West U18S Win Tight Contest

East U18 15, West U18 18

Riverside Park hosted the annual East v West Under 18 Pathway match on Wednesday night, with the West just coming out on top in a keenly contested encounter.

West got off to a perfect start when early pressure resulted in Craig Jackson slotting a third minute penalty. The lead was short lived however as Greg Anderson challenged West full back Gavin Young for a high ball inside the West 22 five minutes later, and wing Gavin Campbell was on hand to pick up the rebound and stroll over unopposed.

Jackson was unlucky when a long range penalty bounced back off the post but this was a rare foray into East territory as the men in red took a stranglehold on the game. They were rewarded when more good work from Anderson saw the centre get behind the West defence before off-loading to the supporting Steven Mabon who went over beside the posts. Euan Scott added the simple conversion for a 12-3 lead for the East.

West replied with a try of their own when the East back division were sucked infield by dummy runners allowing Jamie Livingston the space to squeeze in at the left hand corner, narrowing the deficit to 12-8. On the stroke of half-time East went further ahead as the West defence was stretched and a penalty conceded which Scott duly goaled for a 15-8 interval lead.

If the East were dominant in the first half it was West's turn to control territory in the second, with only fleeting breaks from East punctuating the West dominance. Ten minutes into the half West scored their second try when Bruce Colvine broke blind from a scrum twenty metres out. He found Craig Robertson who cut infield and then back out to go over in the right corner, reducing the deficit to two points.

West finally went ahead with fifteen minutes left after East were stretched first left then right before conceding a penalty five metres out. Rather than take the relatively straightforward shot at goal West took a quick tap and fed the ball wide to Gregor Young who powered over to put West 18-15 ahead.

Further opportunities were few and far between and when a fine Jamie Livingston break (now scrum-half for the East rather than left wing for the West) came to nothing East missed their last chance and West held on for the win.