CARNOUSTIE HSFP Rugby Club travelled to St Andrews on Saturday to face Madras hoping to reverse the scoreline from the corresponding home fixture, which they lost.
The game was played in a strong gale with a soft pitch and a low sun, all of which made handling difficult
The homesters kicked off with the wind in their faces. Craig Dawson fielded and immediately drove strongly before the ball was driven into touch. Madras won the line-out and established field position with a low kick, again winning the line-out ball which was sent wide at pace. This allowed a speedy winger to run round the defence and touch down in the corner. The conversion was missed.
From a subsequent scrum, FPs drove but turned the ball over, allowing Madras to run the ball through the midfield, breaking weak tackles from the visitors and touching down at the posts. This time the kick was converted to gain maximum points.
Carnoustie responded well from the restart pressuring Madras to knock on, and from the scrum forced the defence to conceed a penalty which was converted by Niall Swanson.
The visiting forwards, now encouraged, lifted their game, winning several scrums against the head and being solid on their own ball. They also drove well resulting in scrum-half Colin Jeffrey breaking strongly from a line deep into the home 22, before the defence scrambled the ball to touch.
FPs won the line-out but knocked on, although they made amends by taking the scrum against the head. This allowed the ball to be played wide to Ian Cook on the touchline, who fended off the tackler and drove hard and straight to touch down in the corner. Unfortunately, it was too far out for the conversion.
Half-time: Madras 12, Carnoustie 8.
Carnoustie restarted and immediately conceded a penalty to Madras who missed touch but were able to drive the FPs’ ball carrier out of play. The home team’s throw was deemed not to be straight and from the scrum the visitors set up a series of drives without troubling the Madras defence.
Carnoustie continued to drive at every opportunity, but against the wind could not kick for field position and, when they lost the ball, the homesters were able to make considerable gains upfield.
From a turn over, Madras sent the ball wide and broke clear down the wing before passing back inside to touchdown. They again converted for full points.
From the restart, the FPs’ concentration slipped and Madras fielded the kick-off cleanly, making a break down the centre of the field to touch down under the posts. Again the kick for full points was successful.
From a scrum, the visitors then drove and with the aid of successive drives and tapped penalties, forced Madras back to their goal line but failed to cross and conceded a penalty, allowing Madras to clear.
Carnoustie finished the game with further drives but ended with a knock on at which point the referee called for full time.
Although this was another defeat for Carnoustie, their front five were impressive and outplayed the home side in the scrum and driving play. The backs were also smaller than their opponents but stuck to the task well.
Team: Coffield, Bowles, Cook, Burwood, Shepherd, Swanson, Jeffrey, Dawson, Feighan, Dissel, Cowan, Fraser, Reid, Addison, Hughes, Hall, Millar, Nicholson, Pattullo and Langlands.
Carnousie have a home game against Alloa at Carnoustie High School tomorrow (Saturday). Kick-off is at 3 p.m.