Stunning rugby clash ends with win for Arbroath

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Arbroath travelled to Crieff for their first league game of the new season and what a match it turned out to be in glorious sunny conditions.

Arbroath turned over the ball from the kick-off and were awarded a penalty with Crieff being caught offsid; up stepped Collins to try and seal the side’s first points but his attempt was way off the mark.

Crieff attacked from the dropout with Arbroath giving away a penalty; that was kicked into touch just inside the 22 before the number eight was knocked back by a tremendous tackle.

A knock-on gave Arbroath a scrum with Balharry sending a tremendous kick down into the 22 and though the Crieff fullback collected the ball, he turned over under pressure allowing Gibson to run into the corner to score, with Gray converting for a 7-0 lead.

The back-and-forth flow of the match was enthralling as Crieff earned a penalty right from the restart for holding on, and a successful conversion reduced arrears to 7-3.

An inch perfect kick from Collins saw good work by Gray force a turnover and a strong run by Haynes put Crieff on the back foot.

A quick ball by Balharry set the backs off and Hay scored in the corner, Gray again converting for 14-3.

Crieff then took their chance to score after a penalty for offside - they took a quick tap and scored a try, but the conversion was missed leaving the score 14-8.

Arbroath soon went behind as good forward play allowed Crieff to suck in the visitors’ defence - the centre was able to capitalise on an overlap to run in a try under the posts which, this time, was followed by a successful conversion to give Crieff a 15-14 lead.

Gray fired up the Arbroath players though and they were awarded a penalty in the last play of the half - up stepped Gray who sent the kick through the uprights for 17-15.

Crieff were on the front foot after the second half kicked off and forced a scrum, but the scrum half and number eight got their wires crossed allowing Balharry to collect the ball and fall over the line for an easy try - Gray again converted for 22-15.

Arbroath then shipped a scrum after getting held up and their scrumhalf fed their winger to score their third try which was converted for 22-22.

And it was the away team who duly took their chance to score when Gray scored from a penalty, putting Arbroath 25-22 up.

Brawn then collected his first try for Arbroath after being fed by Haynes just short of the line, and Gray’s conversion made it 32-22 to the visitors.

A poor restart from Arbroath resulted in Crieff scoring another easy try with the conversion missed for 32-27.

Crieff took the ball from the restart and sent their backline to have a go at Arbroath, but strong defence ended with a knock-on and from the scrum, excellent work allowed Hay to score under the posts and again Gray got the conversion, making it 39-27.

There were just five minutes to go and with a determination to stop Crieff scoring any more points, the Arbroath players were hitting anything that moved towards them.

The forwards were countering well and it wasn’t long until they were back into Crieff’s 22 but Breack knocked on just short of the line.

Off we set again whose turn was it score now thought everyone Crieff took the ball and sent it out to there backline to have a go at Arbroaths backs but strong defence ended up with a knock on and from the scrum some good play by Collins and Gibson and the dummy run by fullback Owens let Hay stroll untouched to score under the posts converted by Gray.

From the scrum the Arbroath pack drove the Crieff pack off the ball and a quick pass from Balharry to Collins gave him time to run at the defense and he sold the number 10 a dummy to score Arbroath’s final try which Gray missed, making it 44-27.

Arbroath host Fife Southern at 3pm this week.