Stornoway 8 — RAF Lossiemouth 24 h/t: 3 - 12
STORNOWAY Rugby Club once again succumbed to defeat in Caledonia Division Two North as they went down 25-8 to RAF Lossiemouth in a scoreline that gives a very unfair reflection on the balance of play.
With the game poised at 12-8 with 30 minutes to go, and the islanders now dominating the opposition, it looked as if the home side would go and secure that elusive first victory to lift them off the bottom of the table.
But, alas, it was not to be, as RAF Lossiemouth scored two breakaway tries at the end to finally break the spirit of the home side, as well the large crowd which gathered at Bayhead for what turned out to be a very entertaining spectacle.
It was the visitors who started off the brightest and raced to a 12-0 lead thanks to two tries which were conceded far too easily by the Stornoway defence.
But then the islanders started to up their game and took possession deep into the RAF 22.
Despite intense pressure, the try was not forthcoming and when the ball was shipped to captain Darren Beattie he took the decision to go for the posts and executed a sweet drop goal for three points to make sure his side came away with something for their endeavours.
The islanders knew they were very much in the game, but they simply needed to produce more quality ball to supply a dangerous backline.
In the end, however, stand-off and general Peter Hobson did not get enough opportunity to release the centre pairing of Beattie and Jackson Tucker Lynch, with a back three of Jerome Curran, Ruairidh Stewart and Euan ‘Moley’ MacLeod also looking hungry for possession.
In the second half the majority of the play was conducted in the visitors’ half and when the referee gave Stornoway a penalty outside the 22 Beattie opted for a kick to the posts.
Up stepped Hobson, but very uncharacteristically skewed his effort well wide of the mark in all the hallmarks of a proverbial Bill MacLaren haggis. Still, though, the Stornoway tails were up.
Quintin Nel replaced Angus Williams at scrum-half and he had an immediate effect, taking the ball on and giving the RAF defence something to think about around the fringes of the breakdown.
After a period of concerted pressure on the Lossie line, Stornoway finally managed the breakthrough and it came as a big relief for the sizeable home crowd.
The Stornoway forwards took it on through two driving rucks then possession was shipped along the line for Jackson Tucker Lynch to come in on an incisive line which dissected the defence and took him to the try line. Again, though, the normally-reliable boot of Hobson let him down and the conversion went wide of the mark.
With the game delicately poised at 12-8 and the islanders on top, it really was ‘game on’.
But it was the RAF who bounced back and scored a breakaway try to leave the islanders once again two scores behind. Then with virtually the last action of the match Lossiemouth scored another breakaway try from a quick tap penalty, with the scrum-half somehow managing to run in from halfway, to finally break the islanders’ hearts.
There was a palpable sense of disappointment within the home ranks that they didn’t go on and secure victory, but they will also be comforted from the fact that this was an improved performance, albeit on their home patch.
This weekend sees them travel to Aberdeen for the third time in a month to meet the city’s Wanderers outfit in a contest that will again represent a massive challenge in what is proving to be a very tough and competitive league.