West 26 v 38 Cartha Queen's Park
3rd September 2016
West's first league match back in National 2 saw southsiders Cartha Queen's Park visit. Cartha have been close to promotion for the last two years and were always going to pose a tough test, with an imposing physical presence.
It was the visitors who scored first in the drizzle with a kick and chase finding former Ugandan international Tony Nyanweso who touched down, Wayne Burrows converting.
West hit back after Fraser Smeaton scored off the base of an excellent driving maul, the conversion not finding its mark. Cartha led 5-7 and increased their lead after a driving maul near the line was initially defended but they passed wide and a neat reverse pass found centre Garret Doughty who found a gap in the defence. Wayne Burrows converted and it was now 5-14.
Mark Davis then made an excellent run only to be brought down illegally. A penalty and yellow card followed, and Fraser Smeaton once again scored off the base of a driving maul, the conversion this time being slotted over by Blair Smith.
West made the best of the man advantage, with several scrums against the head. A penalty hit the posts before Ross McAulay went through the defence by sheer determination, Blair Smith converting to make it 19-14.
However, Cartha hit back once they were back to 15, a neat running line finding scrum half Thomas Davidson who scored, Mark Barrowman converting to put the Dumbreck side 19-21 ahead at half time.
Cartha suffered a second yellow card for a high tackle after half time, but West couldn't capitalise. Instead it was Cartha who increased their lead to 19-26 when after a period of pressure scrum half Thomas Davidson snuck over in the corner to score unconverted.
Then it was West's turn to go down to 14 after Andy Love was carded after a maul was brought down. Cartha capitalised after scoring off a driving maul, the conversion being missed, but looking comfortable at 19-31.
West wanted at least a try bonus and it came when after the ball went through the hands Mark Davis found a gap in the defence, Blair Smith converting and it now looked in range at 26-31. Cartha, however, are no mugs - typified by a textbook choke tackle and denied West the bonus when lock Graham Williamson stumbled in a try converted to make it 26-38 at the final whistle.
West will no doubt improve with experience at this level and Cartha have probably set the bar West need to aim at. It should be another competitive season.
West: 1. Peter Davie 2. Danny Dineen 3. Andy Love 4. Colin McInally 5. James Harley 6. Angus Thomson 7. Jamie McAulay (c) 8. Fraser Smeaton 9. Harry Brewster 10. Ross McAulay 11. Andy Goodall 12. Mark Davis 13. Blair Smith 14. Alex Fisken 15 Pete Burns. Subs 16 Craig McCall 17. Glen Sutherland 18. Tom Grey 19. Calum Booth.