A whole team performance sends Wanderers home empty-handed

To kick off the second half of the League programme, this was a proverbial eight-pointer game. Wanderers travelled to Hawthornden as League leaders and nine points clear of Lasswade albeit partly due to having played one more game. A simple win would stretch that to 13 points while a home win would keep Greenock, and promotion, well within reach.

This was the third East-West confrontation this season, Wanderers having taken the away League leg 26-17 in September but Lasswade evened this up with 12-33 victory in the Cup the following month. One certain outcome from the day was a hard-fought and close but not necessarily pretty contest. The weather did not co-operate with a strong chill breeze down the pitch and steady icy rain that started minutes before kick-off and only eased off as no-side approached.

Starting with the wind and weather at their backs, Lasswade got off to flying start when the kick-off found touch on the Greenock 5 metre line. A Greenock infringement at the lineout gave Robertson the opportunity of a quick tap and drive over the line and Matt Smith judged the wind perfectly to make it 7-0 with less than 2 minutes elapsed.

Lasswade pressed home their opening advantage and on the quarter hour Matt Smith added 3 points when most of the Greenock side were offside after a failed clearance to touch by their full-back.

From this point Greenock pulled themselves together and several times drove up the park against the elements but each time fell short of the line. On the half hour they got close enough for Keiran Smith to take back three points.

Lasswade came close to the Greenock line a couple of times in the reminder of the half and Matt Smith was given two long range shots at the goal but one hit the post and the other fell just short and wide.

The home support would have wanted a bigger margin than 10-3 as their side turned to face the elements particularly given the threats posed by Wanderers in the first forty.

Whatever was said in the half time dressing room, the hosts came out with all guns blazing and upped their game to not just keep Greenock at bay to pose the greater threat of scoring.

Six minutes into the half they were close enough for Matt Smith to add another 3 points when a Greenock player failed to release the ball in a tackle.

Just ten minutes later a penalty set up a close range lineout and Greig emerged from the driving maul to crash over the line.

Using the wind for initial territory, Greenock piled on the pressure for much of the last 25 minutes but the home fifteen defended doggedly led by the example of their captain and man of the match Stephen Hunter.

When Keiran Smith finally crashed over under the Lasswade crossbar it was too late even with a quickly taken drop goal conversion which proved to be the last play of the match.

After a disastrous previous season, Lasswade have clearly learned again how to win matches and in what is still at least a five horse race for the two promotion spots, sending Greenock home completely empty-handed may well prove significant later.

For the last game before the Christmas break, Lasswade host Perthshire who have just one win from eleven games and are one from the bottom of the Division. Kick-off 2pm.

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