Im­pres­sive start with an­other win

EK make it back-to-back vic­to­ries with fine dis­play

East Kilbride News - - READER TRAVEL - Richard Beaton

Ste­wartry ............ 12 East Kil­bride ....... 40 East Kil­bride Rugby Club made it two from two to start the sea­son with a win in Cas­tle Dou­glas that was far more con­vinc­ing than last week’s squeaker at home to Cam­bus­lang.

The re­turn from con­cus­sion pro­to­cols of Alex Irvine was still in­suf­fi­cient for player-coach Al­lan Steel to drop him­self. In­stead, un­der-18 Matthew Fletcher moved to the bench, where he was joined by the re­turn­ing Scott Shankie, a mas­sively im­por­tant ball-car­rier for the side.

Mark El­li­son was sim­i­larly cleared by the medics to take up his ju­nior po­si­tion of scrum-half in a re­jigged back­line. Reg­u­lar num­ber-nine Ai­dan Stott shifted out to mid­field while Rob Green­field moved the op­po­site way to part­ner El­li­son, as they did through ju­nior rugby.

Steel’s ra­tio­nale for the reshuf­fle was that Stott had been, on oc­ca­sion, a lit­tle in­de­ci­sive against Cam­bus and El­li­son’s more di­rect ap­proach would pro­vide greater fo­cus, which it un­doubt­edly did.

The huge side ben­e­fit though was that Stott has the quick­est feet in the club and his abil­ity to get out­side his man mid­field is a qual­ity that big bangers Simp­son and Green­field lack. Ad­di­tion­ally, Stott is a dev­as­tat­ing tack­ler and the switch proved most en­cour­ag­ing.

In truth, the score­line does not flat­ter the vis­i­tors.

EK were too strong for Ste­wartry up front, had far more pace in the backs and played to a pat­tern which max­imised both at­tributes.

Whereas last week they slipped into hero-mode, every­one try­ing to win the game on their own, this week EK did ex­actly as Steel asked and played as a team.

The most ob­vi­ous man­i­fes­ta­tion of the plan were the tries scored by the two youngest starters, Grant Dry­burgh and Lewis Brown.

Dry­burgh’s fol­lowed a sus­tained pe­riod of pres­sure, the ball moved touch­line-to-touch­line and back, be­fore Stott’s pace sent the full­back over, while Brown some­how squeezed the ball over the line de­spite his chunky frame be­ing midair and clearly over the touch­line. The re­main­ing tries went to El­li­son, Beaton and Shankie (2).

Gaffer Steel was full of praise for his high-fly­ers.

He said: “Although we were happy with the re­sult last week, the per­for­mance was dis­ap­point­ing be­cause we are ca­pa­ble of so much more.

“But on Satur­day, one to 19, we turned up and pro­duced the best away per­for­mance I’ve seen in a long time.

“It was a dis­ci­plined, strong per­for­mance. We played play­ers out of po­si­tion, but in po­si­tions we be­lieved they could do a job, and they all stepped up to the plate.

“We con­trolled the game from start to fin­ish, work­ing the ball well and keep­ing our shape.

“The backs con­trolled the tempo and al­lowed us to make some great scores.

“It shows what we can do when we turn up with the right at­ti­tude.”

This Satur­day will be a huge test for East Kil­bride when Al­lan Glens come call­ing (kick-off 3pm).

The Bish­op­briggs side com­fort­ably did the dou­ble over EK last sea­son and were un­for­tu­nate to be shaded by Car­rick for pro­mo­tion.

Steel added: “Al­lan Glens beat us twice last sea­son, so we know we have a tough job on our hands.

“But I be­lieve if we play the way we know we can, I’m sure we can come away with a win.

“We’ll keep work­ing hard through the week and take all the pos­i­tive from Ste­wartry into this Satur­day.”

TEAM: 1. Mclel­lan, 2. An­der­son, 3. Beaton, 4. Dal­gleish, 5. McLean, 6. Irvine, 7. O’Neill, 8. Steel, 9. El­li­son, 10. Green­field, 11. Hag­gerty, 12. Stott, 13. Simp­son, 14. L. Brown, 15. Dry­burgh.

Re­place­ments: McLin­ton, Ferguson, Shankie and Fletcher.

Star man Ai­dan Stott was in top form for EK

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