Rugby round-up: Losing bonus points for Falkirk and Grangemouth Stags
Both Falkirk RFC and Grangemouth Stags picked up losing bonus points after narrow away defeats on Saturday.
Falkirk made the trip to East Lothian to face Preston Lodge while Stags were in North Aberdeenshire against Ellon.
Preston Lodge 32-24 Falkirk
Falkirk travelled to Pennypit on Saturday to face Preston Lodge who were keen for revenge, having lost at Sunnyside 31-5 back in October.
Lots of early Falkirk possession and territory was rewarded when winger Chris Lawson scored the opening try from an overlap after eight minutes which was converted by stand-off Fionn Call.
That early momentum was maintained and with 14 minutes on the clock a line break by Faulds was well supported by Gregor Dodd who broke a tackle and got his pass away enabling full-back Ewan Rooney to score under the posts. The conversion was missed.
Soon after Preston Lodge hit back with a converted score of their own.
In the 19th minute Falkirk winger Calum Rennie carried into contact on the visitors’ 10 metre line, was isolated and then penalised for not releasing.
PL decided to take a shot a goal, which was successful and narrowed the gap to just two points.
However, the Falkirk backs hit back with another nicely worked try five minutes before the break when Faulds side-stepped the on-rushing Preston Lodge defence before releasing Rennie who scored under the posts. The conversion was good.
In a pivotal couple of minutes at the end of the first half, Falkirk thought they had survived a period of pressure in their own 22, when PL knocked-on with the try line beckoning.
The visitors themselves then knocked on the ball whilst trying to pick it out of the base of the subsequent scrum, turning over possession.
The pressure built as PL were awarded a penalty advantage and their pack eventually rumbled over the line. The extras were missed.
In the second half Call had an attempt at a penalty goal from the Preston Lodge 10 metre line, but just didn’t have the distance, and it was the home side who scored next, once again with their pack driving over from close range.
The PL pack were now in the ascendancy and at the end of the third quarter, their pick and go game sucked in the Falkirk defence, creating a gap for a scoring crash ball in the three-quarter channel and extended their lead to 29-19.
However, Falkirk refused to capitulate and more good handling in the backline led to a fourth try, Rennie’s second of the match, and therefore a bonus point.
Falkirk at this point were doggedly defending and PL went close to another forwards try, but were penalised for a double movement on the ground whilst reaching for the line. However, Preston Lodge kicked a penalty goal following a scrum offence in the closing minutes of the match, to make the final score 32-24.
Ellon 31-24 Grangemouth Stags
The Stags were back on their travels last weekend as they made the long trip north of Aberdeen to take on Ellon.
Stags were first on the scoreboard when they made ground in the centre of the park and switched back to the right where good handling by Hind and
Kerry released Allan who outpaced the cover defence to score in the corner. Skelton was unable to add the extras.
Ellon then had much more possession in attack and slotted a penalty with five minutes left in the half.
From the kick off Ellon pinned the visitors in their 22 and a series of drives close to the line resulted in a converted score.
The game remained tight but on 47 minutes a missed tackle allowed an Ellon player to break the defensive line and the support arrived to drive over for another converted score.
Soon after Allan was able to bounce off an attempted tackle to burst up to the 22 and pass to Gemmell who ran in for the score. This time Skelton was on target with the conversion.
As the third quarter drew to a close Ellon were again able to recycle possession close to the line and drive over for another converted score .
Once again Grangemouth fought back and narrowed the lead as Clark made a break off the back of the maul from a lineout and Scott eventually crashed over from short range. Skelton again converted.
Stags were able to tie the game as Skelton floated a wide pass to Allan and the winger raced upfield before passing back inside to Skelton to slide in at the corner for an uncovnerted try.
With just three minutes to go Ellon were able to find a winner with a wide pass which gave the winger enough room to squeeze in at the corner. The conversion from out wide was successful.