Two wins in a row for on-form Arbroath

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Arbroath RFC Strathmore 2nd XV

ARBROATH welcomed local rivals Strathmore 2nds to the High School pitches looking to build upon the previous week’s victory over Alloa.

Despite the harsh wintry conditions, both sides played their part in a hard fought, yet fair, contest. There was not much between the two sides in the opening exchanges with neither side able to establish firm control of possession or territory.

Arbroath had the wind in their face for the first half, making it difficult to make any ground. Balharry slotted an early penalty from short range to open the scoring.

Strathmore responded strongly and ill discipline by Arbroath saw them concede a string of penalties which allowed the visitors to close in on the line and score from a quick tap penalty from short range to make it 7-3.

At this stage, the next points were crucial and thankfully it was Arbroath who were next on the scoresheet. Nakavulevu made inroads and the forwards rumbled on and made the hard yards before Pinninton barged over to regain the interval lead.

Half-time: Arbroath RFC 10, Strathmore 2nd XV 7.

The game was now finely balanced and both teams were giving all they had. Arbroath had the wind at their back and were using it to their advantage with plenty of up and unders testing the Strathmore full-back.

The home forwards were imposing themselves on proceedings. A lovely driving maul saw them gain vital metres and forward momentum with Jones peeling off to set up the ruck. The ball was secured quickly and Neish plunged over from short range to extend the Arbroath lead to 17–7.

Now in the ascendancy, the homesters were moving the ball around trying to find the gaps in a tiring Strathmore defence. Irving released his back line where Pinnington found himself on the wing to finish off a nice move by scoring in the corner despite the Strathmore attempts to force him into touch to make it a more comfortable yet still precarious 22–7.

To Strathmore’s credit they had not given up the fight. Loose play and a lapse in concentration from Arbroath saw the Strathy number 10 jink past two would be tacklers from a defensive scrum deep in their own 22 to streak almost the whole length of the pitch to score a converted try and set up another nail-biting finish at 22–14.

In much the same way as last week, the Arbroath defence now had to make its presence felt for the last 10 minutes. The Strathmore forwards had the bit between their teeth, sensing an unlikely comeback. With no quarter asked or given, each of the last handful of rucks was contested to the full but Arbroath held firm to make it two wins on the trot in the penultimate league match of the season.

Squad: Bruce, McLennan, Radunski, McIntosh, Robertson, McIntyre, Pinnington, Bedwell, Balharry, Irving, Nakavulevu, Jones, Saddington, Williams (c), McKenzie, Shaw, Neish, Watson, Adair, Muir and Burns.

The last league game of the season is away to Crieff. New players of all standards are always welcome. Find information at www.arbroathrfc.com or www.facebook.com/groups/arbroathrfc