West now sit top of Championship League A after securing all the points against Irvine and with Dumfries losing to Lasswade away on Saturday.
Early exchanges were cagey but West then won a kickable penalty and Blair Smith duly opened the scoring. Handling was proving difficult in the wet and Irvine were making line breaks, but West’s defence was up to the task and they made little headway.
The hosts increased their lead following a short lineout which was quickly passed along the line. Mark Sim fed Fintan Cuthbertson who beat 3 defenders to score in the corner. The conversion was missed which was what happened to all the conversions that day.
Irvine scored a long range penalty to make it 8-3 and a period of sustained Irvine pressure saw them level the scores when their no. 8 peeled off the back of a scrum to score. Although West had been dominant in the scrums, Irvine increased their lead when they made another break from a scrum and found a hole in the West defence. Unlike their first try, this one was converted and Irvine led at half time 8-15.
Into the second half and West nearly scored a couple of minutes in when a chip by Ross McAulay just failed to find Fintan Cuthbertson on the wing. West then won a penalty which found touch close to the Irvine line. West then had a series of drives all held up by the Irvine defence until eventually Andy Love found a way through to score.
Matters were now close at 13-15 and at this point either side could have won. Irvine missed a kickable penalty before they had a player sin binned for a deliberate knock on when West were in a threatening position. The resulting penalty hit the post only for Angus Thomson to recover it and West nearly scored before knocking on.
West probed Irvine defence and starting to make line breaks, however, Irvine’s defence held out until a sweeping move found Fintan Cuthbertson on the wing and he outpaced the defence to score in the corner. West now led 18-15 with 10 minutes to go.
The home side then won a penalty which was dispatched to touch 5 metres out from the Irvine line. An excellent driving maul saw Andy Ritchie score off the base for West’s bonus point try, making the score 23-15. The last 5 minutes were intense with Irvine seeking to get something from the match but West impressively gave them no room and held out for the win.
West 1. Iain Henderson, 2. Scott Carmichael 3. Andy Love 4. Luke McLaren 5. James Harley 6. Fraser Smeaton 7. Darren Allan 8. Angus Thomson 9. Alexander Fisken 10. Ross McAulay 11. Ross Carnegie 12. Jamie McAulay (c) 13. Blair Smith 14. Fintan Cuthbertson 15. Mark Sim Subs: Andy Ritchie, Neil Fullerton, Stuart MacDonald , Stuart Malone