NATIONAL MEN'S SHIELD MATCH REPORT: Berwick 57-35 Greenock Wanderers
Greenock Wanderers took on Berwick in the National Shield Final on the second match on the international pitch at BT Murrayfield as part of Silver Saturday.
Graham Hogg started the scoring with a sweetly struck penalty from distance to give Greenock an early lead. (0-3)
The first try of the game was scored by Greenock, who worked the ball swiftly through the back line, finding the waiting hands of winger Scott Bellew to finish off in the left corner. Hogg’s conversion struck the upright (0-8)
Jack Dalrymple struck swiftly back for Berwick. The ball made the way out to the number 11, but he still had plenty to do, wriggling his way through several tackles before stretching over the line. Andrew Skeen missed the conversion. (5-8)
Andrew Skeen’s boot levelled the scores after Berwick were awarded a penalty, but it was short lived as Greenock regained the lead with another penalty by Hogg (8-11)
The battle of the boot between Skeen and Hogg continued as both added a penalty apiece before Greenock’s Callum Spriddle concluded the first half action with a well worked try in the corner, giving Wanderers momentum going into the second period. (11-16).
Half Time Berwick 11 - 16 Greenock Wanderers
Greenock came out of the blocks with all guns blazing for the second period as they strengthened their bid to take the trophy west.
Two quick tries, the first coming through Chris McCarron down the left and then another Brendan McGroarty just a few minutes later allowed Greenock a bit of breathing space. Both kicks were successfully converted by Graham Hogg. (11-30)
A lung-bursting run by Scott Bellew tore through the gap in the defence to add another score for Greenock. (11-35)
Berwick weren’t going to lie down and concede just yet, however. A nifty bit of footwork by Gareth Hill managed to just evade the corner flag to tumble over. An excellent kick by Skeen meant the score was 18-35 with four minutes remaining.
A remarkable conclusion then took place in the sun at the national stadium. Matt Gray was sin-binned for Greenock, before Hill then snuck in the corner once again for Berwick. (23-35)
Another try quickly followed. It came from an eye-catching move by Berwick after what looked to have lost the ball in the tackle, Euan Thompson collect the loose ball to score, with the gap now down to seven points. (28-35)
Then, with the last play of the match, after Skeen came so close to scoring under the posts, the ball was recycled out to Scott Owens to score. (33-35)
Skeen lined up his conversion and sent it through the posts, much to the jubilation of the Berwick support. This took the final to extra time.
With the momentum firmly in Berwick’s favour, there was to be no stopping the team from the south of Scotland. A Skeen penalty a few minutes into extra try followed by a well worked try by Ali Greive, collecting his own chip to score. (43-35)
Moments later Jack Dalrymple intercepted a Wanderer’s attack to run the length of the pitch to score under the posts, with Skeen doing the honours to add the extras. (50-35)
The tie was finally put to bed when Skeen sprinted over the line to score, with his successful conversion concluding the game. (57-35)
At full time captain Tom Jackson said, “We knew Greenock would bring a strong game upfront which we tried to absorb early on, but I’m so proud of these boys. We’ve got it in the tank and managed to claw it back at full time.
“I thought we came out the block during extra time and credit to our bench. We had a good mixture of youth and experience and it was some heat out there in the sun, I’m over the moon and lost for words.”
Full Time: Berwick 57 - 35 Greenock Wanderers
Berwick: Rory Hindhaugh, Gareth Hill, Andrew Skeen, Duncan Hardie, Jack Dalrymple, Jack Webster, Cameron Rogerson, Darren Goodfellow, Ryan Wilson, Tom Jackson, Tommy McColl, Scott Owens, Mason Emery, Jamie Pick, Ali Grieve, Lee Douglas, Euan Thompson, Aidan Rosie, Adam Pearson, Paul Pringle, Adam Hardie, Stuart Gilchrist.
Greenock Wanders: Chris McCarron, Brad Cleary, Brendan McGroarty, Callum Harrison, Scott Bellew, Graham Hogg, Andrew McDougall, Murray Macdonald, Declan Bolster, Andrew Graham, Matt Gray (Captain), Douglas McIntyre, Callum Spriddle, David Smith, Martin Lavelle, David Paton, Hugh Davis, Alister Abernethy, Louie Hoodless, Callum Robb, Andrew Guthrie, Michael McLaren.