Berwick fightback just enough to win but West hang on for bonus point

Max Bowie breaks out after West were pinned on their own goal line (pic: John Cameron)
Max Bowie breaks out after West were pinned on their own goal line (pic: John Cameron)

West of Scotland were beaten by just a single point when they travelled south to take on National League 3 title contenders Berwick on Saturday.

Despite the home side being heavy favourites West started well in the forwards, but it looked as if recent defensive failings were continuing when Berwick scored early on.

West's Blair Smith goes flying in the tackle (pic: John Cameron)

West's Blair Smith goes flying in the tackle (pic: John Cameron)

The home side found an overlap from a driving maul, winger Adrian Rosie scoring in the corner, converted by Jack Webster.

However West won a kickable penalty converted by Dru Nicholson to peg the score back to 7-3.

Berwick’s hospitality was excellent off the pitch - and their players lived up to that by gifting an interception to Calum Booth who ran in under the posts, Nicholson converting to make it 7-10.

A strong West scrum led to another penalty converted by Nicholson, before Berwick attempted to hit back.

Their tactics focussed on the driving maul, which West defended admirably. Berwick dropped the ball when about to score, before a good West passing move ended up in another penalty converted by Nicholson to9 give West a 17-6 half-time lead.

West missed a long range penalty just after half-time, but then won a breakdown penalty, again converted by Nicholson, and West sniffed a victory.

Berwick won a penalty and at last decided to kick at goal, this time successfully through Jack Webster.

The rest of the half saw Berwick camped in West’s half. West managed to hold out defensively until at last a pushover try converted by Webster saw them narrow the gap to 19-17.

Berwick brought on some powerful replacements and had a try disallowed, before a maul collapse gave Berwick a penalty. Webster scored to give Berwick the lead 20-19.

West were now realistically trying to hold on to a losing bonus point and Scott Cochrane sacrificed himself to a yellow card keeping Berwick out. Sean Carden suffered a red card at the end for dissent but West managed to at least gain a point from what could just be a turning point for the season.