West of Scotland went down to a disappointing National League Division 3 defeat at the hands of Ardsossan Academicals on Saturday.
On a cold but sunny day at Burnbrae, both sides observed a minute’s silence for Remembrance Day before kick-off.
Early exchanges were even with neither side making much headway, both sides trying fancy moves ending in forward passes and knock-ons.
West were totally dominant in the resulting scrums, but the lineout wasn’t fluent so they couldn’t take advantage. Inevitably after a string of scrum penalties, the Ardrossan tight head was yellow carded and the visitors were down to 14.
However, much to West’s confusion the referee ruled that Ardrossan didn’t have a substitute in the correct position so scrums went uncontested for the next 10 minutes.
Sadly this is happening a lot in club rugby as clubs struggle to find front row players and it totally changed the game - and happened again later on when the same prop went off injured.
Ardrossan scored off the base of a scrum when the West defence fell asleep and failed to stop a move from inside the Ardrossan half, full-back Andrew Duncan scoring with Stuart Lewis converting.
Ardrossan extended their lead with a penalty try when a driving maul was illegally brought down, Jamie McAulay suffering a yellow. Nowadays no conversion is necessary from a penalty try so Ardrossan went in at the interval 14-0 up.
Things got worse for West when first influential out half Stuart Lewis broke away, passing to Robert Hunter who scored under the posts for Stuart Lewis to convert.
Then West went down to 13 when Donovan Douglas was yellow carded for a desperate and illegal tackle stopping Ardrossan scoring again.
The visitors made the numbers count when they found an overlap for winger Cieran Couper to score in the corner, this time unconverted, for their bonus point. They then extended their lead with a penalty through Stuart Lewis and it was 29-0 as they made the most of the extra players.
West were struggling to get anything going, playing more Buckfast than champagne rugby before Rowland Ossi came on and his speed caused the Ayrshire side problems. Eventually West found Jamie McAulay coming in at speed to score, Dru Nicholson quickly taking a drop conversion.
Ardrossan ran in their fifth when West threw a pass straight to centre Ruaridh Anderson who didn’t miss and neither did Stuart Lewis with the conversion to make it 7-36.
West finally made a good break, the ball going through the hands to Alexander Fisken who scored, unconverted, to complete the scoring.
Orkney make the long trip to Burnbrae next Saturday. Kick-off is noon.
West: 1 Neil Fullarton, 2 Donald Wilson, 3 Daniel O’Connell, 4 Marc Zoma, 5 Scott Cochrane, 6 Max Bowie, 7 Craig McCall, 8 Jamie McAulay, 9 Harry Brewster, 10 Dru Nicholson, 11 Donovan Douglas, 12 Nicky Sutcliffe, 13 Scott Mulls, 14 Calum Booth, 15 Alexander Fisken. Subs: 16 Pete Rhodes, 17 Drew Reddie, 18 Jacob Siems, 19 Rowland Ossi.