Uddingston Rugby Club’s 1st XV faced local rivals Strathaven on Saturday in their RBS West Division 2 league encounter knowing that a win would lift them from the foot of the table and bring them closer to their Lanarkshire neighbours. By the end of the match, dominated by the weather, all the Villagers had to show for their efforts was a losing bonus point, as they went down 14-9.
With the heavy rain making conditions underfoot less than ideal, the strong wind which blew the length of the pitch made any form of fluid rugby impossible, forcing both sides into a war of attrition. Despite playing into the wind in the first period, the Villagers registered the first points of the afternoon, Gordon Burns slotting home the penalty on 3 minutes after the visitors were penalised for a high tackle.
Playing with the wind, Strathaven made short work of getting back into Uddingston’s half and were rewarded with a penalty for offside. Craig McWhirter split the uprights levelling the scores at 3-3 after 5 minutes. The Villagers were working hard to defend, and with no option to kick into the wind were being forced to fight for the hard yards to gain any territory. On 17 minutes Burns added his second penalty of the afternoon to push the Villagers 6-3 ahead. Good support play had taken Uddingston into the Strathaven 22 and as they looked to recycle possession the referee finally penalised the Strathaven midfield for being offside.
It only took the visitors 2 minutes to hit back. Attacking from the kick off the Strathaven pack drove down the left hand side before moving the ball wide allowing Stuart Alder to squeeze over in the corner. The angle and the elements proved too much for the conversion taking the visitors into an 8-6 lead. Strathaven extended their lead 10 minutes later when the home side were penalised for infringing at a ruck. McWhirter again made sure and Strathaven had an 11-6 advantage at the break.
The second half saw the weather deteriorate, and despite having the wind at their backs the Villagers were struggling in the conditions to make any real progress. A penalty to Strathaven on 56 minutes by McWhirter was cancelled out by a similar award to the Villagers on 76 minutes (Burns), taking the match into the closing phases with the scoreline at 14-9 to the visitors.
With time running out the Villagers set up camp in the Strathaven 22. With the pressure starting to tell the visitors were penalised for a succession of infringements, preventing the Villagers from reaching the try line. With the referee refusing to take any more decisive action against Strathaven the clock ticked away and the chance was lost.
Full credit to both sides for battling the elements, however the end result leaves the Villagers in real trouble at the foot of Division 2.
Due to waterlogging at Bothwell Castle Policies the Villagers 2nd XV switched their fixture with Lenzie to the North of the City and retuned victorious, 19-0 winners.
In similar atrocious conditions to those at Uddingston the Villagers had to work hard for the win. 3 excellent tries from Martin le Blond, Chris Masters and Captain Kevin Kidd were enough to see off their hosts. Le Blond added the extras with 2 successful conversions.
Having only played 7 fixtures this season the 2nd XV have come out on top in 5, and are unbeaten since early September.
Next Saturday, 28/01, the 1st XV travel the short distance to Coats Park to face Cambuslang while the 2nd XV are scheduled to travel to Whitecraigs to face their Rhinos. Both matches kick off at 2pm