A clinical performance from a very good Strathmore side overwhelmed Grangemouth Stags in the final on the Tennent’s Caledonian Shield.
It’s the second time the Stags have been beaten at the ultimate stage of the competition at Gloensburgh, after Stirling University’s triumph there two years ago.
But Strathmore more than deserved their victory and will surely wrap up the league title in two weeks’ time having gone the shield, and league campaigns undefeated. Their pack won enough ball for their talented backs to cut through the Stags defence with ease.
Grangemouth were certainly hampered by all the injuries to key
players but were left frustrated by some poor tackling and basic handling errors in front of the big crowd at Glensburgh.
Grangemouth were missing a couple of regulars but did have three returning players up front.
On six minutes Craig Deacon’s side opened the scoring when Strathie were penalised for a high tackle and Thomas Skelton slotted over. Strathmore hit back and scored a few minutes later. An angled run by the centre split the home defence and he was stopped just short by a fine tackle by McLay. The ball was recycled quickly and moved wide for the winger to be given the scoring pass to run round under the posts for a converted score.
Grangemouth were soon back on the attack and Skelton reduced the lead to one point with his second kick as Strathmore were caught offside. The Stags failed to clear their lines from the kick off and this allowed Strathie to pin them back inside their 22. The visitors were twice held up over the line before a move from a five-metre scrum gave the winger enough space to dot down in the corner.
The Stags then lost Dempsey with a leg injury and immediately conceded a further score and on 30 minutes Strathmore increased their lead. Grangemouth tried to run from deep but the ball was lost on their 22. A couple of quick passes saw the centre canter in for a converted
score. Soon after Skelton had to leave the field after a head knock and Strathmore added two further scores before the break.
First another fine handling move stretched the home defence down one flank before the ball was moved back to the left for the fullback to run in at the corner. Just on the half time whistle another attack down the right wing saw the winger put in a clever cross kick for the centre to win the race for the touchdown. HT Stags 6 Strathmore 36
With Strathmore well on top the second period was a bit of an anti-climax with Strathmore adding just one a final converted score.
Stags now have to pick themselves up for the final few league matches. This Saturday they travel to Dunfermline with KO 3.30pm