BT National League Three



THE much-needed home win over Haddington proved to be another false dawn as Dalziel cruised to victory at Marress on Saturday,.

This disappointing result moves the visitors – who outscored the home side by five tries to one – out of the relegation zone, while Irvine now have little hope of staying up, with only two home games left as well as tough trips to Perthshire, Dumfries and Orkney.

Irvine secured draws at the former two venues last season, but on this season’s form repeats of those results are unlikely.

Captain Ruchin Filander scored and converted Irvine’s try on the stroke of full=time to add to Craig Williams’ three penalties, and give the final scoreline a veneer of respectability the home side’s performance barely deserved.

Indeed, had visiting goal kicker Darren Moon been on better form with the boot, the tourists could have been even further ahead.

The match could not have been a further cry from the corresponding fixture last season, when Irvine came flying out of the traps and scored the opening try after only 28 seconds.

This time, the first-minute try went the way of the visitors – winger James Baxendale scoring the first of a hat- trick after 50 seconds – and while Dalziel’s victory was not quite as emphatic as the 64-7 win Irvine went on to run up that day, there is no question they were similarly worthy winners.

Moon converted Baxendale’s opener – his only successful kick of the afternoon – and Williams reduced the deficit to 7-6 with his first two penalties before Baxendale crossed again in 24 minutes.

Filander was sin-binned for the second game in a row just after the half hour and although Williams notched his third penalty to get the hosts back to 12-9 shortly afterwards, they were unable to prevent the visitors going further in front on the stroke of half-time through number eight Gary Thornton after the visiting forwards had mauled to the line.

Irvine were handed a lifeline six minutes into the second half when Dalziel flanker Crawford Reid was sin-binned, but they were unable to capitalise on his absence – and the visitors made them pay by making the game safe, scrum-half Cameron King scoring and Baxendale completing his hat-trick in quick succession with 15 minutes left to take the score to 27-9.

A yellow card apiece with three minutes to go was the only further drama before Filander’s consolation.

IRVINE: C Williams; C Lang, R Elliston, N McMillan, R Gilmour; B Skipper, J Carson; S Docherty, L Ferguson, E Callaghan, T McHarg, A Nugent, J Doolan, A Lang, R Filander (capt). Reps: C Stevenson, I Allen, Z Hamilton, S Rowley.

Marress were also due to entertain their Dalziel counterparts, but that game was called off due to a waterlogged pitch following inclement weather through the week They travel to Carrick next, while Irvine head to Perthshire.