West of Scotland beaten by Murrayfield Wanderers fightback

West full-back Rory Cuthbertson is pursued as he makes a break against Murrayfield (pic: John Cameron)
West full-back Rory Cuthbertson is pursued as he makes a break against Murrayfield (pic: John Cameron)

A Jekyll and Hyde performance saw West of Scotland turn a seemingly routine home win into a disappointing defeat on Saturday.

West led comfortably at half-time at Burnbrae, but a second half punctuated by poor tackling allowed visitors Murrayfield to turn things around.

The visitors put West under pressure from the kick-off, eventually earning a penalty.

But the kick from out wide was missed by stand-off Lachlan Lee and getting let off the hook like seemed to put some wind in the West sails.

A good break by West backs Drew Reddie and Calum Booth was stopped only by a high tackle and a good attacking position from the scrum was spoiled by the pass out being dropped.

Murrayfield worked their way back upfield and when No 8 Fraser Cowe was stopped illegally 14 metres out and the resulting penalty was duly slotted by Lee to open the scoring.

They added further to the scoreboard shortly after when a dropped ball gave them a scrum on the West 22 which was slickly passed out to right wing Peter Walker who touched down for a try, converted.

West rallied and centres Blair Smith and Calum Booth made good ground down the left, gaining a penalty which was put to touch and the resulting driving maul crossed the Wanderers line with Scott Cochrane touching down.

The conversion was missed but a similar driving maul shortly after saw prop Dan York touch down and this time full-back Rory Cuthbertson converted to take West into a 12-10 lead.

From yet another penalty West pinned the visitors onto their line and from another driving maul a slick inside pass to Drew Reddie saw him ground the ball near the posts, the conversion taking West’s half-time advantage to 19 -10.

After the break West and added to their score with a penalty - but then Jekyll returned.

Poor tackling saw Murrayfield pile up on the West line, eventually grounding.

The conversion was missed but a further break by Wanderers centre Calum Marshall resulted in another try, duly converted to even the score at 22-22.

As the match moved into the final quarter the West support heaved a sigh of relief when a mistake by Murrayfield Wanderers in their own five-metre area saw the ball bounce back over their own line be quickly pounced on by Cochrane for the bonus point try and, seemingly, the win.

But Murrayfield Wanderers upped their game and West were back on defensive duties, not very effectively as a pile up on the West line saw the ball passed out to the wing for an unconverted try to level the scoreboard again.

A draw between two fairly evenly matched sides would have been a fair result. But it was not to be.

In the dying moments, from a Murrayfield scrum on halfway, the Wanderers backs seemed to float through the exhausted West backs defence to score in the corner.

The conversion was missed but the damage was done.

Next up for West this Saturday is a trip up to Strathmore.

Kick-off is 3pm.