BT West One



IRVINE's difficult start to the season continued as they were edged out by Cambuslang at Coats Park.

Four times the visitors took the lead – through tries by new signing Sam Buswell, Kevin Lang in a rare outing at number eight and Craig Williams, as well as a penalty by fly-half Per Jacobson – but they were pegged back each time, and ultimately found themselves on the wrong side of the final scoreline.

The visitors had hoped for a strong start to their BT West One campaign to make up for their early exit from the Shield, and keep their other pre-season target of promotion in their sights.

But this defeat, on the back of last week’s opening-day drubbing at the Bearyards, puts this in doubt with tough trips to Annan, Carrick, Oban and Helensburgh to come before they entertain East Kilbride on October 14.

The match started promisingly enough for an Irvine side missing several key players, lock Jamie Doolan setting the tone by nearly running the opening kick-off back for a try and heralding a nine-minute spell of possession which culminated in Buswell’s try in the corner, Jacobson converting for 7-0.

This merely served to wake the home side up however, and on the quarter hour, lock Max Crumlish eluded the visiting defence to dot down behind the posts, giving kicker Chad McGlame a formality of a conversion.

Irvine regained the initiative as the game entered the second quarter, and it was no surprise when Lang raced clear to touch down. There was a slight suspicion of a high tackle on Lang as he crossed but it scarcely mattered as Jacobson made light work of the conversion to make it 14-7.

The visitors’ momentum was stalled just after the half hour, when Ross Campbell received a yellow card for a high tackle of his own as the hosts turned up the heat. They were able to hold out for much of the power play but were undone just before half-time when McGlame breezed in under the posts and converted his own try to square it up once more.

Jacobson kicked a penalty wide just after the interval as Irvine sought a fast resumption, but the game became increasingly scrappy and stop-start until the hour mark when McGlame had a second try ruled out for a forward pass.

Irvine immediately capitalised on the let-off with Williams’ try – converted by Jacobson – but this lead was their shortest-lived yet, with home full back Louis Senter darting over just three minutes later. McGlame’s conversion restored the deadlock.

This time Irvine were handed an immediate chance to get back in front when the hosts infringed at the kick-off, and Jacobson made no mistake this time to put the tourists 24-21 up with 13 minutes remaining.

Cambuslang were not finished yet however, and brought up their bonus point with four minutes left when Senter drew the visiting defence before feeding winger Indio Harland for the score on the right, McGlame converting to leave Irvine needing a try of their own to win.

But despite throwing everything at the hosts in the closing minutes, they were unable to find that try and had to be content with a losing bonus point instead.

CAMBUSLANG: L Senter; I Harland, C McGlame, S Newall, S Pyke; E Jones, G Bannerman; M McGarvey, R Ledger, B Boum, M Crumlish, D Klieve, R Hynde, J McGeehan, G Jones. Subs: S Mallon, S Lennox.

IRVINE: C Williams; S Buswell, C Lang, S Cook, J Carson; P Jacobson, R McVey; B Auld, R Campbell, E Callaghan, J Doolan, J Goodlet, C Maxwell, A Lang, K Lang. Subs: K McCrae, A Nugent, K Finneran, D Dunsmuir.