Alloa travelled to Bishopbriggs for a tough encounter against last year’s West Div 1 winners, Allan Glens. It has been 10 years since these sides last met in a league competition, although they have met on cup business on a couple of occasions, with Alloa recording a win in their most recent encounter.
Both sides received a bye in this season’s cup competition and took the opportunity to put the final touches to their pre-season preparation prior to commencing league business next Saturday.
The match started well with some good handling moves on show from both sets of backs, but Alloa suffered an early blow when the influential, Matt Pope, was forced to retire with a knock to his knee after only 15 minutes and had to look on from the sidelines as the home side ran in their first try shortly after.
Alloa bounced back from this initial setback and began to apply some pressure to the Glens defence and with the last play of the first 20 minute period, were unlucky not to score when Stevie Scott was held up just short of the line.
In the next quarter, Glens recorded 2 further tries. One within a minute of the restart and one with only one minute remaining of the period.
In the 3rd quarter, Alloa battled back with a try of their own when the ever alert, Brian Ireland throw a quick line out to Alan Keir on his own 22 metre line and the young Full Back set off on a mazy run, slicing his way through the home defence for a superb score, which he duly converted. Glens quickly restored their 17 point lead with the last play of the 3rd quarter.
Alloa were unfortunate to lose another player with a knee injury when Matt Allan was forced to leave the field of play and although they were battling hard to get themselves back into the match, the home side had the added advantage of having 30 players in their squad as their 2nd team fixture was called off the previous night. This meant that they were able to freshen up their side, whenever their players began to tire and the fresh legs were taking their toll on a tiring Alloa squad who conceded another 3 tries in quick succession.
But to their credit, they continued to battle and were rewarded with another superb run from Alan Keir who left a trail of sprawling defenders in his wake to score between the posts.
Alloa ensured that they can go into their first league fixture with some confidence as they completed the afternoons scoring, when Kris Aitken was on the end of a crossfield kick for a nice score out wide.
League restructuring means that Alloa will be playing their rugby in Midlands Division 2 this season, which will be made up of the bottom 4 sides from last year’s Division 1 and the top 6 sides from Division 2.
The first of these matches has the local side travelling through to face near neighbours, Grangemouth