A tremendous bonus point away win against close contenders.

BY RICHARD PAYNE

A tremendous bonus point away win against close contenders.


In the latter stages of a very tight promotion race with five teams still in contention, all matches are important. With Lasswade in second place and Ardrossan in fourth, this tie was all the more crucial for Lasswade. Win it and they increase their grip on second place. Lose it and they drop two or three places.

Lasswade fielded a close to first choice team for this encounter with no novices or debutants.

As forecast the rain started just before kick-off and continued steadily at least until no side and ensuring the pitch was soft and somewhat treacherous. With the wind blowing straight across the park it was unlikely to be of much assistance to either side.

Ardrossan kicked off and the first scrum inside the Lasswade 22 they showed a dominance that was to continue throughout the half and forced a penalty which their standoff duly slotted.

Lasswade’s response from the restart was to camp in the home 22 for the next ten minutes until Robertson forced his way over beside the posts making for an easy Matt Smith conversion and 3-7.

The next 10 minutes was between the 22’s until Ardrossan earned a 5m scrum and used their heavier pack to drive over for Lamont to touch down for a seven pointer and 10-7.

The set scrum may have been struggling but everywhere else Lasswade had the edge but had to settle on a Smith penalty conversion to level up the scores at 10-10 for half time.

The second period restart set Lasswade up in the home 22 and a series of controlled rucks and recycling set Robertson up for his second try of the game under the posts for an almost guaranteed Smith conversion with barely 3 minutes gone.

The exchanges remained pretty even for the next 20 minutes so when a deliberate knock-on penalty opportunity arrived just into the final quarter Smith duly obliged to extend the lead to 10-20.

With the Accies visibly tiring and losing heart, Lasswade stepped up the pressure in the last 15 minutes. Their third try was a rather bizarre affair when there was a major melee in the right corner close to the home line from which the ball squirted out across the park and Burns had the relatively simple and unopposed task of scooping it up and dotting it down under the posts for Smith to make it 10-27.

With 5 minutes remaining the hunt was on for the bonus point try and the icing on the cake. Sure enough, as the clock clicked into overtime, Matt Smith took a tight side pass from a 5 metre scrum to drive over in the corner and take his personal tally to 17 points and the final score of 10-32.

This was another powerful display by all of the Lasswade squad but not for the first time their player of the match award went to Matt Hart whose elusiveness and mobility make up for the fact that he is not the biggest of wing forwards.

This win increases Lasswade’s grip on second place with Berwick 8 points ahead and Greenock Wanderers 3 points behind but with both teams having played an extra game.

The Six Nations takes control this weekend and the League contest returns with a full fixture card on March 21, Lasswade welcome Carrick to Hawthornden. Kick-off 3pm.

29 FEB 20 – ALL SENIOR MATCHES POSTPONED DUE TO WEATHER/PITCH CONDITIONS!

Unfortunately due to adverse weather, travel and pitch conditions both senior matches have been called off today!

Lasswade 1st XV v Caithness 1st XV – OFF

Peebles 2nd XV v Lasswade 2nd XV – OFF

WEST OF SCOTLAND 16 v LASSWADE 41

Try bonus in the bag by half time!

BY RICHARD PAYNE

With Storm Dennis wiping out fixtures elsewhere West’s all-weather pitch saved the day albeit that the wind, the cold and the rain made for a slightly error-strewn game for both sides. West are hovering just above the relegation trio while Lasswade are at the other end of the table as well as having a pretty solid record of wins from previous visits to Burnbrae. The odds very much favoured the visitors.

Against those odds West kicked off with the wind at their backs and kept their visitors pinned in their 22 for the opening five minutes then settled for a penalty off Nicholson’s boot as the Lasswade defence held solid.

Their lead lasted barely three minutes before Hunter broke from a scrum on halfway, finessed three would-be tacklers and, when the fourth stopped him, had Gladstone on hand to finish off the last 20 metres. Matt Smith had no trouble with the conversion.

Answering a penalty with a converted try was to become a bit of a pattern for the next 20 minutes.

With 18 minutes gone Nicholson slotted his second penalty and just two minutes later Blair Smith took the perfect angle for a pop pass to take him through the opposition line to the posts and another Smith conversion.

Fast forward another ten minutes and Nicholson punished a failure to release to make it 9-14 and Lasswade used a penalty a few minutes later to set up a line out 10 metres out. When the catch and drive stalled a couple of ruck recycles set Hunter up to drive over and Smith’s almost ever reliable boot added the two points.

In the closing minutes of the half Lasswade entered previously less well-charted territory by chalking up the fourth and bonus point try. A penalty in the shadow of the posts was too tempting for Robertson as he tapped and barged his way past three defenders. Smith made it four out of four shots at goal.

The 9-28 half time score soon looked slightly less secure when, just four minutes into the second period, the ball slipped out of hands in a Lasswade attack and Cochrane kicked through and won the chase to touch down. Nicholson’s conversion narrowed the gap to 12 points.

As Lasswade tightened up their game they reduced any risk of further losses and with just 7 minutes left made the game safe. Having been held up over the line it took two resets of the 5 metre scrum to release the ball to debutant Orsi on the right wing to force his way down the tight side for the ideal start to his senior playing career.

Another penalty for Smith in the final minute finalised the score at 16-41.

In a solid squad performance Matt Hart secured the player of the match for seemingly managing to be everywhere and being an expert pickpocket and stealing the ball back from some unlikely situations.

Lasswade move up to second place after this win, 8 points behind Berwick and 3 points ahead of Greenock Wanderers both of whom have played an extra game. Ardrossan in fourth place are still well in the mix just four points behind Lasswade with a game in hand.

League Rugby largely gives way to the Six Nations this Saturday and Lasswade’s next fixture is at home to relegation-threatened Caithness at 3.00pm on 29 February.

National League Cup Quarter Final – Sat 3pm

This Saturday we host Peebles 1st XV in the National League Cup Quarter Final with a 3pm kick off.

We will be hosting our pre match lunch. £20 a ticket with 3 courses and entry to the game. 1pm meet for a 1:30pm seat.

Message the page or speak to Billy Knowles if you fancy a ticket.

LASSWADE 64 PERTHSHIRE 0

A five pointer and a big boost to our points difference


Although Lasswade has won as many games as the other league leaders they have fallen short on try bonus points and need to rectify this. On paper Perthshire were a prime opportunity being second from bottom with only one win from eleven and Lasswade won the away leg 43-13.

A bonus point try in the first half seemed unlikely when the hosts kicked off towards Rosewell against a stiff, icy wind on a pitch close to saturated. Undeterred, though, they immediately put pressure on the Perthshire line until penalised and kicked back into their own half.

They were soon back on the offensive. From a scrum in their own 22, forwards and backs combined to get the ball back up the pitch and Matt Smith jinked and swerved round three defenders to cover the last 20 metres to the corner with just 8 minutes elapsed. Not surprisingly the headwind deflected his conversion attempt.

On the quarter-hour Wichary opened his ultimately successful claim to player of the match when he capitalised on a scrum turnover on the Perthshire 22 and Smith added the two.

Lasswade dominated territory and possession for the next 20 minutes but Perthshire spoiled and defended well enough to staunch the flow of points. They eventually creaked again as a largely forward drive up the centre was finished off by Robertson under the posts for an easy two points by Smith.

The restart went dead and from the scrum on halfway Blair Smith broke through some weak tackling and set up Gladstone to cover the last 20 metres to the post for 26-0.

Into first half stoppage time Blair Smith added his own name to the score sheet after Wichary made the initial break. Smith’s boot made up the 33-0 half-time score.

With the wind at their backs and totally on top in just about every aspect of the game, Lasswade used the second forty to add five more tries through Nisbet, a second for Wichary, Mackenzie, Graham and Scott Sinclair plus 3 Smith conversions.

Matt Hart’s efforts and contribution earned him a share of the player of the match award.

This five pointer and the considerable addition to their points difference, moves Lasswade up to third place, just five points behind Berwick and Ardrossan, the latter having played an extra game. It’s still at least a five horse race though with just 9 points between first and fifth.

Seasonal festivities mean that Laswade’s next fixture is on 11 January away to sixth placed Hillhead/Jordanhill. Kick-off 2pm.

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.

Another good win keeps us well in the hunt


Murrayfield have been hovering around the middle of the table for much of the season with four wins from nine but all against clubs in the bottom half of the table. Lasswade travelled in third spot and needed at least a win to stay there.

Conditions couldn’t have been much worse for rugby with a cold breeze, continuous steady rain on an already drenched and muddy pitch and in little better than twilight from start to finish.

Lasswade got the early territory and possession and in a no-nonsense approach used an early penalty to take a three point lead from Matt Smith’s boot.

With the ball being kept mostly in the forwards It needed prop, Liam Greig to make a break up the middle and when stopped short of the line to set up a series of rucks. From the third such melee Gladston saw a gap and slid through to touch down wide out and for once Smith missed the conversion.

Murrayfield struck a purple patch in the next ten minutes and Godsmark closed the gap to 8-6 with two penalties, the second of which was almost immediately negated when Smith slotted one for his side.

Godsmark set up the 11-9 half time score when a Lasswade player failed to roll away.

The visitors started strongly in the second period and Robertson barrelled over with just five minutes gone and Smith’s almost inevitable conversion widened the gap to 18-9.

This spurred the Wanderers to mount their most sustained attack the Lasswade line. For fully fifteen minutes they stayed in the Lasswade half and were several times within inches of a score. Lasswade’s defence held though and on the hour Murrayfield settled for a Godsmark drop goal.

The six point gap increased the tension for both home and visiting players and support. Lasswade reclaimed the game in this final quarter but the issue was only put beyond doubt when Wichary crashed over with just three minutes of normal time left and Smith’s conversion extended the lead to 13 points and provided the final scoreline of 25-12 in favour of the visitors.

Berwick and Greenock both won with a try bonus and so stay joint top on 44 points with Lasswade 4 points with Ardrossan and Howe close behind on 39 point.

Laswade start the second half of the fixture list this Saturday with a visit to Forfar to take on Strathmmore. Kick-off 2pm.

A bit scrappy but a good win nonetheless


Promoted up to National 3 in 2018, Carrick seem to have run out of momentum in this, their second, season at this level having earned just a single loser’s bonus from their first seven games. By contrast Lasswade have halted their downward slide and have lost just two League games from eight and including a Cup tie have a run of four victories and are in touch with the leading group.

Lasswade kicked off down the slight slope on a soft pitch with rain looking a possibility but in the event it stayed away.

The hosts started the stronger side and within five minutes won a penalty in front of the posts and Fulton bagged the three points.

The next ten minutes were dominated by the visitors both territorially and possession. On the quarter hour a penalty to touch set up a short range line out which was at first contained by the home side but Matt Hart emerged with the ball from a collapsed maul on the line and spun out of tackles to touch down. Smith converted from wide out to make 3-7.

Honours were largely even for the next quarter hour especially up front but Lasswade looked the more cohesive and dangerous with the ball out wide.

With the half hour passed, Robertson broke down the tight side from a maul on half way and Wichary was on hand for the off-load. Wichary put a well weighted grubber towards the in goal area. Matt hart was in close support and just pipped the defence to the touchdown for his second try of the day, Smith was again on target with the conversion to set up the half time score of 3-14.

With the slight advantage of the slope Carrick had the better of the early exchanges of the second period but settled for a Fulton penalty after seven minutes.

Lasswade were the more attacking side thereafter with Jamie Graham standing out and earning Lasswade’s player of the match. However, Carrick prevented further scores and were the more adept at ripping ball in tackles and turnovers at the rucks and mauls. As their frustration and desperation mounted, not helped by a missed easy penalty, the game became a bit disorderly and unstructured on both sides.

With just 2 minutes of normal time left the hosts decided to secure at least the losers’ bonus when Lasswade were judged to have collapsed a maul in the shadow of their posts. Fulton‘s boot narrowed the gap to five points making for a tense last few minutes while Carrick threw everything at the Lasswade line but not enough to change the score line.

Given the statistics to date Lasswade might have hoped for a try bonus from this game. Without it they remain in fifth place but with Howe beating the league leaders, Greenock, and Ardrossan losing at Hillhead there is now just 3 points between Lasswade and the new leaders, Berwick.

This Saturday will produce more fireworks as Berwick welcome Ardrossan who are currently third and Lasswade are at home against a resurgent, second placed Howe of Fife. Kick-off 2pm.

A bonus point win but a bit tougher than expected


West travelled to Lasswade having won only their first league game and then lost the next four. To underline their problems, they were only able to bring two replacements to this encounter instead of the permitted four.

For their part, Lasswade’s results to date are best described as “mixed” having won three, lost two. By contrast they have fielded much the same 19 players for the last few games and today their captain, Stephen Hunter returned to the fray having fully recovered from a leg injury.

Having won the toss Hunter opted to play into the stiff breeze from Rosewell which, with a firm pitch, was the only adverse element on a bright autumn afternoon.

West used that breeze to keep Lasswade in their own half for most of the first half and it helped Carden to slot two long range penalties to take his side six unanswered points ahead. Lasswade also made life hard from themselves by several times blindly offloading in tackles and ceding possession rather than setting the ball up.

Just five minutes of the first period remained when Lasswade opened their account. Having earned a short range lineout, Hunter took the ball on the burst in a rehearsed move through a gap created in the middle of the lineout and had his hooker, Moffat, on hand to take the offload and dive over on the corner to bring up the half time score of 5-6.

With the wind at their backs in the second half the home side took the lead within the first 3 minutes when they won their own lineout on ten metres from the visitor’s line and swung it out to the backs for Blair Smith to jink and drive his way to the posts and his namesake Matt Smith added the two points.

The lead only lasted two minutes when Carden collected the ball on halfway and jinked and swerved his way past some weak tackling all the way to the line and then converted his own try.

Showing better ball retention, Lasswade controlled territory and possession for the next ten minutes and then, from a line-out, Blair Smith floated a long pass to Lockhart. The left winger tip-toed down the touch line to ground in the corner but the conversion drifted wide.

In almost immediate reply Carden narrowed the lead to a point hosts with a fine kick of some thirty-five metres into the wind. That, though, was to be West’s last score.

With fifteen minutes to go, the Lasswade forwards drove over from a close range tap penalty with Cook touching down the bonus point try and Matt Smith converted to make it 24-16.

Although play remained mostly in West’s half for what was left of the game the only scoring opportunity was a penalty for not releasing the tackled player and Matt Smith duly added the three points with just two minutes left in the game.

Darren Tiffney collected Lasswade’s Player of the match, a feat all the more impressive as he came on as the hooker replacement at half time.

This Saturday Lasswade make the long haul to Thurso to take on Caithness who have only one win from five and that at home against Strathmore. Kick-off 2pm.

A promising start but a bit of a rout later on


Berwick and Lasswade started this fixture with near identical statistics from their first four league games. For the first 30 minutes it looked as if it was going to stay that way. Lasswade scored after 10 minutes of being slightly on top and the half hour had passed before Berwick took the lead but after that things unravelled for the visitors as their hosts ran in four tries before the interval and three more in the second half to just one in reply.

Lasswade enjoyed some dominance of possession and territory in the early exchange but it was a counter attack from their own 22 started by Robertson and finished off by Coomb that opened the scoring with the conversion falling short.

Berwick came alive in the next twenty minutes closing up their defence and showing some strong running especially amongst their backs. It was their forwards though that opened their account with a catch and drive from a short range lineout touched down by Melrose and converted by Webster.

By not committing too many players to the breakdown, the Berwick side all too easily created overlaps for their speedy backs and tries followed for Trotter and Hill numbers 13 and 14
respectively and Melrose added the extra points for a fairly comfortable 21-5 half-time lead.

The second period began in much the same vein when Hindhaugh finished off a breakout that started in the home 22 followed a few minutes later by an attempted clearance being charged down in the Lasswade 22 and touched down by Hill again.

The visitors stemmed the flow and regained some pride in the last quarter hour when Andy Hall found space and chipped ahead for Wichary to win the chase and touch down under the posts for Smith to make it 31-12.

Virtually from the restart, Berwick restored their lead with a try from Gilchrist and a final conversion from Melrose.

This Saturday Lasswade welcome West of Scotland to Hawthornden. In the League Cup away trip at the start of the season Lasswade took the honours 14-61. The Milngavie based team have since lost the last four of the five league games to date. With added home advantage this is a must win for the hosts. Kick-off 3pm.