Carnoustie HSFP 24,
St Andrews University 17
CARNOUSTIE welcomed St Andrews University on their first visit for some years on Saturday in the first round of the Regional Bowl.
The visitors are sitting comfortably in mid-table of Division One in the regional league.
The pitch was soft but weather conditions good and it was a day for robust forward play to prevent the students’ backs from running freely.
The students kicked off and the ball was mishandled. From the scrum kicks were exchanged together with knock-ons.
The early play favoured the students who tested the Carnoustie defence which conceded penalties which the visitors tapped and ran. The defence stood firm, eventually stopping a forward surge, allowing Ally MacDonald to turn the ball over and clear.
FPs won the line-out and then gained a penalty from which they made a good touch. The line-out was lost but good hassling forced a knock-on and then the visitors conceded a penalty which Chris Rankin converted. Points on the first visit to the visitors’ 22 were encouraging.
Carnoustie fielded the restart, rucked the ball and cleared upfield. The Fifers were feeling the pressure, putting the return kick out on the full.
From the line-out Carnoustie kicked and, following up, caught the defender in possession of the ball. He was then penalised for failing to release, allowing Chris Rankin to double the points tally. The visitors found touch from the restart but Carnoustie won the line-out and cleared upfield.
Although the university side had better field position and ran the ball wide at pace, neither line was seriously threatened. A series of mistakes littered the game but when called upon the FPs’ defence was stout, on occasions forcing the ball carrier backwards or into touch.
The pace was high but frantic and fitness tested to the full. The visitors twice went wide but were forced to touch . Finally from a tap penalty they found space to cross in the left corner, too wide for the conversion.
The home side restarted and immediately the visitors were penalised and punished, with Chris Rankin converting.
St Andrews were rattled, putting the restart out on the full, but the homesters lost the scrum and subsequently turned over ruck ball which was kicked down the line. The line-out was won and the drive set up but the ball was knocked on.
The visiting scrum was put under pressure and the pass to the stand-off laboured, allowing the back row to harry the kicker who failed to find touch. The ball was fielded and run back to the forwards, allowing Stewart Millar to charge. When ankle-tapped he flipped the ball to Ally MacDonald who touched down with Chris Rankin adding full points. Stewart Millar fielded the kick-off and when the ball found touch the whistle blew for half-time.
Carnoustie restart the game, fielding the ball and driving before releasing for Chris Rankin to attempt a drop goal which was short, allowing the visitors to clear.
FPs lost the line-out and the visitors again went wide, but the move was now predictable and easier to defend with the runner again forced to touch.
St Andrews put the home defence under pressure, forcing penalties which were tapped and ran until the defence was drawn in, allowing the winger space to cross in the corner but again without the conversion.
The restart was fielded and driven by Bruce Langlands and Grant Stewart before kicks were exchanged.
The home side then won scrum ball and kicked, with a fast follow-up forcing a knock-on.
From the scrum FPs broke and then drove, but turned the ball over with the visitors clearing before tapping a penalty and running wide. The move was stopped and a knock-on forced.
From the scrum Carnoustie found touch before the students were penalised, allowing Chris Rankin to add to the scoreline.
FPs fielded a long restart kick before bring the ball forward to midfield, where the ball was lost but the visitors did not gather the ball cleanly and good hassling drove them back.
From a scrum won by the students the back row man was caught in possession and lost the ball, with Carnoustie rucking over before setting up a series of drives close to the line. Ultimately Colin Murray stretched out to touch down but with no conversion.
The hosts fielded the restart and drove before clearing. Kicks were then exchanged but FPs lost the bal,l allowing the visitors to set up an attack, ending with a touch-down under the posts for full points.
With a minute left Carnoustie tied up the ball before clearing to touch and bring the game to an end.
The home side handled the conditions better and were able to play to their strengths, whereas the visitors scorned opportunities by individuals failing to bring in better-placed team-mates.
Carnoustie: Pattullo, Bowles, Beatty, McNichol, Morrison, Rankin, Langlands, Hall, Murray, Dissel, Murray, Christie, Esposito, Macdonald, Millar, Stewart and Jeffrey.
Carnoustie had planned to play host to Crieff tomorrow (Saturday) but the match has been postponed.
Scottish Hydro Caledonia League Two (Midlands)
P W L D F A BP Pts
Madras 11 11 0 0 498 141 9 53
Fife S 11 7 4 0 377 125 10 38
Alloa 11 7 4 0 304 177 5 33
Carnoustie 11 7 4 0 178 251 2 30
Kinross 11 4 7 0 159 258 4 20
Blairgowrie 9 3 6 0 206 184 6 18
Arbroath 9 1 8 0 89 332 3 7
Crieff 9 1 8 0 54 397 0 4