Tennents West One



IRVINE once again paid the price for shooting themselves in the foot with defeat to local rivals Cumnock at Netherthird.

The tourists made the trip to East Ayrshire in confident mood, after downing Kilmarnock in the previous weekend's Tennent's West One opener, but they were unable to repeat the trick as their away day demons came back to haunt them once again.

Irvine started strongly and had some good interplay between the forwards and backs, which was rewarded with the opening try through Ian Kerr, but all of Cumnock's tries came from errors by the visitors.

One came when they tried to play rugby out of defence, with John Carson breaking the line only to see his attempted offload to Craig Hobson intercepted, allowing Callum Park to score the first of a brace of tries.

The Irvine lineout began to falter, hindering their ability to keep possession, and the hosts were rewarded for a patient spell of try line pressure with another try under the posts after working an overlap and drawing the defence out wide, Connor Hill claiming the touchdown.

Irvine were the better team in patches as the half wore on, but Cumnock continued to execute better and notched another try when both Hobson and Elliot Skeoch challenged for a high up and under and missed, allowing them to hack on and score, with John Watt narrowly beating Carson to the touchdown.

The two sides exchanged sin-binnings in the second half when David Kirkwood and later the Cumnock number 13 both received their marching orders, the former allowing the hosts to add Park's second try and a penalty through Jack Reilly - who also added two conversions - and the latter allowing the tourists to claw their way back into the game through tries from Kirkwood, Alan Nugent and captain Ross Campbell, and notch the try bonus.

Irvine trailed by a point at the death when they were awarded a penalty on halfway, but Craig Williams was unable to land the goal from the touchline and the visitors had to be content with two points.

There was better news for the 2nd XV, who beat their own Cumnock counterparts 31-24. Ross Dow was the pick of the scorers with a brace, while there were also singles for Martin Sneddon, Liam Matthews and James Cooney. Matthews added one conversion with Jamie Doolan accounting for the other two.

Irvine are next due to entertain Dalziel, while the 2nd XV are also at home with Carrick the visitors.