Birkmyre defeated Irvine on the road last Saturday 26 points to 20 in what proved to be a tough fought contest. Both sides scored 4 tries however it was David Cruickshank’s kicking for Birkmyre that separated the teams, with him slotting over 3 from 4 conversions and the home side missing all their extra points attempts.

The home side were very lucky not to see a yellow card in the first phase of play, Birkmyre’s number 8 Quinn Murphy, was contacted in the head, however the referee missed the incident. Soon after the visitors were on the attack again. Following a clearance kick, Birkmyre recovered the ball on the halfway line. They ran the ball back and then recovered their own cross field kick. The ball ended up in the hands of captain, Ross Moglia, who broke through a gap for the first try close to the post.

Cruickshank slotted over the extra points.

On the 15th minute, Irvine got a score back. They won a line out inside the attacking 22. Using their large forward pack, they mauled forward to score in the corner.

Shortly after the game got a little heated. Quinn Murphy made a break for Birkmyre but was illegally brought down with a sinical trip. The referee missed this, and Murphy saw yellow for decent. Although down a man, Birkmyre were able to take advantage. Recovering a clearance kick again on the halfway line, Paul Carruth passed wide and the ball worked its way to Ru McVie. He side-stepped his opposite number to score at the corner flag from 40m out.

It was then the turn of Irvine to see yellow. With in a couple of minutes, two of there forwards were off the pitch for almost identical high tackles. There was potential for a 3rd following a late hit on Cruickshank. Despite their best efforts, Birkmyre were unable to take full advantage of their superior numbers and went in at the half 12 points to 5 to the good.

The half time team talk was quite stern for Birkmyre as they knew they should have been further ahead. The Kilmacolm side came out firing. Two mins into the half, Carruth collected the ball 10m inside his half. He cut a fantastic line through the Irvine defence, striding to the edge of the 22. With one man to beat, he popped a pass to Quinn Murphy to stroll under the posts for Birkmyre’s third try. Cruickshank converted.

Irvine responded again with a score on the 50th minute. Birkmyre then had a perfectly good try chopped off. Moglia touched down in the corner however a knock on was adjudged to have taken place in the build up, which no player on either side seemed to see. Irvine’s scrum and lineout were causing the visitors difficulty, and they were playing to their strengths with their forward pack. As a result, they scored again on the 70th minute to make to 15:19.

The game was in the balance however Birkmyre showed their superior skill in the back line once again. They had advanced to 5m from the opposition line having recovered an Irvine knock on. Substitute scrum half, Jonny Davidson, saw an overlap to his right. He collected the ball quicky from a ruck and slid a kick through to the try area where Michael McGeoch dived on top for what would be the converted try the seal the win.

Irvine did not give up. In the final 10 minutes they were on the receiving end of some rather favourable refereeing decisions which helped their cause. Ultimately, they won a penalty 5m out and eventually, as the clock went red, they forced their way over the line for a losing bonus point and a further bonus point for four tries.

The victory sees Birkmyre remain top of West Division League 3 on 21 points after 5 matches. This Saturday they welcome Shawlands to Birkmyre Park for a 2:45 kick off.

By Stuart Cruickshank

Stuart Cruickshank is a member of Birkmyre RFC and writes and shares match reports for his club.

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