Top form does itfor Cumbernauld
Cumbernauld hit their best form of the season on a rain-swept Auchenkilns pitch on Saturday to see off a McLaren side who took 45 points off them in September.
And while the 22-21 scoreline would indicate the BT West Division 2 match was a closely-run affair, Cumbernauld were by far the better and stronger team as they continued their impressive, unbeaten home run.
The main difference was best exemplified by a ‘core of steel’ in the home pack, from Kevin McTier at prop, through a hard-working second-row combination of Barry MacLachlan and Zac Davies, to an energetic back row of Ross Cowie, Ian Hepburn and Grant Clark.
The Badgers constantly took the game to their Stirlingshire opponents and losing a strike against the head in the early stages seemed to galvanise the home players.
Astute kicking from Michael McDonald at full-back and Alex Stokes at number 10 kept McLaren at bay and following a great break from Daniel Prinn, the visitors were penalised allowing Andrew Reid to ping three points.
The lead was shortlived as Jordan Reid was harshly penalised for a base-of-scrum pick-up which McLaren converted to level the scores.
This did not deter the home team as Jordan Reid’s Garryowen was brilliantly collected by Davies who galloped 30 metres to the line for a try converted by Andrew Reid.
At this point Cumbernauld were rampant with Jordan Reid, Hepburn, Cowie and Clark all making mighty inroads into McLaren territory and from one scrum good rucking by McTier allowed McDonald, after a wonderful dummy pass, to race to score almost underneath the posts with Andrew Reid adding converted points.
A McLaren penalty reduced the deficit to 17-6 at half-time and they scored an early penalty shortly after the restart.
But just when it looked as if Cumbernauld would succumb to incessant pressure they took a scrum against the head, allowing man-of-the-match Clark to feed winger Prinn to score in the corner, his first try for two years.
Andrew Reid was unsuccessful with the conversion but although McLaren hit back in the dying minutes with a converted try, Cumbernauld held on for a well-deserved victory.
Everyone played a part, including Alan Durson and Craig Gough who gave McTier great support in the front row. Martin Caldwell made the tackle of the game, stopping McLaren’s number 10 in his tracks while Anthony Rice’s tackling skills get better and better.
This week Cumbernauld travel to Stewartry with a bus leaving the clubhouse at 11am.
Training, as usual, is on Tuesday and Thursday at 6.45 for a 7pm start.