BT West One



IRVINE produced their finest defensive performance yet to hold off a dominant East Kilbride side at Marress.

The visitors, who thrashed Irvine 51-14 in the corresponding fixture at Torrance House in October, were in the ascendancy for much of the game – one Irvine supporter in attendance estimated the home side had as little as 25 per cent possession, but were restricted to just two tries through prop Eddie Beaton and hooker Scott Aitken.

Meanwhile, Irvine took deadly advantage of their attacking outlets in the backs from turnover ball, with breakaway tries by Siya Moabi, Ryan Elliston and Jama Ntenga bookending touchdowns by flankers Andrew Lang and Ben Sekgobela.

The result means Irvine move above this weekend's hosts Allan Glen’s into sixth place in the table.

Irvine came flying out of the traps and the match was barely five minutes old when Lang forced his way over on the left from a good spell of try line pressure after an ill-disciplined start by the visitors.

The hosts continued to look the more likely for a while, but the visitors came more into the game as it entered the second quarter and Irvine increasingly found themselves on the wrong side of referee Scott Livingstone.

But on the half hour, just when it looked like East Kilbride were going to make the breakthrough, the visitors gave the ball away and from the resulting possession Moabi raced clear to double the home side’s lead.

Chris Hobson’s conversion frustratingly crashed back off the near post, which looked even more costly when Beaton finally got the visitors on the board three minutes before the interval, but he made no mistake from in front in injury-time after Elliston breezed over from another incisive counter-attack and the sides turned around with Irvine leading 17-5.

East Kilbride continued to dominate possession after the restart, but they had no answer to Irvine’s counter-attacking game and after a Moabi breakaway was thwarted by a knock-on, Ntenga crowned another lightning break with the bonus point try in 55 minutes.

The full-back was the victim of a late tackle after the touchdown as the visitors’ frustration with proceedings appeared to boil over, but they got it back together and gave Irvine something to think about just after the hour when Aitken claimed their second try on the left, converted by Calum Blackwood to reduce the arrears to 10 points.

But despite more concerted pressure they were unable to score again, and Sekgobela made the game safe with two minutes to go, Elliston converting to round off the scoring.

IRVINE – Jama Ntenga; Craig Lang, Christopher Hobson, Jake Cresswell, Siya Moabi; Ryan Elliston, Robbie McVey; Craig Stevenson, Ben Auld, Ewan Callaghan, Alan Nugent, Jonathan Goodlet, Ben Sekgobela, Andrew Lang, Ruchin Filander. Replacements: David Kirkwood, Tommy Turner, Ross Campbell, Neil McMillan.