BT National League Three


RHC 38

IRVINE are running out of games to save their BT National Three status after another expensive defeat at home to RHC.

The hosts trailed 19-13 with 10 minutes to go after capitalising on the sin-binning of visiting scrum-half Ross Buchanan through captain Ruchin Filander’s try, but were unable to score again and three late tries from Buchanan, centre Euan Morrison and fly-half Ciaron John sealed a comfortable win for the tourists in a game Irvine were targeting for victory.

With eighth-placed East Kilbride not in action due to the postponement of their visit to Perthshire, the gap to safety is only up to 12 points – but with only seven games to go Irvine must start winning soon to have any chance of staying up.

Next up for Irvine is the daunting trip to Orkney, and they will be buoyed by the fact that fellow relegation candidates Berwick were able to secure a draw on their visit to Pickaquoy.

Irvine made the brighter start of the two teams at Marress, and dominated the opening quarter – but despite opening the scoring through Ryan Elliston’s try, which went unconverted, a penalty miss from in front by player-coach Blair Skipper was as close as the home side came to extending their lead.

And they were made to pay for this profligacy when John and lock forward Joe Taylor crossed the Irvine line in quick succession to give Buchanan two textbook conversions.

The visitors were now very much in the driving seat at 14- but were lucky to keep 15 men on the pitch when one of their defenders was ruled to have deliberately knocked on in his 22 as Irvine tried to hit back before half -time.

Elliston took over the kicking duties to knock through the resulting penalty, and the sides turned around with the hosts trailing 14-8.

Irvine needed a good start to the second half to continue the comeback, but the half was barely a minute old when RHC extended their lead, winger Stuart Morrison crowning a length-of-the-field move with a touchdown in the far corner.

Buchanan missed the conversion before his yellow card gave the home side hope, but it was RHC’s day and it fell to the scrum-half to bring up the bonus point as their late show took the game away from Irvine.

Marress likewise made a game of it against their counterparts from Glasgow Academicals, but were unable to prevent the visitors running up a 48-27 victory. Craig Hobson was the pick of the scorers with a brace of tries and a conversion, while Daniel Dunsmuir, Martin Sneddon and Paul Paterson scored a try apiece.

They now have a week off from competitive action before entertaining third-placed Hillhead/Jordanhill.

IRVINE – I Kerr; N Murray, J Cresswell, R Elliston, N McMillan; B Skipper, J Carson; S Docherty, D Kirkwood, E Callaghan, T McHarg, A Nugent, J Doolan, A Lang, R Filander (capt). Reps: L Ferguson, I Allen, C Lang.