Sandy Irving Memorial Trophy Match Returns After Covid – Rugby News

Newton Stewart RFC made the short trip to Castle Douglas last weekend Saturday 20th August 2022, to play local rivals Stewartry RFC in a preseason fixture. These two sides usually compete annually for the Sandy Irving Memorial trophy, however due to COVID this is the first time the cup has been played for since the 2018-19 season.

The early play saw the Reds with the bulk of the possession, but play was scrappy in places in the Stewartry back row took advantage at the breakdown, stealing the ball to clear their lines.

With only seven minutes on the clock Newton Stewart winger David Adams ran in over the line for what looked to be an undeniable try, however the referee deemed it to have been ‘held up’ and no score was awarded.

A prolonged spell of Stewartry possession followed with the Red pinned back inside their own half for some time. A couple of colossal tackles from captain Liam Brawls kept the home side at bay however and it was the turn of the Newton Stewart back row to steal the ball.

A poor line out from the Reds (as was the theme for the afternoon) meant that their time on the ball was short-lived. This summed up for the first half-hour of the game really – lots of opportunity, but sloppy play led to no rewards.

Just before half-time however a chink of light appeared when scrum-half Robbie McCornick threw a beautiful inside pass to Liam Brawls who scored a great close range try. Jack Gaw converted for 0-7.

Following the break Newton Stewart were pinged by the referee for repeated infringements and this poor discipline saw them forced deep into their own half. Stewartry were patient and went through their phases well before finishing in the corner for an unconverted try.

The Reds retaliated quickly and placed themselves on the opposition line. The ball was spun quickly from left to right and landed in the hand of full-back Russell Morton who crossed for a try, 5-12.

Centre Jack Gaw received a head-knock shortly afterwards which led to some reshuffling of the backs. 18-year-old Drew Fisher came on off the bench for his 1st XV debut and was instantly in the thick of the action, impressing with some real physicality in contact.

Newton Stewart continued to pressurise for spells of the second half but wasted many opportunities through a malfunctioning set-piece.

David Adams was determined to get his name on the score sheet and ran a superb incisive line to cross for a try with Drew Fisher adding the extras from a difficult angle.

Fisher rounded off a tremendous debut game with an awesome solo try, showing great pace and change of direction along the way. Converting his own try, the game was to finish 5-26.

This was a good result for Newton Stewart against a talented Stewartry side and it was by no means a one-sided game. There was much to work on for the Reds before the season gets underway on 3rd September, but the positives by far outweighed any frustrating errors as the ‘young guns’ showed just how ready they are for senior rugby.

The entire back row impressed with their work rate and David Adams looked sharp out on the wing. But Man of the Match had to be Drew Fisher for his impressive first showing for the club, adding a try for good measure.

Full Time – Stewartry RFC 5 – 26 Newton Stewart RFC

The Reds start their league campaign away to Glasgow Accies RFC on Sept 3rd, with the first home game at Bladnoch Park on Sat 10th September, 3pm kick-off.

Team: Russell Morton, Fraser Morton, Gregor Gaw, Jack Gaw, David Adams, David Gaw, Robbie McCornick, Adam Old, Thomas MacDonald, Liam Brawls (capt), Ben McMiken, Mark Craig, Daffyd Gwynne, Jamie Smith, Calum Gaw. Subs: Ronan MacDonald, Drew Fisher, Andrew Campbell, Kit Wright, Craig Johnstone, Nathan McCulloch, Angus McClymont.


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