Murryfeild Dream Ends For Ross

Strathendrick RFC vs. Ross – Sutherland RFC
Regional Bowl Semi Final
2nd April 2011
25- 17

Ross-Sutherland Stags narrowly missed out on a trip to Murrayfield, as they lost in the semi-final of the Regional Bowl competition to a strong Strathendrick side.

Ross received the ball from the kick –off and quickly dusted off the three hour journey down the A9 with some powerful work from the forwards forcing a penalty within the opening minutes, however the penalty was missed by Stu Mack. 

But the Ross players were really up for this match and quickly stormed into the lead after a succession of well worked phases, Ross’s kiwi full-back, Jimmy Sutherland found space on the wing to go on a fantastic weaving run from well inside his own half to go over for a fantastic opening try.  Silencing the home crowd in the process and demonstrating great pace, the conversion was subsequently missed as the Stags went into a 5-0 lead.

Strath then started to find their feet in the match and edged back into the game working off their stand-off to force the stags back into their own half, it was not long before they hit back with a try as Ewan Mackay went over, the try was then converted by Sam Greenock.  The game was again evenly balanced at 7-5 to Strath.

It was then the turn of Ross to come back into the game as the forwards began to rumble forward with powerful runs off old warrior Gerry Rosie and flamboyant back rower Ruaridh Waugh, who were beginning to find space.  But this was short lived as the Stags were unable to convert good field position into points.  This did not prove to be a problem for Strath, who against the run of play went over for their second try of the match through James Cuthbertson, however the conversation was missed.

Strathendrick were starting to show why they are top of their league, as they again pushed themselves further into the clear taking advantage of poor Ross discipline to score another penalty through scrum-half Sam Greenock, who made it 15-5 to the home side. 

Ross galvanised their troops and showed fantastic guts to go over for a try just before the end of the half, Stuart Mack showed great awareness to go over, peeling off the side of a ruck to squeeze in for the try.  Mack then converted his own try as half-time approached with three points the difference and this semi-final still in the balance at 15-12.

It was going to take a huge effort for Ross to book their place in the final.  Perhaps this got to the Ross players as Strath were able to enforce their winning habit, scoring a penalty to increase their lead to 17-12.  This was then quickly followed by a try to increase the margin by thirteen points.  With the game in danger of running away from the stags. 

Ross coach John Scott then made a couple of changes, most notably in the second row, with Kerr Smith coming on to breathe some life back into the Stags forwards, with some thundering runs.  Smith was unlucky to knock the ball forward over the line to narrowly miss out on a try, as Ross Sutherland showed incredible spirit. 
The backs were also getting a grip on the game though stand-off Ali Kennedy and big centre Jake Eaglesham.  It was not long before this effort was rewarded as the stags went over for a try after another powerful run by Smith, Ali Kennedy carried the ball over for a try to bring the game back to 25-17, after the conversion was missed.

The eight point gap proved to be too much for Ross as they desperately needed to get another score, but the Strath defence, which had been solid all afternoon, again thwarted their ideas.  This then lead to frustration, as Ross had a man sent off with five minutes to go.  This made a difficult task impossible as the game ended 25-17 to Strathendrick.  Ross-Sutherland’s dream of Murrayfield had slipped their grasp after a truly fantastic effort.

Ross-Sutherland now turns their attention to the league with another away game to St Andrews Uni this Saturday, knowing that another massive challenge lies ahead.  However they should take great deal of confidence from their efforts and will surely avoid relegation if they re-produce the kind of form they have showed in the past couple of weeks.

Ross-Sutherland First IV: 1. S.Macpherson 2. M.Kennedy 3. K.Drain 4. A.Ansbro 5.K.Mackenzie 6. K.Dalrimple 7. R.Waugh 8. G.Rosie 9.S.Mack 10.A.Kennedy 11.D.Kennedy 12.I.Thompson 13.J.Eaglesham 14. M.Gordon 15.J.Sutherland SUBS:J.Mann, K. Thomas, K.Smith, G.Smith, A Maclean, J.Lowe, D. Clark