BT National League Three



IRVINE's slide toward the regional leagues continued with defeat at Dalziel.

Jamie Doolan’s second try in three games helped the visitors to a 10-6 half time lead, but a three-try burst in the opening minutes of the second half turned the game around for the hosts – and although Irvine hit back quickly through captain Ruchin Filander, they were unable to score again and there was a sense of inevitability about the bonus point try when it arrived in injury-time.

The result leaves Irvine – who have won only one of their last 16 matches in all competitions – six points adrift at the bottom of BT National Three, and nine adrift of safety.

They are next due to entertain another bogey side in the shape of Perthshire – who won 35-0 at Marress in November 2009 to hasten Irvine’s demise from Premier Three - before making daunting trips to Orkney and leaders GHK.

Dalziel made the livelier start of the two teams, but the Irvine defence held firm and when they finally got out of their own half for the first time 15 minutes in, they forced a penalty in front of the posts which Craig Williams goaled for a 3-0 lead.

Williams’ Dalziel counterpart, fly-half Darren Moon, squared it up when Irvine infringed at the kick-off, then put the home side in front from a central position five minutes later, after winger James Baxendale had been forced into touch in the act of scoring as referee Paul Cyphus played advantage.

The remainder of the half largely followed the pattern of Dalziel attacking and Irvine defending, until the visitors took the lead against the run of play through Doolan’s try, which Williams converted to get Irvine into double figures.

The tourists saw out the remaining minutes of the first half with few alarms, but it was a different story after the restart. Baxendale eluded the visiting defence to score the try he had threatened earlier, before full back Lee McWhinnie beat everyone else to the ball on a Moon kick play and number 8 Gary Thornton breezed through to touch down – all in the first six minutes.

Moon converted the latter two and suddenly Dalziel were in the driving seat at 25-10 ahead.

The visitors hit back when Ruchin Filander picked up at the base of a five-metre scrum – forced when Kevin Lang was held up over the line moments before – and bundled his way over.

That was to be the end of the scoring for Irvine, as the more they chased the game the more it seemed to run away from them – and after Moon had edged Dalziel back out to two scores in front on the hour, McWhinnie rounded off the scoring with the bonus point try.

DALZIEL HSFP: L McWhinnie; J Baxendale, J Howatson, R Westwood, R Burrell; D Moon, C King; G Sloan, S Baird, S Clowes, E Ferguson, R Watters, K Watters, C Reid, G Thornton. Reps: C Lewis, D Hay, M Boal, M Majewski.

IRVINE: C Williams; N Murray, C Lang, K Lang, R Gilmour; B Skipper, C Turnbull; S Docherty, C Stevenson, E Callaghan, A Nugent, T McHarg, I Allen, J Doolan, R Filander. Reps: D Kirkwood, BB Nesvat, L Ferguson, M Irvine.

REFEREE:– Paul Cyphus

MARRESS's concurrent trip to face their own Dalziel counterparts, meanwhile, had to be postponed. They are next due to entertain Carrick.