McLAREN 13pts STEWARTRY 29pts.

    Stewartry went into this rearranged league game knowing that only a bonus point win would keep the pressure on second placed Annan who have three games in hand with a potential fifteen points available.

Stewartry kicked off earning a penalty in the first minute for McLaren holding on to the ball. The referee was handing out a number of penalty awards as both teams went in hard Stewartry wanting the win and McLaren hoping to avenge a disappointing 33-0 defeat earlier in the season at Greenlaw. Mosey kicked to touch but the ball was lost. McLaren proved to be strong in the lineout with a good jumper at number two. Stewartry were strongest in the scrums taking a number against the head even the balls that were put into the second row by the useful McLaren scrum half. In four minutes a penalty to touch for the home team saw them win possession and drive over the Stewartry line only to be held up. Stewartry cleared the ball after winning the scrum. Four minutes later Picken made a try saving tackle. Eleven minutes and Stewartry were penalised for not releasing and McLaren kicked the three points. Picken was in good form gathering up any clearance kicks from the McLaren stand off. Four minutes later John Kerr’s quickly taken penalty gave Porteous a scoring chance but the referee disallowed the try for a forward pass. Picken once again won the ball and passing to Cannon the captain who set of on a charge deep into the McLaren 22.  Muir ,Andrew Kerr and Thomson took play to the McLaren line. A penalty award ten metres out gave Stewartry a scrummage option next to the posts. McLaren were again penalised at the scrum and Stewartry again opted for the scrum. McLaren again disrupted the scrum illegally and Stewartry were awarded a penalty try. Mosey added the conversion for Stewartry to go 7-3 ahead. From the restart Burton won the ball and set Muir away the move ending in a ruck which ended with the McLaren number five being yellow carded for a penalty to many.  Smith and Hamilton drove forward from the penalty followed by two more breaks by Andrew Kerr, Hamilton was stopped short then Picken, Austin, Muir and Hamilton just missed a try in the corner. Just before halftime McLaren were back to full strength and had not lost any points in the ten minutes they were down to fourteen men but they lost a penalty kick from Mosey in the minute of injury time for Stewartry to lead 10-3 at half time.

McLaren kicked off with more purpose and a penalty award gave them the chance to break down the left wing breaking through some poor Stewartry tackles to score in the corner. The conversion was missed. This score lifted the McLaren team and their back division were up fast making strong tackles on the Stewartry leading to a number of penalty awards against Stewartry. But another scrum against the head for Stewartry saw McLaren bring in plan B after an injury to their hooker and with no front row replacement available  scrums went  uncontested thus Stewartry losing their scrummage advantage. Minutes later John Muir was put in for a try as the Blacks players won possession out on the right and passed the ball out  left through six pairs of hands for Muir to claim his twenty fifth try of the season. Stewartry quickly followed up with a third try McMorrin , Porteous and Picken putting Thomson over in the corner. Mosey converted to put Stewartry 22-8 ahead. Substitutes Broll, Fenwick, Maxwell and veteran Swalwell were brought on to freshen up the Stewartry attack as the Blacks pushed for the bonus point try. With six minutes to play John Picken went over for the try after some good driving play from Austin, Mosey, Swalwell and Hamilton, Mosey adding the conversion from the touch line. 29-8. Two minutes later McLaren broke out from their own 22 to score in the corner the conversion missing. The game finished with both teams counting the injuries sustained on the hard surface and some hard tackling from both teams.

A great result for Stewartry as they now have to wait until 21st May and the visit of Isle of Arran to have the chance to clinch the title knowing what will be required as Annan will have caught up their three games in hand by then.

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