It may have only been the Villagers’ third league victory of the season but they certainly took their win in style. Having lost out to Cumbernauld in their previous encounter Uddingston were looking to redress the balance when their North Lanarkshire neighbours made the short trip to Castle Policies for Saturday’s RBS West Division 2 league fixture. The full time score of 50-24 in favour of the hosts was a fair reflection on the way the Villagers took their opportunities, with an excellent display of running rugby, and some superbly executed finishing. Having failed to claim a 4 try bonus since October the 8 try haul ensured that the home support headed back up to the clubhouse with a spring in their step.
Credit must also go to Cumbernauld for their part in what was an entertaining afternoon’s rugby. Despite being behind for a large part of the game they never gave up, and the contest was never really over until the closing 10 minutes when the Villagers pulled clear to make the win secure.
Cumbernauld opened the afternoon’s scoring on 6 minutes with a well worked move down the left wing, exploiting a 2 man overlap to put Martin Wallace clear. Unfortunately for the visitors this was the last time they were ahead during the game as Uddingston levelled the scoring on 10 minutes through Tom Hughes and pushed in front 7 minutes later when young prop James Brown took advantage of some sloppy tackling and crashed over the line from a 5 metre penalty. Gordon Burns added the conversion and the Villagers were ahead 12-5.
The game was edgy without being overly physical, and both sides were moving the ball well, looking to run at their opposite defences rather than indulge in a torrid kicking affair. This added to the excitement with some strong tackling preventing scoring opportunities and some equally poor tackling creating others.
With the first half entering the final 5 minutes we suddenly had a flurry of try scorers. First to strike was Uddingston. Collecting the ball on halfway from a clumsy clearance kick by Cumbernauld Richey Murray set off on the counter attack. A dummy, a side-step and a hand off later young Mr Murray dived over the whitewash under the posts for a superbly taken solo try. Burns added the extras to push the Villagers 19-5 ahead. It only took Cumbernauld 4 minutes to hit back. Strong work by their forwards had taken play to within 10 metres of the Uddingston try line. With Cumbernauld putting on the extra drive the Uddingston defence tackled well but, as the play slowed, Burns was penalised for handling on the deck and the referee awarded a penalty try. The simple conversion brought the scores back to 19-12.
With time running out before the break the Villagers hit back straight from the restart. Stealing the ball from the Cumbernauld defence the pass was popped out to Chris King who stepped inside his opposite man before side-stepping his way to the try line. Burns was again on target bring the first half to a close with the Villagers 26-12 ahead, and the 4 try bonus secure.
The second half started in a similar fashion to the first, with Cumbernauld claiming the opening points of the half by once more outmuscling the Villagers in the forwards before spinning the ball wide to exploit the overlap, allowing JJ McNair to claim the try.
The Villagers only needed 2 minutes to restore their advantage when Burns ghosted through the visitors defence to touch down at the posts. Converting his own try, Burns pushed the Villagers 33-17 ahead. The frantic pace of the game dipped for a spell and there was no further scoring until the match entered the closing 20 minutes. Uddingston extended their advantage to 38-17 when Stuart Beresford collected a well weighted pass from Donald Haldane before thundering over in the corner. Cumbernauld hit back with a converted try of their own, Grant Clark taking the credit, and securing the 4 try bonus for the visitors. As the match entered the final minutes the Villagers scored twice in quick succession. First over the line was Liam Quinn with an excellent break from halfway, and from the restart Chris King notched his second of the afternoon to bring the match to a close.
The victory sets the Villagers up for their final 2 league matches, with the relegation issue still in their own hands. With no fixtures next Saturday, 17/03, it is the 24th before Clydebank visit Castle Policies in a crucial match for Uddingston. Kick-off 3pm.