Uddingston Rugby Club hosted McLaren RFC on Saturday in their RBS West Regional Bowl 3rd Round tie. In what was a game of two halves the visitors dominated the opening 40 minutes, taking a 12-0 advantage. The Villagers however fought back and 17 unanswered points in the second half was enough to secure a home victory.
With conditions soft underfoot it was never going to be a day for free flowing rugby, as the opening quarter proved. Both sides fought hard to secure possession and to control the pattern of the game. Unfortunately for Uddingston it was the visitors who had the better of the opening exchanges and were creating the scoring opportunities.
With 21 minutes played McLaren opened their account for the afternoon. Good pressure in the middle of the park had taken play deep into the home 22. With McLaren using their forwards to recycle the ruck ball it was moved left allowing Number 8 Adam More to slip the tackle and stretch for the line. Ross Drummond was on target with the conversion for a 7-0 lead.
5 minutes later McLaren increased their advantage when prop Gregor Harvey broke through the middle of the Uddingston defence and cantered into the home 22. A simple pop pass to Drummond allowed him to sprint clear, diving in for the try. Drummond failed to convert his score but McLaren were now comfortably ahead 12-0 and controlling the game.
The remainder of the first half was played out without any further scoring and the Villagers went into the break knowing that the needed to lift the intensity of their play if they wanted to avoid a cup exit. Much to the relief of the home support that is exactly what happened. The Villagers started to take control of the key phases of the game, and were retaining the ball in the loose, preventing the visitors from creating any attacking opportunities.
The Villagers got themselves back into the match on 49 minutes when McLaren were penalised for handling in the ruck. Gordon Burns slotted the kick to bring the score back to 3-12. Unlike the first period Uddingston were now playing with more determination and were playing the key phases of the match deep in the McLaren half. On 53 minutes an excellent break by Ruairidh West set up a ruck only a few metres from the visitors try line. After a couple of close range drives James Brown managed to break through the defence to score at the posts. Burns made sure of the conversion to bring the scoreline back to 10-12.
McLaren worked hard to get back into the match but the Villagers were defending well and ensured that the visitors enjoyed neither the possession nor the territory that they had dominated in the opening 40 minutes. With 8 minutes of play remaining Uddingston secured the try which would ultimately win the tie. Continued pressure from the home forwards was rewarded with a scrum, 5 metres from the McLaren try line. With the Villagers’ pack holding strong, Number 8 Donald Haldane picked from the base and powered over the line. Burns again was on form with the boot pushing the Villagers ahead for the first time in the match, 17-12.
The Villagers did enough in the closing minutes to hold out any chance McLaren had of getting back into the game and secured a hard fought win. The Villagers now progress to the West Regional semi-finals on the 26th November where they will face an away fixture against Helensburgh.
Unfortunately for Uddingston’s 2nd XV their scheduled league fixture was postponed on Saturday morning due to player shortage at Cambuslang.
Next Saturday, 05/11, both XV’s are on league duty with the 1st XV travelling to face Helensburgh while the 2nd XV host Cumbernauld. Both games kick off at 2pm.