Battling display by Carnoustie

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Carnoustie 21, Stirling University 31

CARNOUSTIE continued their search for much needed league points in their last home game of the season against Stirling at the High School on Saturday.

The pitch was very soft and wet with a strong wind blowing downfield, also making for very cold conditions.

Carnoustie kicked off into the wind with a good length, low ball, causing the visitors to knock on, but they made amends by catching the home scrum half in possession and turning the ball over, but then went offside.

The wind was already affecting play, making it difficult for the home side to establish field position as kicking was not a viable proposition and equally the line-out was problematic with the wind carrying the ball off line with the front throws being the only move to enable ball to be secured.

Inevitably the visitors pushed forward with good pace and on occasions, when they were pushed back, clearing with long kicks. Carnoustie were eventually broken down from a scrum, with the ball being passed into midfield and then driven over with the conversion added.

The restart failed to carry the requisite 10 metres, enabling the visitors to return to the attack, but with a strong home defence frustrating them. Eventually the pressure told when a clearing kick across the try line was charged down and quickly gathered up by the visitors and touched down with full points added.

On occasions the home side made their way upfield with strong running and driving, which, against the odds, paid off when JON PAXTON drove over for GRANT LANGLANDS to convert.

The game again fell into its familiar pattern with the visitors pressing forward and gaining a penalty, which was converted, then from a five metre scrum, the scrum half broke wide with no response from the home side and crossed with the conversion added.

Half-time: Carnoustie 7, Stirling University 24.

Stirling started the second half and Carnoustie pressed forward, but were penalised several times, giving the visitors breathing space. The home side was not to be denied and with a break from their own 22, the big forwards surged downfield, recycling and again driving.

Stirling momentarily stopped the surge, but from scrum ball GRAHAM HAY picked up and charged through a tired defence to touchdown with GRANT LANGLANDS again converting.

Carnoustie continued in the ascendancy, although Stirling had a few strong attacks, but without breaching the home defence. The next score was again by the home side, cleanly winning a scrum and feeding the ball to GRANT LANGLANDS, who dummied to the right and broke left, through a gaping hole, to touchdown and convert.

The FPs continued to have the greater pressure, but the visitors were dangerous on the break, eventually breaking clear up the left touchline before cutting into midfield and touching down under the post with conversion added. With time running out Carnoustie made a last big effort to drive to the line, but the ball carrier was held up in goal. From the scrum five, the home side drove again, with the referee again judging the ball carrier to be held up and this time he blew for full-time.

Every player on the field gave their all with good combined play, strong running and improved support play. All played extremely well with Ali Shepherd deserving special mention.

Team: R. Coates, D. Lawton, C. Addison, G. Langlands, J. Donnachie, A. Shepherd, D. Crowe, T. Hall, A. Ringsell, G. Dissel, S. Millar, J. Christie, I. Reid, G. Hay, J. Paxton, K. Franco, M. Strakey, J. Newth, C. Dawson and C. McNichol.

Thanks were extended to Franco’s Cafe for the after match food for the teams.

With the team going on tour to Prague this weekend there will be no game. The next game will be against Grangemouth, away, on April 6.

RBS Caledonia Regional League Division Two Midlands: Results – Fife Southern 10, Kinross 15; Panmure 0, Grangemouth 57; Carnoustie HSFP 21, Stirling University 31.

Placings

P W D L B Pts

Grangemouth RFC 16 14 0 2 13 69

Stirling RFC 17 13 0 4 12 64

Glenrothes 14 12 0 2 12 60

Harris FPRFC 15 12 0 3 10 58

Alloa 17 7 0 10 7 35

Madras Rugby 18 7 0 11 6 34

Panmure 14 5 0 9 5 25

Kinross 16 5 0 11 4 24

Carnoustie HSFP 17 3 0 14 6 14

Fife Southern 14 1 0 13 2 6