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Chris Rankin passes the ball out as Carnoustie press forward against Grangemouth.

Chris Rankin passes the ball out as Carnoustie press forward against Grangemouth.

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Grangemouth Stags RFC 18, Carnoustie HSFP 15.

Carnoustie travelled to Grangemouth where wins in the past have been difficult to achieve and a tight game was anticipated. Conditions were dry and the ground firm.

Carnoustie kicked off and gathered in the kick and sent the ball through the hands, set up a drive, recycled and put it again through hands, only to spoil it with a knock on. Grangemouth’s pack were big and strong and they gained a penalty at the scrum by forcing the Carnoustie front row up in the air.

They found touch and won the lineout, only to kick it out on the full where it was Carnoustie who won this lineout and put the ball through hands before kicking. Grangemouth set up a strong ruck and drove hard to gain a penalty which they converted for an early lead.

Carnoustie restarted with Grangemouth fielding and running the ball, but Carnoustie turned it over and drove to gain a penalty, but they missed the posts. Grangemouth recovered the drop out, setting up a series of plays where kicking dominated, before Carnoustie took a lineout against the throw and ran the ball wide to gain a penalty, which NIALL SWANSON converted.

From the restart Grangemouth pressed forward, gaining a penalty, but this time they couldn’t convert. From the drop out, Carnoustie regained the ball and set up a driving maul, but the ball was held up, with the scrum going to Grangemouth.

The half then petered out with a succession of penalties before Grangemouth missed touch, allowing Carnoustie to run the ball back strongly, before knocking on and this brought the half to an end.

Half-time – Grangemouth Stags RFC 3, Carnoustie HSFP RFC 3.

Grangemouth kicked off the second half with Carnoustie knocking on, giving the home side good field position from which they took full advantage, winning good scrum ball and with quick hands breached the visitor’s defence, out wide, to touch down, but without the conversion. Carnoustie restarted and set up a drive, only to turn the ball over from which Grangemouth then drove, but they then knocked on.

From a penalty, Carnoustie set up good field position, before kicking into the home twenty-two, but the chase was slow and the home full-back gathered the ball to set up a try which went the length of the field and was converted.

From the restart, Grangemouth fielded and drove to gain a penalty, from which touch was found, and a drive was set up from the lineout, but Carnoustie turned the ball over and kicked, finding touch off the hand of a defender, at the five metre line.

This line out was cleanly taken and a strong drive set up allowing veteran COLIN MURRAY to touch down with NIALL SWANSON again converting.

Grangemouth resarted with Carnoustie fielding and clearing, but without finding touch although they quickly made amends with a quick follow up and turning the ball over.

From a lineout, they then held up the Grangemouth ball, gaining a scrum, which they won and then winning a lineout, keeping the pressure on the home defence. With a penalty gained and the lineout won, Carnoustie drove and put the ball wide, but the kick, when it came, was just too long allowing the defence to touch down. The drop out was long, but fielded cleanly and run back strongly and a further drive and kick kept the home side pinned back.

A lineout was cleanly won by Carnoustie and a drive set up before NATHAN BOWLES broke off on the blind side and slid in at the corner, but this was too far out for the conversion. Grangemouth maintained field position from the restart and when Carnoustie fed the ball illegally into the scrum, they were able to take advantage with a converted penalty. From the restart, Carnoustie likewise maintained good field position and gained a penalty, but this skimmed the outside of the post and soon after the referee blew for full time. A well contested game which Carnoustie were unlucky to lose and brought their unbeaten run to an end.

Team - N. Baldanza, J. Donnachie, G. Johns, R. Coates, M. Downie, N. Swanson, D. Findlay, D. Campbell, F. Simpson, G. Dawson, O. Hughes, O. Schweizer, N. Bowles, A. Franco, I. Reid, C. Murray, C. Rankin, S. Light.

Tomorrow, Saturday, Carnoustie have a home tie against Madras Rugby in the BT Caledonia League Division Two Midlands League with a 3 p.m. kick-off.

Other results – Alloa 10, Harris Academy FP RFC 31; Blairgowrie RFC13, Kinross 17; Madras Rugby 30, Howe of Fife 2nd XV 24; Panmure 7, Stirling University RFC 46.

BT Caledonia League Division Two Midlands

P W L D TB LB Pt

Alloa 5 4 1 0 4 0 20

Harris Academy FP RFC 4 4 0 0 4 0 20

Carnoustie HSFP 5 4 1 0 2 1 19

Kinross 5 3 2 0 2 0 14

Stirling University RFC 3 2 1 0 2 1 11

Madras Rugby 4 2 2 0 2 0 10

Howe of Fife 2nd XV 4 1 3 0 2 2 8

Grangemouth Stags RFC 5 1 4 0 3 1 8

Panmure 5 1 4 0 1 0 5

Blairgowrie RFC 4 0 4 0 0 1 1