BT West Division Two

Cumnock 21

Paisley 16

CUMNOCK looked to have played their last 1st XV game at Broomfield before work on the new Barony Campus begins as league-leaders Paisley took the trip down to Broomfield looking to maintain top spot in a highly competitive West Division 2. Cumnock last week dominated play against Clydebank through their scrum and general forward play but conditions played a part on the back play which left them a try short of the bonus point.

Paisley sat two points above Cumnock but the Ayrshire side still held a game in hand. Cumnock’s team had a few changes from the week before with Nick Cummings taking Martin Thomson’s place on the wing whilst reshuffling in the pack meant Steven Lowrie made way for the return of Michael Anderson.

Cumnock came out of the blocks firing and after a successful scrum the ball found its way into the hands of Calum Park who found space on the left-hand side to score the try in the corner. Jack Reilly’s conversion went just wide to leave Cumnock five points to the good with as many minutes played.

Cumnock’s indiscipline let Paisley back into the game after a giving away a couple of penalties to allow them territory deep into their half. Paisleys attack looked to be contained until Cumnock strayed offside at the ruck and Paisley took a quick tap to score. Paisleys conversion was successful giving them the lead. Cumnock had only themselves to blame all of Paisley’s opportunities were gifted through the home sides indiscipline. Cumnock were still piling on the pressure, not least on the Paisley midfield where the inside centre had knocked on every ball that came his way thanks to the pressure piled on from the Cumnock back row.

He was replaced very early on in the game after spitting the dummy out and taking himself back to the changing rooms to bring his nightmare of a game to an end.

Cumnock were still creating opportunities but were hoping to go for the jugular and spurned a couple of kickable penalties.

Unfortunately the last pass in each move wasn’t sticking and Paisleys defence were working hard to stay in the game. A quick tap penalty from Aiden Kerr put Paisley on the back foot and quick ball from the next ruck allowed a miss pass to Park who scored in a very similar position to his first try.

Reilly having had already had a missed kick from the same position had taken account of the wind and sent this one straight between the posts. A lovely catch at the back of the lineout from Stephen Robson allowed the 2nd row to blast his way into the Paisley 22m line before being taken down by a high tackle. Paisley had been riding their luck with the referee who at this point produced a yellow card for the perpetrator. Cumnock opted to take the kick at goal and take the 3 easy points on offer. Paisley managed a penalty of their own after some good play around the fringes of the ruck got them inside the Cumnock half. At half-time the score stood at 15-10 to Cumnock.

Cumnock started the second half with a few minutes of the one-man advantage. They started well and after some fine attacking play made it into the Paisley half. Good attacking play from Cumnock forced the infringement from Paisley and Reilly was on hand to add the three points to Cumnock’s tally.

Paisley came back firing after being brought back up to a full complement but Cumnock’s defence were soaking up the pressure from a sustained Paisley attack and with no way through the red and black wall the Paisley fly-half dropped back in the pocket to slot over a drop goal. This decision was made after paisley had went through multiple phases of play with the ball in hand but were being shepherded from one touchline to the other.

Cumnock invigorated by their solid defence went back on the attack and under immense pressure Paisley once again infringed at the ruck to give away a penalty. Cumnock took the shot at goal which extended their lead to 8 points but were feeling frustrated as they just weren’t finishing off the chances they were creating. The scrum was putting in a good shift, dominant on their own ball and allowing them some of the possession against the put in.

Paisley weren’t finished yet however and after a clever kick into the Cumnock back field they managed to regain possession inside the Cumnock half. A huge defensive effort from Cumnock once again never really allowed Paisley onto the front foot and the away side had to settle for a penalty late in the game to seal a losing bonus point.

Man of the match was Calum Park for his brace of tries.

Cumnock could and probably should have won this game by more but would have to settle for the 21-16 win. They now sit just one point off top spot with Lenzie, who enjoyed a bonus point win over Cumbernauld, and Paisley above them. However, the number of postponed fixtures means that Cumnock still have that game in hand against Paisley and have two games in hand against Lenzie putting them firmly in the driving seat. Next week Cumnock travel to bottom placed Birkmyre.