The pitch was in excellent condition considering the weather over the past while, which is testament to Carl Wood’s excellent work over the years.
Phil Ross was in charge of the whistle for the first half and the Ba-ba’s kicked off (that’s a guess as I was a bit late!) with the wind across the pitch and offering no advantage to either side.
Both sides started strongly with no quarter given in the tight and some excellent hands running and tackling from the backs. Unfortunately, Nicol Holland injured his collar bone in one such contact, leading to him having to leave the field to get it checked out at A&E.
It was very even for the first 10 minutes until after an excellent carry from Liam Harcus, a couple of passes out of the tackle from Brian Inkster, Stewart Esslemont and Bruce Pinkerton, Scott Smith left 3 Ba-Ba’s players in his wake with a mazy run from half way to score under the posts. Gary Nicolson, the specialist Prop/Back Row/Stand off converted to open the scoring. West 7, Ba-Ba’s 0.
It didn’t take the Ba-Ba’s long to get back on level terms after a couple of strong carries from Murray Simpson and Simon Owen, Hamish Shaw got the backs running through Colin Risbridger to Jacob Urgias, who broke a tackle and passed to Keith Dearness, who evaded a couple of tacklers to match Scott Smith’s run and score under the posts.
The try was converted, but I was so busy asking who scored that I missed who took the kick, I will take a guess at it being Edgar Thomson who took it! West 7, Ba-Ba’s 7.
The West were back on the score sheet about 2 minutes from the end of the first half after a sustained period of pressure from the West. Steven Grieve, Tomo Spence and Aaron Harvey carried well to make 40 yards before Trev Spence, Martin Wishart and Paul Johnston took over, offloading the ball out of tackles with Mark Spence on the end of one such pass and buldering his way to the line.
Well, I say the “over the line”, but given there were no lines on the pitch, the call was made based on taking a view from the corner flags to the posts! Try given! Converted again by Gary Nicolson to take the score at half time to West 14, Ba-Ba’s 7.
Unfortunately, Edgar Thomson’s day came to a rather abrupt end after taking an elbow to the mouth in that last play, which resulted in his 2 front teeth pointing directly at his tonsils! If ever there was an advert for all rugby players to wear gumshields, this is it! Get well soon Edgar!
For the second half, Glen McLellan took over the whistle, confirming that despite trying to ref almost every game he played for the club, he was never destined to do it officially!
This freed Phil Ross up to pull on a shirt for the Ba-Ba’s and he was joined on the opposite side by Graham Poke. By this time, Kyle and Connor Archibald had also joined the West side replacing Paul Johnston, Steven Grieve and Mark Spence, who had all taken knocks or were struggling with lung capacity!
Steven Paterson, Scott Cooper and George Ross had also joined the field just before half time coming on for various injuries and guys needing a breather after a fairly full on 1st half!
Not long after the start of the second half, the West broke through the Ba-Ba’s line with a couple of quick rucks, which was halted by a good counter ruck from the East forwards and a steal from Martin Harper, but unfortunately there was a knock on in the resulting ruck and Gary Nicolson romped home with a No. 8 pick up to score under the posts. He converted his own try. West 21, Ba-Ba’s 7.
The West had another period of sustained pressure in the Ba-Ba’s half. This led to a number of ruck penalties from both sides as fatigue started to tell and the ref totally lost sight of what he was doing!
The West still had the upper hand up front with Roy Temple making tremendous ground with ball in hand and Brian Inkster smashing anything that moved, but Martin Harper, Murray Simpson, Alastair Inverarity and Omar McMahon were doing a sterling job in keeping them in check.
The ball eventually came out from Bruce Pinkerton to Scott Smith who had cut a superb line to beat the defenders and score under the posts. Gary Nicolson missed the conversion (did I say that the score was under the posts?) taking the score to West 26, Ba-Ba’s 7.
The West were still looking the strongest with ball in hand and Connor “Butch” Archibald was next on the scoresheet for the West after he took a towering high ball from Colin Risbridger, deep in his own half and set off on a mazy run down the right wing beating 3 defenders to score the try of the day. Conversion was missed, West 31, Ba-Ba’s 7.
The Ba-Ba’s were not finished by any stretch of the imagination and came back into the game with a try from Colin Risbridger after a couple of good carries from Simon Owen and Murray Simpson leading to great breaks from Jacob Urgias and Ally Amer. Phil Ross converted to take the score to West 31 – 14.
The Ba-Ba’s were finishing the stronger side and deservedly scored the last try of the day after more good carries from the pack with great support from Alistair Inverarity and Martin Harper, Hamish Shaw ensured the backs got good quick ball and quick hands put Keith Dearness in for a really good score to the right of the posts.
Phil Ross converted to take the final score to West 31, Ba-Ba’s 21.
I would give my men of the match for the West to Scott Smith for his destructive running with ball in hand and for the Ba-Ba’s and Keith Dearness would take it for his textbook tackling and mazy running, but all of the guys who are relatively new to Senior rugby played extremely well. It was also great to see some guys back after a long lay off and I hope to see them all at the next game!
A huge thank you to all players who made the effort to get along, the large number of spectators who came along to support and especially to Erland Drever who has put in a power of work to bring social rugby back to the club after far too long.
It is great to see rugby for everyone, even those who can’t commit to training every week. This initiative is leading to more of these guys going to training and realising that they are not out of place amongst those training and playing for the 1st XV. Keep it up guys!
A word from Erland Drever, Internal / 2nd XV Convenor:
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