BT West One



IRVINE put their Shield final defeat against Carrick behind them to clinch sixth place in the league with a bonus-point victory at Violetbank.

The visitors were missing some first-choice players but kept up their recent good form, which has now seen them win seven of their last 10 league games as well as reaching the Regional Shield final.

Tries from Jake Cresswell, Ruchin Filander, Siya Moabi and Neil McMillan paved the way for victory.

The hosts, who were playing their last league game of the season, created their share of chances but were limited to a single reply from winger Max Thorburn.

Irvine round off their season this Saturday at home to Oban.

It was a game of attack against defence in the Irvine half in the early stages as the hosts sought to get off to a fast start.

But the visitors were more than equal to the task and just after the quarter hour, they hit the home side with the kind of sucker punch that has become almost routine in recent games, with Cresswell racing clear for the opening score to crown a series of penalties after Moabi and Ben Sekgobela had done the initial damage.

Captain Ben Auld converted for a 7-0 lead and Irvine then went back-to-back, or perhaps “forward-to-forward” with the outside backs again making the telling breach before the ball was switched across to the opposite flank, where lock Jamie Doolan fed the supporting Filander to touch down in the corner.

Annan tried to respond, and nearly scored through Daniel Nordon just before the half hour after the Irvine pack lost control of the ball at a scrum, only for the lock to lose the ball in contact as he drove for the line.

The hosts were held up at a subsequent scrum as they looked to turn up the heat, but it was their turn to give the ball away, and shortly after Jama Ntenga’s pass to McMillan was ruled forward Moabi sprinted from his own half to score under the posts, Robbie McVey adding the conversion to make it 19-0.

Six minutes after the break it was 26-0 when McMillan and Moabi neatly exchanged passes to send the former over on the right, Auld resuming the kicking duties to add the extras.

Annan finally had their response shortly afterwards through an error by the visitors.

Irvine looked to have the situation under control when they forced a defensive lineout on their line, but opted to try to play rugby out of defence instead of clearing their lines – and when they were ruled guilty of a forward pass, Thorburn scored on the right from the resulting scrum.

The hosts dominated the remainder of the game, aided by increasing indiscipline on the part of the visitors, but were unable to score again and the tourists saw the game out with few alarms.

IRVINE: Jama Ntenga; Scott Cook, Neil McMillan, Jake Cresswell, Craig Lang; Siya Moabi, Robbie McVey; Craig Stevenson, Ben Auld (captain); Ewan Callaghan, Jamie Doolan, Kris Finneran, Ben Sekgobela, Andrew Lang, Ruchin Filander. Replacement: David Kirkwood.

IRVINE 2nd XV were also in action against their counterparts at Violetbank, and backed up October’s 107-14 home victory with a 48-7 bonus-point victory to remain in the hunt for promotion from BT Reserve West Two. They are level on points with Whitecraigs, who won 34-31 at home to Allan Glen’s.

Irvine are due to visit them next, before entertaining Whitecraigs the following week.