STEWARTRY 20 CUMNOCK 16
CUMNOCK 1st XV welcomed Stewartry to Broomfield in their first game since October.
Stewartry sat second in West Division 2, eight points ahead of fifth placed Nock.
Cumnock have had three Saturdays in a row without a game after their cup match against East Kilbride was postponed due to waterlogged pitches.
Cumnock started well enough in the game, gathering the Stewartry kick off and making inroads into the Stewartry half. A handling error a few minutes later gifted the ball back to Stewartry who kicked to pin Cumnock back in their own half.
It was an error from Cumnock which led to the first score after having a clearance kick charged down in their own 22 which Stewartry pounced on to score early in the game. It was a score which came against the run of play and when the conversion sailed between the posts it left Cumnock trailing by seven points.
Cumnock fought back and earned a penalty deep in the Stewartry 22 metre line. Martin Thomson stepped up to claim Cumnock’s first points in the game and reduce the deficit to four points. Cumnock’s scrum was providing a stable platform for them to launch their attacks and Connor Hill had a couple of clean breaks on the wing which Stewartry were struggling to deal with. However, Cumnock were unable to find their way over the try line. They did however manage another penalty in the Stewartry half but Martin Thomson’s kick fell just short to keep the scores unchanged.
Cumnock were enjoying the majority of the possession and territory in the first half but were having trouble turning this into points. The Cumnock lineout was malfunctioning with multiple steals from Stewartry which allowed them to relieve pressure with the boot of their stand-off. Campbell Reid and Martin Thomson were linking well to field these kicks and run them back at Stewartry.
Cumnock managed another penalty within the half after more indiscipline from Stewartry. Thomson helped himself to the three points to reduce the deficit to a single point.
The second half started well for Cumnock after gaining important territory deep in the Stewartry half. A mistake from Stewartry gave Cumnock the penalty advantage and replacement scrum half Thomas Bowditch managed to wriggle his way through the Stewartry defence to score underneath the posts. Martin Thomson managed to add the extras and pull Cumnock in front for the first time in the game.
Stewartry struck back with a try of their own after their scrum half took a quick tap penalty and offloaded in the tackle to give them a clear run in for the try.
Cumnock were stunned and after enjoying so much territory and possession they once again found themselves behind on the scoreboard.
Cumnock regained the lead through the boot of Martin Thomson after a Stewartry high tackle, this was after wasting multiple chances with a clear overlap which should have seen winger Robbie McLaren score in the corner.
Stewartry hit back with a penalty of their own shortly after which gave them back the lead and then another which stretched their lead to four points.
There was still plenty of time left in the game and Cumnock played this period with a huge amount of territory and possession. However, they squandered too many potential scoring opportunities through simple errors which meant the game finished with the 16-20 score line in favour of the visitors.
Calum Park was awarded Man of the Match for the home team with some decent runs from the outside centre and a near flawless defensive display.
Head Coach Gordon Laurie said: “This was a good performance from us today apart from being unable to execute passes at key times which would have undoubtedly led to a few tries. It’s particularly disappointing as that’s something we work on every week at training. It was spoken about before the game how a team would win this game instead of individuals and in the end it was the decision making of individuals that cost us. Hopefully we can learn from this with league leaders Cambuslang coming this Saturday”.