Ahead of Saturday’s RBS West Division 2 fixture the form book and the relative league positions, 2nd top v 2nd bottom, would have indicated a one sided affair and a convincing scoreline in favour of the hosts, however this young Uddingston side respond best when they are forced into a corner and gave Cambuslang a real run for their money, and a fright, before eventually going down 26-17 and confirming their relegation to West Division 3 for next season.
With a lack of front row replacements seeing the enforcement of league regulations, Uddingston were forced to play the full 80 minutes no bench cover and the Villagers stuck manfully to their task. Having thrown away their last chance of claiming the league title when they went down the previous week at Lenzie, Cambuslang were still looking to secure the runner up spot and had their sights set on a 4try bonus and maximum points. With the sun shining and a vocal support the home side stuck to the script when they opened up a 7 point lead after as many minutes when some slick handling allowed them to cut through the Villagers defence for a well worked try.
The Villagers responded well to this early set back, and when the referee awarded a penalty for offside in the Cambus defence Captain Gordon Burns calmly slotted over the kick to bring the score back to 7-3. Four minutes later and the Villagers were in front. With the home side less than composed when in possession the Villagers were capitalising on the loose play and working well round the fringes. With the home defence up flat, Convery spotted the gap and threw the dummy before cutting between the 2 centres. As he straightened his run a well weighted pass found Tom Hughes in support who gladly sprinted the final 10 metres for his try. Burns was again on target and the script was in the bin with the Villagers ahead 7-10.
The opening quarter was played at a frantic pace and the home side rounded off with a try on the 20 minute mark, using good lineout possession to break through a weak tackle, scoring in the corner. The conversion attempt fell short but Cambus were back in front 12-10.
If the opening 20 minutes had been full on, the next 20 were full of mistakes, especially from the home side as time and again poor handling saw passes dropped and possession handed to the Villagers. With Cambus failing to take advantage of their pace and power and the Villagers mopping up every scrap that was thrown this was turning into a real contest. The half was brought to a close with no further scoring but all to play for.
Where the first half ended the second continued, and the minutes 40 to 60 produced little in the way of flowing rugby, and any scoring opportunities that were created were invariably snuffed out by basic mistakes and solid defence. It was 64 minutes before the young lads at the scoreboard needed to search through their numbers box, and it was the home side who claimed the score. A series of strong drives up the left touchline had taken Cambus deep into the Villagers’ 22 and with the defence struggling to cover the winger broke free, sprinting over the line and round behind the posts for the try. The simple conversion added the extras pushing the hosts back in front 19-10.
The Villagers didn’t know when to quit and 10 minutes later fought their way back into the match. A series of scrums close to the try line had forced the home side to defend their line. With everybody looking for the ball to go wide Donald Haldane picked at number 8 and broke blind, offloading to Convery who drew the last defender before squeezing a pass out to Richy Murray, allowing him to sprint over in the corner. Burns was again rock solid with the conversion bringing the scoreline back to 19-17 with less than 5 minutes to play.
With nothing to lose the Villagers went looking for the points which would have brought about a shock result, and just possibly saved them from relegation, however it wasn’t to be. As they pushed forward the home side recovered possession, and this time held onto it. As they drove deep into the Uddingston 22 the pressure was too great and despite some strong tackling they crashed over for the all-important bonus point try. The conversion was a formality and the home side had the game wrapped up 26-17. The closing minutes were played out with no further incident bringing the season to a close for both sides and a huge sigh of relief for Cambuslang.
The result sees the Villagers stuck in 2nd bottom, a single point ahead of Oban Lorne who still have one remaining fixture to play at Lenzie. With 2 sides to face the drop the Villagers fate is now sealed with Wigtownshire having to wait for Oban to complete their campaign to confirm their own fate. Over the past couple of weeks this young Uddingston side has shown some real spirit and desire, which nearly pulled them out of the relegation zone.
With the season now complete the focus turns to the annual Crocks v Colts fixture on Saturday 21st April (2pm) and the end of season Dinner that same evening (7pm). Tickets for the dinner, featuring guest speakers Norrie Flowers and Frank McAvennie, are still available priced £25 from Dougie Belmore on 0773 054 0910.