditions at Burnbrae, having been promoted into National 3 from the East regional leagues.
The game started slowly, scrums featuring heavily. before West pushed Berwick back into their own five metre line.
They cleared their lines but West ran it back and several pick and drives later, some neat passing inside found Darren Allan to score under the posts.
Blair Smith converted to make it 7-0 to West.
Berwick were attempting to move the ball about but West’s defence was repelling their attacks fairly comfortably.
Berwick missed a penalty before winning another penalty, this time kicking to touch.
Another penalty off the lineout was taken as a tap and second row Jamie Young found a gap to squeezed through.
Shane Armstrong converted the score and honours were even at 7-7 midway through the first half.
West went straight back into the lead however, when Sandy McCallum found a gap and nearly scored, held up over the line, but from the resulting scrum 5 Angus Thompson broke away and found Gavin Johnstone who crossed the line to make it 12-7.
The conversion was missed and despite more scoring efforts and a missed long range penalty, West could not increase the score before half time.
After the break West continued the pressure but a series of knock-ons didn’t help the cause.
However good work from Fraser Smeaton found Jamie McAulay who broke through the middle before releasing Angus Thomson who ran through the entire remaining Berwick defence, splashing down theatrically in a convenient puddle to score under the posts. Blair Smith duly converted and West led 19-7.
West then notched up a bonus point with a try from a driving maul off a lineout, McAulay emerging from the pile of bodies having scored in the corner. The conversion was missed, but West now led 24-7 with a try bonus.
McAulay then notched up his second and West’s fifth try with a good break off the base of another driving maul. Smith converted this one and West ran out 31-7 winners.
This was a better performance than of late from West, but Dumfries will pose a stern test.