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.

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