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Isle of Mull 18
BT West Division Four
In their last away match of the season, The Isle of Mull travelled to league leaders Lanark with 14 players. In an extremely close contested game, they lost by only 3 points but came away with a bonus point to add to their tally.
Some long-term injuries were still affecting the team selection however making his debut was Glengorm’s Sean Barker, a welcome addition to the forwards.
The Islanders, sitting second in the table, were keen to take the top spot and started off impressively. Lanark were put under immediate pressure and early on forced two penalties – both being converted by Sean Black.
It was starting to look good for the Muileachs but Lanark’s extra man began to take effect and a ten minute spell saw the home side score twice, John O’Neill and Andrew Angus getting on the score sheet. Both tries were converted successfully in the difficult conditions by kicker Iain Hughes.
The whistle for half-time saw Mull trailing 14-6.
A frustrated Mull picked themselves up and started to play some great rugby in the second half. The frustration was compounded however when Lanark’s Nick Humphries scored against the run of play.
Several controversial decisions by referee Fred McNally added to the mood, although were given on both sides.
Mull now had it all to play for – and they certainly rose to the challenge.
A determined Andrew MacLeannan took a quick tap off a penalty after a phase in front of the post and barrelled through the Lanark defence to get the ball over the line to make the score 21-13.
The revival continued with another attack, this time with eight phases between forwards and back, ending with Sean Black passing to Donald McIver to score.
Salen stalwart James Gibbons said of the try: ‘It was the first time in my career at Mull that I’ve seen so many phases leading to a score’.
The Muileachs kept up the pressure in the last ten minutes but couldn’t score again – final score 21-18 to Lanark, with Mull earning a bonus point.
Man of the match David Downham said: ‘In the second half, the boys showed what it is all about, guts and determination from the whole team.
‘At least one point from every away game this season is amazing, especially as we have only had between 13 and 15 players for every game.
Captain Craig O’Donnell added: ‘To come away with a point against league leaders Lanark with only fourteen players is pretty impressive. We are still lying second in the league and have scored more points than anyone else.
‘We are now looking forward to our next home game against Clydesdale on February 11’.