West of Scotland hang on for win at Ardrossan

Grant McCallum gets clear of an Ardrossan tackler to score (pic by John Cameron).
Grant McCallum gets clear of an Ardrossan tackler to score (pic by John Cameron).

West of Scotland moved away from the BT National Division 2 relegation zone with a narrow 17-16 victory at Ardrossan Academicals on Saturday.

The match was between third and second bottom in the table and West travelled to the Ayrshire coast knowing Ardrossan’s young team have been having a hard time of it recently.

The visitors started strongly, winning a penalty early on which unfortunately hit the post and Ardrossan cleared.

But after a tap penalty and a series of pick and drives a clever switch out left found Sandy McCallum who scored confidently, Blair Smith converting.

Ardrossan’s number 8 was yellow carded for a high tackle and West capitalised when Andy Love found a big hole in the defence to score, Smith again converting to make it 14-0.

But Ardrossan finally managed to get inside the West half and proceeded to give West trouble.

Firstly Ruaridh Grayson scored a long range penalty and then, after good pressure, an overlap found Bruce Hunter who scored in the corner, this time unconverted.

The weather took its turn to intervene, a heavy drizzle making the ball like a bar of soap, and Fraser Smeaton was closing on the line when the ball slipped out of his hands.

However a Smith penalty made it 17-8 at half-time.

Ardrossan picked up the pace in the second half and found an overlap, centre Ruaridh Anderson outpacing the West defence. The conversion was missed but it was getting closer at 17-13.

West then hit back with a series of lineouts and driving mauls from five metres out, but despite suffering another yellow card, Ardossan managed to hold out.

And when West elected to take a scrum penalty just in front of the posts instead of going for goal, Ardrossan managed to win the scrum against the head.

A Grayson penalty then closed the score to 17-16.

This was now a cliff hanger and the last 10 minutes were spent just inside the West half with Ardrossan trying hard without success to breach the West defence.

A relieved West of Scotand side moved up to eighth place in the 12-team National Division 2 table after edging out Ardrossan by the narrowest of margins.

West, promoted from Division 3 last season, moved up two places, leapfrogging Kirkcaldy and Whitecraigs.

The Milngavie side could take another step towards safety this Saturday when near neighbours Hillhead Jordanhill visit Burnbrae.

They are currently anchored at the foot of the table, having lost all nine matches so far, and West will be hopeful of moving further clear of the two relegation spaces. Kick-off is 3pm.

West then have a month’s break from league action before resuming at Whitecraigs on December 3.