RBS West One



IT proved to be a “tale of two interceptions” as Irvine were edged out by Stewartry at Marress.

Irvine were trailing 7-0 late in the first half to scrum-half John Picken’s early try when Neil McMillan intercepted a wayward pass in the visitors’ half only to knock it on, his mind presumably racing ahead to the try he was about to score.

The home side rallied to lead 14-7 by the hour, through tries by Sandy Thomson and Ryan Elliston, and were looking set to extend that lead when Robbie McVey’s pass was intercepted and the resulting possession culminated in winger Scott Milligan crossing on the right with five minutes to go.

The try went unconverted but fly-half Craig Mosey goaled an injury-time penalty to win the game.

Irvine remain in the BT West One relegation zone, and next face a tricky derby at home to second-placed Kilmarnock.

The game got off a scrappy start in challenging conditions characterised by a stiff crosswind and squally rain, and the visitors settled first, sending Picken over to the left of the posts to give Mosey a relatively easy conversion for 7-0.

Irvine came more into the game, but despite mounting several raids into the Stewartry half they were unable to capitalise, and apart from their late scare Stewartry finished the first half in the ascendancy.

The home side monopolised possession in the early stages of the second half but struggled to impose themselves until Thomson finally forced his way over after an extended spell of try-line pressure, Chris Hobson converting to square the match at 7-7.

Irvine’s tails were up now and Hobson was only just marshalled into touch by the Stewartry defence as they sought to turn up the heat.

They did not have to wait long to take the lead however, as shortly afterwards Elliston raced onto Per Jacobson’s pass to touch down under the posts. The pass looked forward, but referee Colin McInnes saw no infringement and the try stood. Jacobson’s conversion took the score to 14-7.

The hosts continued to threaten as the game entered the closing stages, and a move sparked by Paul Paterson’s breakout broke down just before the tourists’ game-changing moment.

IRVINE: S Buswell; C Williams, N McMillan, R Elliston (captain), J Murdoch; C Hobson, R McVey; E Callaghan, R Campbell, L Ferguson, S Thomson, J Doolan, J Carson, B McLaws, C Maxwell. Reps: K McCrae, A Nugent, P Paterson.

Meanwhile Davie Kerr scored the only try, converted by Daniel Dunsmuir, as the 2nd XV lost 42-7 at Hamilton 3rds. They are next due to entertain East Kilbride.