A FLURRY of Whitecraigs tries in the closing 15 minutes was enough to see off a determined Edinburgh University side on Saturday.
The match in the capital was in the balance for most of the afternoon due to a combination of poor Craigs decision making and impressive defence from the home side.
But after a series of bizarre decisions from the referee the West Lodge men managed to produce enough quality to come away with the points.
It was the university who drew first blood with a solid long-range penalty after 10 minutes before Whitecraigs picked up the pace to get themselves on the scoreboard.
Impressive handling by William Corbett and Graeme Fisher put Craigs into the danger zone and then a bullocking run by Fraser Campbell brought the first try of the day.
For most of the half Whitecraigs were pushing hard for more points, with notable runs by David McKelvie and Nicky Blamire, but it took until five minutes from half time for another try to eventually come.
Astute kicking by Ally Stevenson forced a scrum just five metres from the try line and a massive drive by the Craigs pack allowed Ben Blamire to touch down to make it 10-3 at the interval.
The visitors came out with more purpose after the break and despite playing all the rugby it was the university who grabbed another penalty to close the gap to four points.
Stevenson then nudged a kick over to increase his side’s advantage again, before the first controversial decision of the day threatened to turn the match on its head.
The university stand-off struck a drop-goal which dropped well underneath the bar, but the referee inexplicably awarded the points.
With the fussy whistler spoiling what could have been an entertaining encounter, Craigs finally produced some clinical play to cut open the home defence.
A clean break by Stuart Pollock produced quick ball to the backs for Ryan Moffat to glide through a gap to score under the posts.
And minutes later Craigs had the bonus point try they craved, albeit courtesy of another bizarre decision by the ref.
Moffat put up a high cross-field kick and despite the home winger fielding the ball and touching it down, the referee ruled the defender had fumbled giving Kieran Eddy the simplest of tries.
Quick-fire scores by Corbett and Pollock in the closing minutes put Craigs out of sight before a consolation try by the university concluded the day’s scoring at 37-14.
Head coach Jim Henderson said: “I’m delighted to get the five points today, but the boys were a bit nervous with us being so close to reaching our goal.
“We have to keep playing to our potential and hopefully things will fall into place for us.
“But I think that today’s score flatters us a bit because the uni boys are a very good team who are fit and athletic and made it hard for us.”
Team: Christine, Monaghan, Campbell, Nisbet, McKelvie, N Blamire, Hunter, Pollock, Henderson, Stevenson, Fisher, Moffat, Percival, Eddy, Corbett. Subs – B Blamire, McLeod, Nicol.
Whitecraigs take on RHC, in Edinburgh, on Saturday (kick-off 3pm) as they close in on promotion to the premiership.