uTWO local rivals put on a great advert for seconds rugby when Grangemouth travelled to Falkirk in the first match of the newly created Caledonia One reserve league.
The Stags reserve team had trained well all week with large numbers meaning a number of players did not make the squad, and in the absence of a first-team fixture, Falkirk gave some of their first-team fringe players a run-out.
That lack of a fixture also meant a large and vociferous support from both clubs.
The Grangemouth forwards soon established a territorial advantage, but if the Stags’ forwards provided an ample supply of ball, it was the Falkirk backs who made best use of the possession - when they were able to get their hands on it.
And, through play, it was a fairly even first half, but Falkirk took their chances and scored four tries in the first period - two of which were converted by Gordon McGuire.
After soaking up some early pressure, the Stags took control of the game with some fine forward and backs interplay causing holes to appear in the home defence and only sound tackling from Falkirk’s defence kept the Stags out.
And while the Sunnysiders kept the port side out, they paved the way for Chad McGlane - an ex-rugby league player - to run through for Falkirk and find the opening try on only his third game in rugby union.
The game then settled with both teams putting in huge tackles, where Dean Craig, Brendan Tucker and Stevie Binnie were to the fore for Grangemouth. For all their effort, Stags were only rewarded with two penalties, one of which was converted by Davie Angus after an offside call.
Falkirk had time to score two further tries in the first half, one from Gordon McGuire after a good three-quarter move who showed electric pace to score a converted try and the other from McGlane - a carbon copy of his first.
The score reflected the chances taken by Falkirk, but refracted the level match that was in place for spells of the first half.The Stags’ coaches encouraged their team with increased tempo to reflect their efforts on the scoreboard.
Both teams made changes at half time and Grangemouth set about their task in aggressive mood with several strong drives from Tucker creating space in the midfield for Danny Ward to vary the style of play and Grangemouth were soon camped on the Falkirk line.
Their ascedancy meant it was only a matter of time before the line was breached and it came from youngster Sam Herron who took the ball at pace on the wing before skinning his opposite number to score.
A penalty try was awarded when Gordon McGuire was deemed to have tackled Tucker too high five metres from the line - but he was only given a yellow card, the second of the game for Falkirk.
Another try came from the most unlikely of sources as Graeme Bell took the ball fully 35m from the line and seemed to evade every poor tackle attempt on him to scoot over for an excellent converted try.
Despite being pegged back for such a spell, Falkirk still managed to break upfield and Cairns released David Turnbull to score.
It ended the scoreboard changes and the game where Chad McGlane and Brendan Cairns stood out for Falkirk, while for the Stags Sam Herron showed significant potential.