Rugby lads lose unbeaten home record
EAST Kilbride Rugby Club surrendered their unbeaten home record on Saturday when Ayrshire visitors Garnock proved to be too quick and too aggressive on the day.
Fraser Stott’s side opened brightly and were awarded an early penalty which was kicked to touch. The resultant line-out was caught and driven close to the Garnock line but instead of scoring, as seemed likely given that the EK pack massively outweighed the visitors, the ball was turned over and hoofed to safety.
This outcome seemed to particularly annoy forwards coach Gordon Dryburgh, given that this particular move had formed the centrepiece of Thursday night's training session.
With that let-off, the visitors began to spread the ball around and ran in two quick tries before Mark Ellison brought EK back into the match with a wonderful solo try just before the break, which was pretty much the end of the matter in terms of scoring.
Scott Shankie did add a penalty for EK in the second period but the usual raft of injuries, tactical substitutions and yellow cards disrupted what rhythm there had been during the first period and the contest petered out.
There was time for a moment of controversy late on, though, when a quarterback pass from Ally Dalgleish seemed to have put Ellison in for his second try but the referee chalked off the score having deemed that the pass was forward.
Shankie had an opportunity to gain EK the losing bonus point with the last kick of the match, but his 60-metre penalty fell 45 metres short.
EK can have no complaints over the result.
While the superior bulk of the home eight gave them an advantage at the scrummage, the greater mobility of the Garnock pack, allied with their more aggressive approach to the breakdown, saw them outplay EK in the loose.
Their backs also looked sharper than East Kilbride's, and they made fewer basic mistakes, particularly in their kicking from hand.
The defeat sees EK slip from sixth to ninth in the table and this Saturday they visit Linlithgow, who currently sit second bottom of the league but are only six points behind East Kilbride.
TEAM:Mclellan, Anderson, Perry, D Rosie, Dalgleish, Aitken (captain), Thornton, C Ferguson (III), Stott, Greenfield, Ellison, Simpson, Little, MacDonald, Shankie.
Replacements: Watson, Currie and A Blackwood.
Elsewhere at the weekend EK’s younger sides were in action, but far more worrying than the loss of the senior teams’ unbeaten record was the inability of the club to field a reserve team for their scheduled league fixture with Garnock.
While not the first time that the reserves have failed to fulfil a fixture, it has not happened for a number of seasons and in the past any lack of numbers tended to coincide with trips to the likes of Newton Stewart or Aberdeen. This one was a home game and highlights issues within the club in both playing numbers and commitment.
Meanwhile, due to the school holiday, only the S1 side were in action from the junior section and they travelled east to the tremendous sporting facility of Lasswade RFC where they took on the host side and then Heriots FP.
In the opening encounter EK had too much power up front for the Bonnyrigg side as Paul Cairncross ran riot in the loose, while EK had such an edge at the set-piece that the referee was forced to insist upon uncontested scrummaging.
With a solid platform to work from the East Kilbride half-backs, Ciaran Mullins and James McKinnon, had plenty of time to direct proceedings. McKinnon scored a try, as did Lewis McFie, while Nathan Horner collected a hat-trick.
There was little between EK and Heriots in the second game that could not have been fixed by the removal of two of the Edinburgh boys who would have towered over East Kilbride's under-16s, never mind the S1's.
This pair combined to score all five of Heriots’ tries in a 19-0 win.
If any mothers in East Kilbride are hiding similar behemoths under the bed then the coaching staff at EKRFC would be interested to hear about it, although as rugby is a game for all shapes and sizes, new players, regardless of physique, are always made welcome.