Sep 7 2012 by Lizzie Smith, Kilmarnock Standard
Glasgow Accies 18
RBS West Regional Division One
KILMARNOCK kicked-off their league campaign with a hard-earned victory over Glasgow Accies at Bellsland on Saturday.
The home side had a stiff breeze in their favour and after five minutes a head injury saw Accies lose one of their biggest forwards.
Kilmarnock fielded new faces in the backline and scrum together with recalled players and were tested as they sustained initial pressure by Accies.
However a steal in the lineout by Kilmarnock released Stuart Pratt in the centre with his return pass to Colin Sturgeon allowing him to scythe through the defence to score near the posts. His ever reliant boot gave Kilmarnock a 7-0 lead after eight minutes.
Both teams looked a little ring rusty in the next quarter and a mistimed tackle by the Accies scrum half saw him yellow carded. Minutes later a repeat of the lineout steal by the home side’s John Brown saw Sturgeon pass to centre Pratt again and this time his fellow centre Johnny Bradford scored a trademark try joining the line at pace to burst through for a second converted score. Kilmarnock were now 14-0 ahead with half an hour on the clock.
Accies attacked from the restart winning a scrum and forced the home side into their own 22, a second scrum was awarded then changed to a penalty which was converted by Accies stand-off Ally McLaren to make the score 14-3.
Both sides contested well in the closing minutes of the first half with Accies more proficient in recycling the second phase ball. A blind side break by Accies broke down as the ball was intercepted followed by a slick pass to Sturgeon who romped home for his second try and third conversion, 21-3 to the home side.
Half-time approached and Accies lost their number eight with a dislocated shoulder as the game was delayed for 10 minutes.
At the turn around Kilmarnock faced the wind and sun and the game saw early territorial advantage to the visitors.
Ill-discipline this time from McKenzie Pearce for an alleged dangerous tackle saw the yellow card produced.
Midway through the half Accies lost a third player but gained inspiration and were given an easy try as some poor tackling allowed them to run in an unconverted try making the score 21-8.
Seasoned campaigner Dave McLeod was replaced by youngster Paul Dickie.
Both sides exchanged penalties with Sturgeon kicking from 30 metres in front to extend Kilmarnock’s lead 24-8.
Pearce returned to the fray but Accies enjoyed their best period of play and narrowed the deficit with their outside centre scoring a second try afforded by poor tackling again. With 15 minutes left to play, Kilmarnock led 24-15.
Kieran Grant took to the field for the home side as Kilmarnock came under more pressure. Sturgeon kicked upfield but a high tackle gave the Accies stand-off a penalty kick from 53 metres which he converted.
At 24-18, Accies were one try away from a narrow victory with a few minutes remaining.
From the restart, Accies forged forward and kicked downfield back into Kilmarnock’s 22 area, home full back Ally McWhirter kicked upfield only to see the ball punted back into the Killie half, Sturgeon cleared narrowly to give Accies a lineout. John Brown was hoisted once more and stole the ball, the pack drove forward and won a penalty to ease the tension.
Sam Diamond replaced Ruaridh Cuthbertson on the wing as Kilmarnock won their own lineout, Sturgeon to Pratt who muscled 30 metres through the defence, Ally McWhirter picked up passing to left winger Paul Ramsey who broke outside dribbled ahead and picked up to score in the corner for a crucial bonus point try to secure victory.
With the last kick of the match, Sturgeon missed the conversion but was relieved like the crowd to hear the final whistle.
Coaches Robbie Stewart and Dougie Campbell were well pleased with the win by their charges.
This Saturday, Kilmarnock face an encounter with local rivals Garnock up at Lochshore.