Margin of Millbrae defeat unfair on brave Cumbernauld

Cumbernaulds Alex Stokes prepares to get possession from this scrum against Millbrae (pic by Charlie Kearton).
Cumbernaulds Alex Stokes prepares to get possession from this scrum against Millbrae (pic by Charlie Kearton).

Cumbernauld remain bottom of the BT West Division 2 table after going down 41-7 at Millbrae on Saturday.

But despite the defeat - and the relentless attention from the local midges - the spectators were treated to an excellent game of rugby with the hosts only overpowering their New Town guests with a late splurge of tries.

Millbrae pressed aggressively from the start and turned that pressure into a converted try after 17 minutes when they powered over after good forwards’ pressure.

However there was an element of controversy involved when, following a forward pass by Ayr, Cumbernauld stole possession and broke out of their own 22.

Chris Maxwell looked to have evaded his tackler and was hacked from behind for clearly a red-card offence, when the referee signalled that he intended to give a scrum to Cumbernauld following the initial forward pass infringement.

Common sense should have dictated that Cumbernauld be given the benefit of advantage and were likely to score. As it happened, Cumbernauld lost possession leading to Millbrae’s opening try.

Down, but not disheartened Cumbernauld, showed their cutting edge when Zac Davies brilliantly intercepted a wayward Millbrae pass inside his own 22 and galloped some 70 metres to score beneath the posts, with Jordan Reid adding the conversion.

The home side were clearly rattled and this was manifested with the yellow card shown to their prop forward after some naughty stuff in the lineout.

But Millbrae were not be outdone and from a scrum, the ball was transferred to their winger who touched down following a great pick up from a poor pass. The try was duly converted to give the Honest Men a 14-7 half-time lead.

Up to this Cumbernauld had been performing valiantly with some great personal performances, especially Anthony Rice who doubled as full-back and lineout jumper on Cumbernauld’s ball.

At the start of the second half, Cumbernauld lost Ian Hepburn to injury and, given his outstanding contribution to the Cumbernauld cause in the first half, this seemed to illustrate the task facing the Badgers.

And so it came to pass as Millbrae took advantage of this loss to score shortly after the loss of the Cumbernauld back row forward.

In the lead up to this score Anthony Rice tackled superbly on two occasions but could do little to prevent Millbrae adding to their try tally.

Millbrae went onto record three more tries in a thrilling second half with another yellow card adding to Cumbernauld’s woes.

But the final score of 41-7 did not accurately reflect Cumbernauld’s spirited display which was much improved from the previous week.

Other players who gave a decent account of themselves included Willie Bulloch for his brave tackling, Robert McGeach for his defence and Paul Justice who performed creditably as hooker.

Special mention must go to Caleb Strang, making his first XV debut and Chris Maxwell, two youngsters who showed up well, while the Millbrae players picked stand-off Jordan Reid as the Cumbernauld man-of-the-match.

Next Saturday Cumbernauld travel to Paisley and players are reminded that training is mandatory for all at Croy next Thursday from 7-9 pm.