Calderglen Country Park is not one of Stewartry’s favourite grounds the Blacks not having won home or away in either the league or the cup since a 20-10 win back in 1996 at Greenlaw and 17-4 in 1994 at Calderglen.
EAST KILBRIDE RFC 22pts STEWARTRY RFC 10pts.
The game started with the drizzle turning to rain which would make ball handling a bit of a lottery. Both teams were on a high from the previous week Stewartry rattling up 120 pts and East Kilbride 83pts.
Stewartry were missing top points scorer and play maker Craig Mosey ,Robert Austin taking the number ten shirt. Stewartry were looking to keep the ball moving with the backs and EK using their big heavier scrum to drive towards the Stewartry line.
EK were first off the mark with a penalty award conversion in only three minutes. 3-0. EK collected the restart and drove deep into the Stewartry half before being penalised. John Picken took a quick tap penalty made good ground winning another penalty five metres out. Same again a tap penalty and Picken dived over for his ninth try of the season. The conversion missed. 3-5.
Stewartry knocked on from the restart kick giving possession back to EK winning the scrum and keeping the pressure on the Stewartry defence before the big EK second row charged through for the try between the posts. The conversion was good. 10-5.
The referee was having his work cut out with numerous penalties awarded both ways and numerous unforced errors keeping the game in the midfield with few scoring opportunities.
Twenty minutes and a penalty kick for EK took them to the corner where they won the lineout and the pack drove over to score in the corner.
The conversion again missed but EK were 15-5 ahead in this hard fought game.
Stewartry continued to move the ball about at speed not easy on the muddy pitch while EK kept it tight in the forwards.
Another penalty was quickly taken by Picken and Stewartry took play back into the EK 22 where the forwards gave Danny Boyd the chance to jink through the EK defence for his first try of the season in yet another comeback game. 15-10.
The final minutes of the first half were all EK as they picked and drove keeping control to drive over for a third converted try. Half time 22-10.
The second half did not produce any points but both teams battled hard EK after a bonus point fourth try while the lighter Stewartry team going for a bonus losing point if they could close the gap with a third try. The referee kept control with numerous penalties being dished out to both teams on a regular basis.
The Stewartry scrum held its own against the heavier EK pack and young hooker Kieran McGuire throwing some good lineout balls for the Stewartry jumpers while the Blacks held their own in the scrums and a lively scrum half John Picken kept the Blacks in the game with his chance taking and quick delivery but the Blacks ran out of steam and were glad to hear the final whistle.
This week sixth placed Stewartry are at home to fourth placed Greenock Wanderers in the Tennents West One League kick off 2.00pm.