Tennent's West One



By Derek Murdoch

IRVINE put their Shield disappointment behind them to get the Tennent's West One campaign off to a winning start at Marress.

A penalty try and scores from open play for Alan Nugent and captain Ross Campbell, allied to two penalties and a conversion by Craig Hobson won this derby showdown for the hosts.

Kilmarnock had notched the game's opening try through centre Craig McWhirter - converted by captain Ally McWhirter - and threatened a late comeback through tries by Greg Andrews and David Smith, but Irvine held on to ensure the tourists went home empty-handed.

There had not been much between the sides in the opening stages before Hobson opened the scoring with his

first penalty.

Slack defence by the hosts allowed McWhirter in for his try several minutes later, but the Irvine pack increasingly took control in the scrums as the game progressed and it was through this route that they took the lead they were not to surrender when a series of dominant scrummages on the Kilmarnock line five minutes from the break led to referee Rab McHenry pointing to the posts.

Ally McWhirter missed a penalty that would have squared it up on the stroke of half-time, and Irvine punished him for his profligacy when Nugent crashed over from another attacking scrum five minutes after the restart.

Hobson missed the conversion but made amends 10 minutes later with his second penalty after the visiting

defence had strayed offside. He then added the conversion after Campbell took a slick offload from Neil McMillan to score under the posts moments later.

Andrews notched his try in the corner with 10 minutes left after a patient series of drives toward the Irvine line as the tourists rallied, and Smith's try - aided by the late sin-binning of Scott Rowley - gave McWhirter the chance to secure a losing bonus, but he was unable to find the target.

IRVINE: Craig Hobson; Ian Kerr, Martin Sneddon, John Carson, Scott Rowley; Neil McMillan, Robbie McVey; Logan Ferguson, David Kirkwood, Ewan Callaghan, Sandy Thomson, Taylor McHarg, Ross Campbell, Paul Paterson, Alan Nugent. Subs: Baris Nesvat, Craig Maxwell, Jamie Doolan, Elliott Skeoch.

Irvine are next due to travel to newly-promoted Cumnock. The 2nd XV also make the trip after their home match

against Hillhead/Jordanhill failed to go ahead due to the visitors being unable to field a team.