Irvine 27 – 0 Birkmyre
Saturday 2nd March 2024 KO 3.00pm
Bowl Cup semi-final

Birkmyre crashed out of the cup at the semi-final stages on Saturday to a strong & determined Irvine side. The Kilmacolm side lost 27-0 away from home and it was the first time in a number of years that they have suffered a shutout.

Despite this, Birkmyre had the first opportunity to put points on the board. Having won a central penalty 35m out, they kicked for goal but it drifted narrowly wide.

It took until the 15th minute for the first score. Irvine won a line out 10m out and from the resulting maul, one of their props rumbled over for a score near the corner flag. They then expended their lead to 8 points with a successful penalty on the 26th minute. Despite this, Birkmyre were very much still in the match and turned down a 3 point opportunity in the dying minutes of the half with a view to scoring a try. Unfortunately, errors and a strong defence prevented a score from coming.

Irvine extended their lead 10 minutes into the second half with a similar score to their first from a line out. This time their skipper and No 8, kept the ball at the rear of the maul which drove over for the try. Again, the conversion was missed.

Birkmyre knew two converted tries would be enough and started to put pressure on the home side. This pressure told with two Irvine players receiving yellow cards in quick succession for ill-discipline, resulting in them being reduced to 13 players for 10 minutes.

Birkmyre continued to press however could not make the numerical advantage count. No sooner were Irvine back to full strength, they received a 3rd yellow card. Despite this they then scored the pivotal try. Birkmyre were attaching just inside the opposition half when James Toal saw his pass intercepted by his opposite number who ran 50m to score next to the posts.

The final score came in the dying minutes of the game. The home side created a near side overlap from a ruck and were able to run in for the final converted points.

Irvine now face a long trip to Lochaber for the final and Birkmyre will turn their attention to league duty as they not only seek promotion, but remain in contention to win the division.

By Stuart Cruickshank

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

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