BT League One



IRVINE got back to winning ways in the latest Friday night match at Marress with a professional victory over bottom club Helensburgh.

The victory, in Irvine’s first competitive match since Jan 13, lifts the home side out of the BT West One relegation zone and gives them a much-needed shot in the arm ahead of Saturday's visit of third-placed Garnock.

The visitors briefly looked like making a game of it when the first of a brace of tries by Craig Lang – the winger crashing over in the corner after good work by the forwards in the red zone – was cancelled out by a try and conversion by Connor Slader after the centre did well to elude the home defence.

But for all that play raged from end-to-end throughout the match, there was to be no repeat of last season’s 83-point thriller as only Irvine carried any serious threat.

Fly-half Chris Hobson, who went on to have a mixed night with the boot in challenging conditions, missed an early chance to get the ball rolling from a central penalty, but made no mistake from the touchline with the conversion of Lang’s try in 12 minutes.

Helensburgh were only level for five minutes following Slader’s 25th-minute intervention.

Irvine passed up what looked like a relatively easy three points from a penalty in the 22 to opt for a scrum, and the decision paid off when the ball was worked along the line for Lang to dart in for his second try of the match.

Hobson was unable to add the conversion but was soon lining up another after prop Logan Ferguson forced his way over after another good drive by the forwards four minutes from the interval. This took the score to 19-7.

Irvine had the bit between their teeth now, and the only surprise about the bonus point try from captain Ryan Elliston was how long it took to arrive, coming two minutes from the end. Substitute Jamie Doolan then put the icing on the cake with a fifth, converted by Hobson to round off the scoring at 31-7.

IRVINE: Craig Hobson; Craig Lang, Elliott Skeoch, Ryan Elliston, Neil McMillan; Chris Hobson, Robbie McVey; Ewan Callaghan, Craig Maxwell, Logan Ferguson, Sandy Thomson, Alan Nugent, John Carson, Paul Paterson, Jonathan Goodlet. Subs: Baris Nesvat, Jamie Doolan, Ruchin Filander, John Murdoch.