Lochaber makes it three wins in a row against Cumbernauld

A flying try from Callum Maclachlan. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos NO F12 Rugby v Cumbernauld 05
A flying try from Callum MaLlachlan. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos NO F12 Rugby v Cumbernauld 05

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Lochaber 20, Cumbernauld 15

 

Saturday saw Lochaber take on Cumbernauld for the third time this season in a battle for second place in West 3 Conference 1.

The game could be the last for a while after the SRU brought in a suspension of the season effective from Sunday at 6pm, including training.

Lochaber had won both previous meetings between the clubs but this was a much younger and fitter looking Cumbernauld than in the previous fixtures.

Conor Brown escapes the Cumbernauld pack. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos  NO F12 Rugby v Cumbernauld 02
Conor Brown escapes the Cumbernauld pack. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos
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The game started off at a good pace and after only eight minutes Lochaber opened the scoring through Conor Taylor. Lochaber had worked their way into the right hand corner, after which Cumbernauld infringed at the breakdown giving Lochaber a penalty advantage.

But the hosts didn’t need it as a simple pop from captain Callum MacDonald put Taylor through after he hit a great line to run through unchallenged under the posts.

Jonathan McCook converted to make it 7-0. It was obvious that Cumbernauld were up for this game playing with an intensity that Lochaber had not seen from them before.

Ryan Davies breaks through a Cumbernauld tackle.  Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos  NO F12 Rugby v Cumbernauld 03
Ryan Davies breaks through a Cumbernauld tackle. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos
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Four minutes later they drew the game level after a lot of good support play seen them able to offload and recycle the ball quickly making the attack very difficult to defend for Lochaber.

The game settled down for a while with neither team able to break down the others defence. After 32 minutes Cumbernauld took the lead from a penalty to make it 7-10.

Lochaber were determined not to go into half time down however and five minutes later they found themselves deep in Cumbernauld’s 22. They won a penalty and took a quick tap, the ball was passed out to Calum MacLachlan who still had a lot of work to do as he crashed through Cumbernauld’s defence.

 Jack Hamilton about to be caught in a  Cumbernauld pincer move.   Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos  NO F12 Rugby v Cumbernauld 06
Jack Hamilton about to be caught in a Cumbernauld pincer move. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos
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A quick spin when over the line got his arms free and he got that ball down to score. McCook converted to make it 14-10 at the break. Fifteen minutes into the second half saw Cumbernauld wrestle the lead back after a pick and go from the forwards made it 14-15.

Lochaber had a chance to take the lead from a penalty but McCook dragged the kick just wide. He made up for it with only 13 minutes left on the clock when he slotted a penalty through from a very similar position to give Lochaber a slender lead 17-15.

Just a few minutes later Lochaber extended their lead again through the boot of McCook after they had won another penalty to make it 20-15. The last 10 minutes of the game were perhaps the most intense as Cumbernauld went searching for a converted try to snatch the game at the death.

Matthew Jenkins is brought down in a tackle. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos  NO F12 Rugby v Cumbernauld 0
Angus  Jenkins is brought down in a tackle. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos
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Lochaber’s defence, however, was up to the challenge with Lewis Morrison and Jack Hamilton putting in some big hits on Cumbernauld’s fast wingers. Morrison also won a critical turnover in the later stages and his second for the game which help win him the man of the match award.

Unfortunately with only a minute or so left Ryan Davies put his body on the line with a big hit but in the impact dislocated his knee.

After the game had restarted Cumbernauld were right on Lochaber’s 22. They shipped the ball out to the centres for a crash ball with some of their big forwards running decoy lines.

Lochaber’s defence was more than up for the test as the big hits came flying in ultimately resulting in a knock on in the tackle.

The players looked to the ref who blew for full time and the celebrations began after a very hard match. The win leaves Lochaber in a more comfortable position in second position in their conference.

They are six points above Hyndland in third with a game in hand and eight points behind Cumbernauld  who could mathematically still catch Lochaber.

Nobody is sure what is going to happen with the remaining fixtures. Currently Lochaber have two league games both at home, a potential league semi final which most likely would be away to Glasgow University Medics who are leading conference two and a National Bowl semi final at home still to play with a potential final at Murrayfield to follow which would be a first for the club.

 

CAPTION:

A flying try from Callum MacLachlan. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos

NO F12 Rugby v Cumbernauld 05