Strathendrick travelled to Cumbernauld on Saturday with a side short of many regulars and it showed when they lost 32-22 in this RBS West Division 2 game.
Coupled with a big physical disadvantage and veing on the wrong end of some doubtful decisions, it was never going to be a day which Endrick were to shine.
Howerver despite this they were not behind until the last eight minutes of a fiercely contested match.
Endrick’s first probe was turned back but the ball was gathered by Ruaridh McLaughlin who charged through the Cumby ranks to touch down in the corner.
The conversion was missed but a 5-0 lead after only 90 seconds was a great boost for a makeshift Endrick side.
They more than held their own after that but in 13 minutes Cumbernauld were back on level terms when their inside centre eluded several tackles to cross wide out for an unconverted try.
The home side despite their weight advantage were finding it hard to make serious inroads into Endrick territory, frequently being turned back when Endrick’s terriers won possession for Sam Greenock to boot them upfield.
In 32 minutes Endrick, through Drew McDonald, looked to be about to regain the lead but his scoring pass 15 metres from the line was intercepted and the chance was lost.
It was only a brief reprieve for Cumbernauld. Two minutes later Sam Greenock from midfield jinked his way round an armful of opponents and then found Graham Johnstone providing great back-up to go the final 25 metres to the line. Sam Greenock added the conversion to give his side a 12-5 lead which they held on to until well into time added on for stoppages.
In the closing minutes of the first half Cumbernauld made great efforts to bulldoze their way over but Endrick held on until the fifth minute of time added on.
Endrick were penalised for a handling offence in a ruck near their line and Graham Carmichael sent to
the sin bin.
From the award the Cumbernauld pack drove over but the conversion was missed and Endrick turned round to face the wind still holding a 12-10 advantage, although a man down for the restart.
After the resumption Cumbernauld were unable to make their extra man count and Graham Carmichael returned having missed only six minutes of playing time, one of the very few of the referee’s doubtful decisions which favoured Endrick.
With the strong wind behind them Cumbernauld stepped up the pressure and the Endrick line was put under siege for a time. The siege was lifted in spectular fashion after eight minutes. James Ogilvy who achieves great things in defence won the ball ten metres in front of his own line, battered his way through the first line of Cumbernauld would-be tacklers, put his head back and raced upfield. The visiting support were then treated to the pleasing spectacle of one of their forwards outpacing the home backs. Shammy duly dotted down at the posts and Greenock added the extras.
Cumbernauld came back again and in 18 minutes their pack cut their deficit with a pushover try from a scrum. Seven minutes later Sam Greenock stretched Endrick’s lead when, into the wind, he landed a penalty from wide out and 28 metres from goal.
Two minutes later the home side drove over for their fourth try which stood although Endrick officials reckoned that their was a considerable element of obstruction in the build-up.
With eight minutes left Endrick still held a two-point lead but two late tries, both of which appeared to have been the culmination of moves involving forward passes, denied them a win.
Endrick: Greenock, Skinner, Johnstone, Ferguson, McLaughlin, McDonald, Rankin, McVean, McKay, Davies, McLaughlin, Carmichael, Gourlie, Ogilvy and Colley. repl: Greenock, Longley, Campbell and Barrett.
This Saturday Endrick’s next league fixture is against Lenzie at Fintry. Kick-off is 3pm.