BT National League Three

ARDROSSAN ACCIES 21

PERTHSHIRE 13

by Danny McGreish

AFTER a break of five weeks, rugby finally returned to the Memorial Field with the visit of Perthshire.

The last time these two sides met in September, Accies won by a comfortable 20 points and also gained bonus points so the home support were confident of another victory. A win was achieved but the home side struggled at times and were on the back foot particularly in the second period.

The Accies team sheet showed a change with the late withdrawal of Andy Duncan. Grant Lewis moved to full-back and Martin Gaetano was on the right wing.

In bright sunny but bitterly cold conditions Graeme Clow kicked off the match for the visitors. Gordon Telfer caught the ball and charged upfield to set up a ruck, quick distribution of the ball found Gaetano on the wing and he went in for the score. Jack Anderson converted to put Accies 7-0 ahead in less than two minutes.

Perthshire looked to have scored in six minutes when their right wing appeared to have won a foot race to the line but the referee denied the score but awarded them a penalty in front of the posts. Clow kicked the penalty to put three points on the scoreboard.

Shortly after Accies extended their lead. From an attacking lineout and driving maul, Euan Thomson scored and again Anderson kicked the conversion.

The visitors added another three points after the hosts were penalised for playing the ball on the ground.

The Accies pack was beginning to dominate the set-piece but Perthshire's No. 8 Duncan Clow was cleaning up at the back of a retreating scrum and denying Accies possession. When the home side had the ball, they struggled to keep hold of it when they attempted to move the play wide - from persistent knock-ons aggressive and long miss passes, particularly into a low sun.

Accies came close in 25 minutes after Stuart Lamont latched on to a short Anderson pass and burst deep into the opposition 22 but the scoring opportunity was missed after the referee decided a knock-on had occurred and awarded a defensive scrum. Lamont, however scored five minutes later after a quick tap penalty by Stuart Lewis released Gaetano to take play into Perthshire's 22. From a ruck , the ball was put wide to Lamont to touch down and Anderson converted. As half-time approached, Perthshire drove upfield and after four phases of play second row forward Andy Jack barged over for a try with Clow converting.

For the first 15 minutes of the restart, Perthshire dominated in territory and possession. They were unlucky when outside centre Peter McDougall intercepted a long miss pass and raced unopposed to the try line. Fortunately for Accies, the referee disallowed the score because of a previous infringement.

When Accies broke out of their own half it was by courtesy of a Fraser Gilbert break from inside of his 22 which allowed his side their first attacking chance.

Accies were still on the back foot and it was only through a mixture of Perthshire not taking advantage of some very poor defence and charged down clearance kicks they were not level or in front.

Perthshire had the chance to add another three points when they were awarded a penalty in front of the posts but the attempt went wide.

With 10 minutes remaining old Accies favourite Allan Wilson made an appearance from the bench. This also coincided with the scrums becoming uncontested due to an injury to Perthshire's loose head prop.

ARDROSSAN ACCIES: B Hamilton; S Campbell, S Docherty, S McMaster, E Thomson, J Thomson, S Lamont, G Telfer, S Lewis, J Anderson, R Anderson, B Hunter, R Hunter, M Gaetano, G Lewis, F Gilbert,K Wood, A Wilson, I Frazer.