East Kilbride turned in perhaps their best performance of the season when second-top GHK were defeated 10-9.
The scoreline does not do justice to East Kilbride’s display and whilst nobody would claim they dominated the Glasgow side, something in the region of a seven-point gap would have been a better reflection.
Despite the preceding forty days of rain, EK groundsman Paddy Rosie had the field in commendable shape, albeit that it was not likely to produce sevens rugby. In years gone by this would not have mattered to a forward-oriented EK, but there is a real feeling that the side can mix it in the backs with the best of them.
Thus, coach Hooker Steel sent his players out with a fairly simple game-plan. The forwards were to re-cycle quickly around the tackle area and take individual responsibility to carry the ball in short bursts.
The backs were given the freedom to move the ball wide when it arrived, but once the old Mitre 5 got muddy, the safer bet became for centres Grant Seymour and Callum Simpson to hit up in midfield and give the forwards a target.
The forwards were dominant at scrum-time, secure on their own line-out ball and able to thoroughly disrupt their visitors’ attempts to do likewise.
As a consequence, the GHK back-row were forced to stay tight around the ball and not interfere with EK possession.
The EK backs were strong defensively on the rare occasions that GHK were able to go wide.
While EK’s two strong-running wingers, Brown and Ferguson, were perhaps under-utilised, both presented real problems to the visitors when they came infield to get involved.
The return from injury of Scott Shankie, who scored all of EK’s points, adds a further attacking dimension to the sides’ play.
This was East Kilbride’s most important victory of the season to date. They followed the gameplan to the letter and turned over a side above them in the league which had lost only once before this season, to runaway title favourites Marr.
TEAM: Mclellan, Anderson, Hastie, Lannon, C Ferguson (II), Aitken, O’Neill,Jones (captain), Little, Greenfield, Brown, Seymour, Simpson, C Ferguson (I), Shankie.
Replacements: McQueen, Kampman, Miller, MacDonald.