BANNOCKBURN 18-17 QUEENSFERRY
A LATE Nick Wales try ensured Bannockburn made a winning start to the season in Saturday's friendly encounter against Queensferry.
On a baking hot day at Bluebellwood, 'Burn started and finished the match well, but a slack period in between allowed the visitors to stretch ahead.
It was only in the dying minutes, when captain John Dawson converted centre Wales's score, that the home side sneaked in front again and managed to hold on for victory.
'Burn had made the brighter start. Guy Harewood showed well at the lineout; the midfield combination of Euan Wilson, Scott McGown and
Wales showed plenty of attacking intent and the strong running of Chris Collins, David Grainey and Robert Brown caused problems for the visitors. The home team took the lead when Dawson touched down on the left, after good attacking play by the pack. His conversion attempt drifted just wide.
Queensferry, starting only their second season of senior rugby, fought back well. Their offloading in the tackle caused the home defence
problems but Dawson stretched 'Burn's lead with a well-struck penalty after an infringement at a ruck.
Queensferry hit back quickly with a converted score under the posts and took the lead when some ineffective home tackling allowed them in on the right. Dawson rounded off the first half with another well-struck penalty which left the score after 40 minutes at 12-11 to the visitors.
The second half was a scrappier affair as both sets of players began to wilt in the heat but Queensferry continued to punch holes in the Burn
defence and were rewarded midway through the half when a good backs move ended with a try on the right wing, which was not converted.
'Burn picked up their effort. Number eight Nick Cram made a bullocking 30-metre charge but was thwarted by some good last-ditch cover defence; Alan Greenwood broke through two Queensferry tackles in their 22 but was smothered before he could offload to the supporting Harewood and lock Euan Normansell spearheaded a drive by the pack which was snuffed out close to the Queensferry line.
In the end the winning score came through a piece of initiative from Wales, who saw space beyond the Queensferry defensive line, kicked deep and won the race to touch down near the posts. Dawson added the extras and Bannockburn held on for the narrowest of wins.
Brown - positive in both attack and defence - and debutant Wilson, who looked dangerous throughout, shared man of the match honours.
Plum of the day was Guy Harewood. He knows why.