This was the first of two games before the Christmas that Stewartry were looking to win and move up the league table for a top five finish at the end of the 2018.
CUMNOCK RFC 21pts STEWARTRY RFC 22pts
A good start to the game by Stewartry saw the Blacks rewarded with a penalty for a high tackle in only seven minutes. Leading points scorer Craig Mosey kicked the ball between the posts for a 3-0 lead.
Cumnock were keen to run the ball and were very physical moving the ball well but the greasy ball was knocked on, on a number of occasions giving Stewartry the chance to clear their lines.
Cumnock changed their tactics kicking for position putting Stewartry under pressure and winning a number of scrums. Another carry saw Cumnock score after three phases to score in the corner 5-3 Cumnock.
Minutes later Stewartry were penalised for hands in a ruck and Cumnock added a penalty score 8-3.
Not to be out done Stewartry took play back into the Cumnock 22 winning a lineout and driving over for a try hooker Kieran McGuire peeling of the back to score. Mosey added the conversion. 10-8 to Stewartry.
An injury to Captain and fullback John Fingland saw him go off and Stewartry rejigged the back line Scott Milligan going to full back and Fergus Donaldson making his debut for the Blacks on the wing.
Cumnock again kicked long into the corner turned Stewartry over and went through a number of phases to score out wide the conversion missed and Cumnock led 13-10 at half time.
The second half played out much of the same as both teams battled hard the Stewartry scrummage improving as the game went on.
A quickly taken free kick by scrum half John Picken saw the forwards set up Danny Boyd for a second try. The conversion missed. 15-13 Stewartry back in the lead.
A bit of a mix up in the Stewartry goal area with the ball going back the way and Cumnock were quickest to reach the loose ball and score a third try 18-15 to the locals.
Cumnock kept the pressure on but were repelled twice as Stewartry held them up over the line. In the end a penalty score was all Cumnock had to show for their effort .21-15.
With only five minutes to play Stewartry need another score the Blacks stayed patient and worked a number of phases retaining possession and driving hard at the line. Four penalty awards did not bring a penalty try to Stewartry before a textbook try from prop Mick McCulloch as he drove over at the posts for his first ever try for Stewartry. Craig Mosey added the conversion 22-21 to Stewartry.
The final whistle blew a minute later as Stewartry kicked the ball into touch.
A big effort by everyone but particularly the forwards who really fronted up to win the arm wrestle.
The win puts Stewartry up to fifth and they are looking to retain it with another win at home to Cambuslang this weekend ko 2.00pm at Greenlaw.