Arbroath 43, Stobswell 30
ARBROATH welcomed Stobswell to the High School pitches in the third round of the RBS Caledonia Midland League Three.
The home side was looking to bounce back from a narrow defeat the previous week and started off positively, having the better of the opening exchanges. A spate of early penalties made the game a bit fragmented, and after perhaps underestimating the home side leading up to the kick off, Stobswell opted to kick a penalty to open the scoring.
Nakavulevu responded immediately with a powerful and direct run which the Stobswell defenders had no answer for to take the lead 5-3. Newcomer Wilkie gathered the restart well and set up the ruck but an infringment saw Stobswell regain the lead with another kick at goal. 5-6.
The ever improving Shaw, playing at full-back, fielded a clearance kick in his own 22 and taking the opposition by surprise, ambitiously countered and made it deep into Stobswell territory. Stobswell were forced into conceding a penalty which Nakavulevu tapped quickly. Nice interplay between him and Neish saw the try line beckoning, Neish unselfishly offloaded to McIntyre who plunged over to regain the lead 12-6.
Despite some strong defence from the Arbroath pack, Paul Gibson was unfortunately sin binned and Stobswell took full advantage by scoring two tries to take a half-time lead to 12-20.
With the wind now at their back and the Stobswell forwards feeling the effects of some heavy tackling, Arboath were still not out of the game.
Veteran Greig at scrum-half was not looking out of place despite a lengthy absence and M. Gibson was making a welcome return to action to reinforce the squad. Things were beginning to look grim when Stobswell opened the scoring in the second half 12-25.
Rather than letting their heads go down, Arbroath kept in touch when Atu powered over for a well worked try. The game was now finely balanced with possession and scores see-sawing back and forth. With the game being so close tempers were running high and fisticuffs were never too far from breaking out.
Stobswell scored a further try before a tremendous surge of four unanswered tries from Nakavulevu, Pinnington and Atu gave Arbroath a 43-30 lead to defend for the last 15 minutes.
What followed was a defensive stand not seen in many a year. Stobswell threw the kitchen sink at the Arbroath defence who would not yield. Lewis, Neish, and McIntyre were in the thick of it, repelling about half a dozen tap penalties from short range. Much to the delight of the spectators, the referee finally blew his whistle on a hard fought but well deserved victory.
This result was the reward for weeks of hard training on a Thursday night and has been on the card since the start of the season. Proof that training and gelling as a team makes the difference over individual skill. The challenge now is to build upon this result in the coming weeks.
Team: Smith, G. Irving, Wilkie, McIntyre, Neish, Pinnington, Jones, Lee, Greig, Nakavulevu, Atu, P. Gibson, Williams (c), Shaw, Starkey, Lewis, M Gibson and Jones, Grey, Franssen, B. Irving and Adair.
Tomorrow (Saturday), the game is away to Panmure. Training continues at RM Condor every Thursday 6.15 p.m., all standards welcome. Find them on www.arbroathrfc.com or www.facebook.com/groups/arbroathrfc