West rugby maintain top league position with convincing win

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Dunfermline 5

West 29

West are now three points clear at the top of the league following a match that was harder work than the score suggested.

The Burnbrae outfit scored first with an early penalty from Blair Smith. Dunfermline were playing a more expansive game and thought they had won a kickable penalty but after a scuffle the penalty was reversed and their loose-head prop was sin binned. West’s scrum was proving much the stronger - especially with a prop in the bin - and after being awarded a penalty near the Dunfermline line, elected to take the scrum. The gamble succeeded with Andy Richie scored a pushover try from the back of the scrum, but the conversion was missed.

West were now running the ball back out of defence though several moves ended in knock ons. West’s pressure told when Dunfermline tried to clear their lines only to face a charge down and Fraser Smeaton was on hand to touch down under the posts. Blair Smith converted to make it 15-0 to the vistors.

West’s scrum collapsed for the only time in the match giving Dunfermline a kickable penalty which they missed.

West had several chances to score when a series of pick and drives was held up by the Dunfermline defence. After winning a penalty, West took the tap and after some quick passing looked set to score but the last pass went forward and half time was called.

It was the home side who scores just after the restart when an excellent chip forward found centre Scott Gracie who scored. The conversion was missed.

As the game progressed the Dunfermline’s play become more fluent and they made some inroads into the West half - but West’s defence kept them at bay. West then increased the lead when after several phases, Darren Allen broke through and found Andy Love who drove over to score. Blair Smith converted and West extended their lead to 22-5.

Dunfermline probed West’s defence but to no avail and the clock was ticking down when West finally got the bonus point they had been threatening all match.

The squad had made a break but knocked on. However, they then won the resulting scrum against the head and and after several passes, Tom Gray broke powerfully through three tackles to score in the corner. Blair Smith then converted off the post to finish the scoring.

West 1. Iain Henderson, 2. Scott Carmichael 3. Andy Love 4. Luke McLaren 5. James Harley 6. Fraser Smeaton 7. Angus Thomson 8. Andy Ritchie 9. Alexander Fisken 10. Ross McAulay 11. Ross Carnegie 12. Jamie McAulay (c) 13. Blair Smith 14. Fintan Cuthbertson 15. Mark Sim. Replacements: Tom Gray, Darren Allan, Scott Hunter, Richie Tran.