Battling Cumbernauld edged out in high scoring match

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Cumbernauld RFC 35 Carrick RFC 44

It’s not often a team scores four tries to earn a bonus point but lose the match.

That’s exactly what happened to Cumbernauld in their latest RBS League 2 (West) encounter with Carrick last Saturday at Auchenkilns.

Second row forward Chris Birney was the star turn for Cumbernauld, scoring three tries and earning himself man-of-the-match.

This was a high-scoring game with Carrick scoring five tries as play raged from one end of the pitch to the other, providing a great spectacle for the numerous supporters from Cumbernauld and Maybole. An early Carrick penalty was soon countered by a try from Chris Birney and thereafter the scores came along at a furious rate. A second Carrick try and conversion was again countered by a penalty from the boot of Andy Reid but Carrick quickly asserted their supremacy with two converted tries in the middle of the first half.

At this point Cumbernauld were hanging on by their finger tips. Two further penalties from full back Reid sandwiched a successful Carrick penalty conversion to make the half time score 27-14 in the visitors’ favour.

The spectators had hardly time to draw breath at half-time before the scoring continued in a furious second half encounter. Martin Caldwell cleverly intercepted a Carrick pass to sprint and score under the posts, giving Andy Reid an easy conversion. However this was quickly undone when a poor Cumbernauld clearance, which should have gone straight into touch, was launched directly into the path of stand-off Johnson, who quickly fed his backs for an easy score which was subsequently converted. This made three “gift” tries by Cumbernauld to their very capable opponents who were not likely to spurn such opportunities.

However, following a driving maul from the home side, Chris Birney crashed over for a try, duly converted by Reid. The points difference was now only six points in Carrick’s favour so one converted try by Cumbernauld would have given them the lead. Alas, this was not to be as Carrick surged ahead with a further penalty and converted try. Cumbernauld to their great credit never gave up and a further try from Birney and conversion by Reid made the final score 35-44.

Interviewed after the game, club vice-president John McDonald was full of praise for a brave showing by the home team. John added: “It was a high-scoring, entertaining game but we gave it away because of two interceptions and a poor clearance. However, it was one of the best performances of the season and hopefully we can build on this strong display. Chris Birney was obviously the pick of the forwards, ably supported by Grant Cowie and Ian Hepburn, while Andrew Reid continues to shine at full back.”

Cumbernauld’s next league game is on Saturday, November 2 away to Oban Lorne. All players are reminded of their training commitment – Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Antonine Centre, Croy, at 6.45 p.m. for a 7 p..m. prompt start.