A CONFIDENCE boosting bonus point on Saturday has given Craigs the “kick-start” they needed, according to the side’s head coach.
The West Lodge outfit travelled to the Borders to take on Langholm, in what turned out to be a bruising encounter.
But although both sides were trying to play open, attractive rugby, the whistle-happy referee never allowed the game to flow.
Whitecraigs took the initiative early on and even when Ally Stevenson missed an early penalty attempt, the small band of travelling supporters remained in buoyant mood.
After heaping the pressure on the home side’s defence, Craigs were thwarted on four occasions when they were held up over the line, and eventually had to settle for three points from Stevenson’s boot as rewa rd for 20 minutes of domination.
Straight from the restart though, a galloping break from Ross MacDonald released Craig Percival before Stuart Pollock finished off the well worked move under the posts.
Craigs were in the ascendency and when Langholm missed touch with an attempted clearance Graeme Fisher made a fabulous burst up field.
Fantastic interplay between Fisher and Hamish Hunter then allowed Percival to glide over to take the visitors into a 17-0 lead.
However, the Langholm boys did not let their heads drop and in a devastating final 10 minutes of the first half managed to chalk up a try and a penalty of their own to reduce the deficit to 17-10.
At the start of the second period Langholm got within four points with another penalty, before a clever blindside move from a scrum put Stuart Henderson over in the corner.
It seemed as though Craigs had found their rhythm again, that was until MacDonald was sent to the sin-bin by the over-officious whistler.
Despite being a man down Whitecraigs held firm and eventually got the try they were looking for after an opportunist piece of play by Stevenson.
Leading 29-13 with minutes to go, Langholm still managed to grab another try of their own and the referee also binned Ben Blamire.
But in the final play of the game a measured kick from Stevenson was collected by Johnstone who raced over the whitewash to finish the day’s scoring at 34-18.
Delighted head coach Jim Henderson said: “To come down here and get a win in the Borders is difficult and I think this week we performed well.
“This week started looking like the Whitecraigs we know and we have also changed our game plan a bit which seems to be working.
“I’m really pleased with the boys and I think today is just what we needed to kick-start the season.”