Perthshire 12-34 West
25th October 2014
West journeyed to Perth’s scenic North Inch where unlike most other places it was not raining. However, there was a strong wind swirling all round the pitch.
At one stage the corner flags were pointing in opposite directions and it was never going to be an easy day for kickers and it turned out to be a fast moving 8 try game.
Perth are coached by former Glasgow Warriors player Rory McKay and were having a good run in the league. The referee was Scott Smith who already at age 20 has three years’ experience under his belt.
Early exchanges were fairly even, Perthshire winning the first scrum against the head and at that point their pack looked good. However, it was West who were doing better in the lineouts with Mark Jenkinson the favourite target.
West set up a driving maul from a lineout which was defended, but again set up a driving maul from the resulting lineout and Andy Ritchie scored from the base. 0-5, the conversion out wide not succeeding.
Perthshire went into the lead when a speculative kick forward bounced kindly for their full back Scott Alcorn who scored under the posts. It was converted and Perthshire at that stage led 7-5.
Things were fairly tight and competition for the ball was strong. The wind was a major factor especially when one sensible looking clearance to touch hung in the air and blew back towards the West defence, Pertshire recovering the ball but not making anything of it.
Ross McAulay came off with a blood injury and Blair Smith went into out half. West regained the lead after good breaks from Alex Fisken then James Harley broke through the Perthshire defence, creating an overlap which found Fintan Cuthbertson on the wing who finished well. Blair Smith converted to make it 7-12. West pushed on well before half time but did not increase the scores before the break.
It was West who came out all guns blazing in the second half. First Mark Sim made a good break only to drop the ball. Then Angus Thomson made a surging break to find Fintan Cuthbertson down the wing and he touched down for his second try. Although the conversion was missed, West were now pulling clear at 7-17.
Perthshire then missed a penalty before West impressively earned the bonus. The West forwards hit the Perthshire line hard twice and perhaps the defence was expecting a third bash when Alex Fisken instead dummied and swept past 5 or 6 defenders on a mazy run to score under the posts. Blair Smith converted and West now had the try bonus at 7-24.
West extended the lead when after a driving maul Alex Fisken found a gap on the wing to score his second try, unconverted, 7-29. Perthshire weren’t going to make matters too comfortable however, and pegged away at the West defence for several phases, picking and driving and nearly crossing the line twice before they spun it wide for fullback Scott Alcorn to score his second. The conversion this time was missed and it was 12-29.
West were outrunning the Perthshire defence by this stage and a good passing move was ended by an interception, but Perthshire couldn’t capitalise. West then won a penalty, took a tap and after a good run found Mark Sim on the wing to score the final points of the game, West running out 12-14 winners.
West are now still third in the league but the league leaders Dumfries and Preston Lodge meet next week, so West could make strides if they carry on the good form.
West 1. Stuart MacDonald, 2. Ian Henderson 3. Andy Love 4. Mark Jenkinson 5. James Harley 6. Fraser Smeaton 7. Angus Thomson 8. Andy Ritchie 9. Alexander Fisken 10. Ross McAulay 11. Ross Carnegie 12. Jamie McAulay (c) 13. Blair Smith 14. Fintan Cuthbertson 15. Mark Sim Subs: Tom Grey, Scott Carmichael, Luke McLaren, Stuart Malone