Waysiders RFC v McLaren RFC
43 - 25
McLaren’s Fighting Effort Falls Short at Waysiders
Match Report: Rob Jones
McLaren showed a huge improvement in their game against Waysiders at Coatbridge on Saturday but still came away empty handed, going down by 43 points to 25.
McLaren began the game brightly pulling Waysiders’ big pack all over the pitch. Drummond at outside half was repeatedly breaking the home side’s back defensive line. After ten minutes Mclaren scored their first try. Good interplay in the backs gave Brooks the opportunity to score following smart interchanges with Drummond and centre Graham. Milligan missed the conversion.
The visitors kept the pressure up and Milligan, having his best game for McLaren, gathered a loose kick from Waysiders’ number 10 on the run, broke three tackles and sold the full back a great dummy to touch down under the posts. He converted his own try giving McLaren a twelve point lead.
Unfortunately, as in previous games, McLaren failed to maintain concentration allowing their opponents back into the game. Waysiders increased the pressure, pegging the visitors back with a series of probing kicks into the corners. McLaren conceded two quick tries, giving away penalties needlessly and missing easy tackles. At half time the match was tied at twelve points apiece.
Half Time: Waysiders 12 – McLaren 12
McLaren responded well to the sharp lecture from their captain, Drummond, at half time. The forwards gathered possession from a turnover at the restart and the ball was moved well through sure hands for winger Fisher to score in the corner. Brooks kicked the conversion successfully.
However, with the wind at their backs, Waysiders began to take control of the game up front through their bigger pack. This gave them sufficient platform to wear down McLaren’s forwards, scoring four more tries, including a pushover from a set scrum.
Brooks added two penalties for McLaren.
The score was not a faithful reflection of McLaren’s performance in the game and they deserved a better reward for their efforts. If they maintain this level of commitment they will soon return to winning ways.
Final Score: Waysiders 43 – McLaren 25Man of the Match: Harry Milligan
McLaren RFC v Wigtownshire RFC
5 - 11
Lacklustre McLaren gift victory to opponents
Match Reporter: Rob Jones
Wigtownshire came away from Dunblane on Saturday with an improbable victory courtesy of McLaren’s carelessness and failure to execute any coherent game plan.
This was a match lacking in quality where both sides struggled to control play in benign conditions ideal for free flowing rugby. However, had the home side used the ample possession at their disposal wisely they would have blown the visitors away by half time. McLaren opted to kick for territory after twice being awarded penalties which were well within the kicking range of outside half Milligan. Wigtownshire added insult to McLaren’s self-inflicted injuries, wisely kicking two penalties when offered the same opportunities.
Half Time: McLaren 0 – Wigtownshire 6
There was a some relief for the frustrated home support on the hour when McLaren pressed the visitors’ line, going through several phases picking up and driving at their opponents and finally reaping the reward as lock Darren Buchanan dived over for a try, reducing the deficit to a point. But McLaren failed to convert this into any momentum, despite the gargantuan efforts of open-side flanker James Buchanan who was outstanding throughout, constantly disrupting Wigtownshire’s attempts to use the meagre possession they enjoyed.
To their credit, the visitors dug in and, though plainly exhausted, still managed to repulse McLaren’s desperate efforts to turn the game to their advantage. Inevitably, caught off guard, McLaren paid the price and allowed Wigtownshire’s backs to move the ball easily along their line allowing the left wing to touch down comfortably in the corner in the final minutes of the game.
Full Time: McLaren 5 – Wigtownshire 11
Team: Letton, Fisher, MacDougall, Graham, Kirkbright; Milligan, Brooks; Harvey, Craig, Robertson, D Buchanan, Williamson, Creevy, More, J Buchanan.
Subs: Gilliland, Duncan, Dykes, C Letton, Howlett
McLaren RFC v Cambuslang RFC
17 - 22
McLaren Rue Missed Chances in Home Defeat
Match Reporter: Rob Jones
The sporting gods are not looking down favourably on McLaren RFC at the moment. After staging a spirited second half comeback at home last Saturday, turning over a fifteen point deficit to lead by two points with minutes to spare, the home side squandered this slender advantage to gift Cambuslang the game in the final play of the game.
McLaren began the game brightly enough and should have scored as early as the fifth minute. A solid scrum saw the ball moved smartly on the blindside and centre Graham made one of his characteristic breaks infield only to be pulled down inches from the line in front of the posts but the referee adjudged a home player to have knocked on following up and disallowed Drummond’s touchdown.
For much of the half the two sides played with energy and enthusiasm but with little enterprise, cancelling each other’s plays as moves broke down in the congested midfield. But the stalemate was broken by the visitors on the half hour. Cambuslang went through the phases on the McLaren 22 and were rewarded with a penalty as the home side’s forwards failed to stay on their feet in the ruck. Cambuslang opted for the quick tap allowing one of their props to stroll over from five metres through Mclaren’s unprepared defence for an unconverted try.
McLaren were presented with an opportunity for a quick riposte when Cambuslang’s forwards were penalised on their ten metre line for offside, but the ball was kicked dead. McLaren were soon punished for such profligacy when Cambuslang added a penalty as the home forwards failed to release the tackled player. As half time approached McLaren were awarded a penalty on Cambuslang’s 22 as one of the visitors handled the ball illegally on the ground. Milligan missed his kick by inches. At the interval Cambuslang led by eight points to nil.
Half Time: McLaren 0 – Cambuslang 8
The start of the second half heralded more gloom for the home side. Defending on their 22, McLaren rushed up too quickly in defence allowing Cambuslang’s pack to trundle slowly forward in a rolling maul, eventually wrestling the ball down over the line for a second try. The conversion was successful increasing Casmbuslang’s lead to fifteen points.
Milligan was presented with a second opportunity to open McLaren’s account as the visitors were penalised for a high tackle in their 22. Again, the ball sailed agonisingly wide of the posts. However, the home side soon made amends with a smartly taken try. Cambuslang’s pack was penalised for pulling down the maul as McLaren made ground into the 22. The home pack had been dominant in the set scrum from the start and opted for this option again, pushing the visiting eight back on their heels. From the ensuing ruck, the ball was fed to inside centre Brooks who darted over under the posts from close range. Milligan converted and shortly after kicked a penalty to reduce the deficit to five points as Cambuslang infringed by handling the ball in the ruck.
Surprisingly, Cambuslang’s pack now began to show some purpose at the scrum and began to shove their opponents backwards, reversing the fortunes at the set play. McLaren by this stage had been forced to make a number of substitutions up front which undoubtedly disrupted their rhythm. With Cambuslang probing and pressing, McLaren kept their wits in defence and punished their opponents with a classic counter attack. Defending on their ten metre line, McLaren turned over their opponents allowing flanker McKillion to punch a hole in Cambuslang’s midfield. Stand- off Milligan received the ball in support and kicked the ball deep into the visitors’ half. With the defence in disarray number 8 More gathered the ball and sprinted to the corner for a try. The home support was jubilant as Milligan kicked a magnificent conversion from the touchline giving McLaren a two point lead.
But joy turned to despair for the home team. With barely two minutes to play, Cambuslang pressed the home side back into their 22. McLaren failed to control the scrum on their put-in as the visiting eight shoved forcefully and a wild pass from the base of the scrum rebounded on the post. As full back McDougall struggled to gather, Cambuslang pounced on the loose ball for a soft try, easily converted, gifting the visitors an improbable victory.
Full Time: McLaren 17 – Cambuslang 22
Team: McDougall, Robertson (sub. Creevy), Graham, Brooks, Murrie; Milligan, Drummond; Crichton (sub. Harvey), Craig (sub. Campbell), Budge, Howlett ( sub. Buchanan), Sutherland, Dykes, More, McKillion
Subs not used: Black, Williamson
Man of the match : Craig, for an industrious performance at the heart of the pack
Next Match: Cumbernauld RFC v McLaren RFC, 3pm on Saturday, 20 October 2012
McLaren RFC v Lenzie RFC
McLaren Cup Ambitions Ended By Lenzie
Reporter: Rob Jones
McLaren were soundly beaten by Lenzie in Saturday’s cup clash at Dunblane. The visitors ran in six tries as they cruised to victory by 46 points to 14. Lenzie’s pack worked well as a unit throughout the game, and was particularly effective in the loose repeatedly winning turnover ball as their opponents struggled to maintain any control in open play.
Lenzie spread the ball wide at every opportunity with confident handling across their back line and made regular inroads into McLaren territory, partly assisted by some poor first line tackling by the home side who found themselves on the back foot for large periods of the game.
However, McLaren enjoyed some periods of sustained possession against a well drilled and committed opposition and showed they are capable of taking their chances when opportunity presents itself. On the half hour McLaren pressed the Lenzie line and the energetic McKillion at wing forward charged the attempted clearance down and pounced on the rolling ball to score with Milligan converting. In the second half, despite trailing by 32 points, centre Graham made a devastating break from outside Lenzie’s 22, leaving a trail of defenders in his wake as he touched down just left of the posts. Milligan converted easily.
This was no disgrace for McLaren, going down to worthy opponents who will be a formidable force in cup and league this season. The team battled admirably to the final whistle and this stern test should galvanise the squad to learn and improve as the league campaign enters the winter period.
Man of the Match: Joe McKillion
Team: Letton, Robertson (sub. Gilliland), Graham, Brooks, Fisher; Milligan, Murrie; Crichton, Craig, Budge (sub. Williamson), Sutherland, Robertson (sub. Howlett), Dykes (sub. Buchanan), More, McKillion
Next Game: McLaren RFC v Cambuslang RFC, 3pm on Saturday 13 October at Dunblane HS
McLaren RFC v Strathendrick RFC
3 - 24
Honours go to Strathendrick in local derby
Reporter: Rob Jones
Strathendrick outthought and outfought a game McLaren side in the eagerly awaited local derby at Dunblane on Saturday. The visitors emerged victorious by 24 points to 3 in the first league encounter between the clubs.
Some 100 supporters travelled from Callander to support McLaren and in the first quarter their hopes of a home victory looked promising. The signs were ominous for the visitors as McLaren’s pack gained the upper hand in the early scrums, pushing the opposing pack backwards. Murrie at scrum half was unsettling Strathendrick’s defence with some astute breaks around the fringes of scrum and ruck whilst Drummond was kicking effectively from good possession and gaining good yardage with his touch kicks. Graham at centre was making the hard yards in the midfield to the discomfort of his opponents, just failing to make the decisive offload and links with his forwards as they came up in support.
On the quarter hour, McLaren gained their reward. Strathendrick’s scrum on their own 22 crumbled as Mclaren shoved purposefully, the visitors conceding a penalty as the front row popped up under the pressure. Brooks successfully kicked the penalty giving Mclaren a three point lead.
At this stage, Strathendrick made a substitution at prop and within minutes the game had changed complexion. The home crowd looked on with incredulity as the game’s fortunes were reversed. Now it was the turn of the visiting eight to boss things up front. Ominously, Mclaren’s pack were now being pushed back at the set pieces and Strathendrick began to make good use of possession, previously denied by their combative opponents. Desperate defence on their own line saw McLaren frustrate the visiting pack as they picked up and drove through the phases.
But Strathendrick were not to be denied for long and on the half hour clever interplay in midfield allowed full back McDonald to carve his way through and score. As the half time whistle blew it was the visitors who were now making greater headway in open play. Could the home side now raise their game in response?
Half time: Mclaren 3 Strathendrick 5
Strathendrick picked up where they had left off and were soon another goal to their advantage. As they pressed the McLaren line, the referee overlooked a player not releasing the ball at the tackle enabling lock McEwan to pick up easily and barge over close to the line. The conversion went over.
Early on in the second half, Strathendrick lost momentary discipline conceding a succession of three free kicks for obstruction and back chat and ultimately a penalty, giving McLaren a great field position to press Strathendrick. But the ball was kicked dead, McLaren forfeiting a rare opportunity to put pressure on their opponents.The visitors now had their tails up and, as Mclaren’s backs lost momentary concentration, Strathendrick kicked to the 5 metre line. The lineout was well executed and winger McLaughlin hit the inside channel taking a short pass from his stand-off to zoom in under the posts, ensuring an easy conversion and a handsome lead of 14 points.
McLaren were now struggling to remain in the game but showed commendable determination and technique to deny Strathendrick as they crowded in on the home try line. Again and again the visitors were felled by McLaren’s forwards and backs who were indulging in an orgy of brutal defence and giving no quarter.
Strathendrick wrapped things up 5 minutes from time with their fourth try, securing a prized bonus point away from home. The pack showed poise and control at a scrum 5 metres from the Mclaren line, rolling back the home pack and allowing number 8 Mckay a copy book pick up and touch down.
The home side can have few complaints about this defeat. Strathendrick played neat and controlled rugby for three quarters of the game after a shaky start. Use possession smartly and rugby is a simple game. Mclaren have plenty of enthusiasm and fire in their bellies to keep fighting to the last as witnessed in this contest. As a young side they can also learn from their mistakes and will improve greatly as the season unfolds.
Full Time: McLaren 3 Strathendrick 24
Team: Cameron, Robertson, Graham, Brooks, Kirkbright; Drummond, Murrie; Crichton, Craig (sub. Cattigan), Budge (sub. Montgomery), Robertson, Sutherland, Dykes(sub. Mckillion), More A, More R (sub. Buchanan)
Subs not used: Williamson, Gilliland, Howlett
Next Game: Annan RFC v McLaren RFC, 3pm on Saturday 29 September 2012
Strathaven RFC v McLaren RFC
26 - 10
Strathaven subdue McLaren
McLaren left Lanarkshire empty handed on Saturday following their defeat at the hands of Strathaven. The final score in the home side’s favour by 26 points to 10 says more about McLaren’s resilience in defence as Strathaven posed awkward questions of the visitors throughout the game.
Admittedly, McLaren’s game plan was severely disrupted as early as the second minute when outside half Milligan was forced off with a deep gash above his left eye following an accidental clash of heads with one of Strathaven’s wingers, Murray substituting. As he made his way to hospital to have his wound stitched it became clear that his team mates were facing a stern test against combative and experienced campaigners. Drummond switched from scrum to outside half and was the pick of the visiting side as he strove to exert some control over proceedings in the face of sustained and hostile play by Strathaven, and indeed was temporarily incapacitated by a blow to the head making a tackle.
Worse was to come as number 8 More came off for an injury, substituted by McKillion, further upsetting the rhythm of the away pack. As the half progressed McLaren’s scrum began to wilt under pressure from the opposing forwards and conceded the first try from a set piece. A rare foray by McLaren into the home 22 was repulsed by Strathaven’s counter attack deep into Mclaren’s half. Strathaven’s pack pushed Mclaren back at the scrum and good possession allowed the full back to score in the corner. The conversion was missed.
For a few minutes from the restart McLaren enjoyed a good passage of play and repeated offending at the set piece by Strathaven’s forwards finally gave Drummond a penalty within range which he duly kicked.
However, this was but a brief respite and Drummond’s attempted clearance in his 22 was charged down. From the scrum the ball was fed to Strathaven’s outside half Coe who made ground courtesy of McLaren’s poor tackling and slipped the ball to his winger who scored in the corner, increasing the home side advantage to 7 points. McLaren prop Budge came off for a neck injury requiring further adjustments in the pack with Creevy substituting.
Half Time: Strathaven 10 Mclaren 3
More was restored to the visiting pack at half time and winger Robertson was substituted by Kirkbright.
Despite the handicap of playing into a stiff breeze, Mclaren started the second half brightly. As the ball was moved smartly from the half backs, centre Brooks made a bold charge through the retreating defence, passed to Fisher on the wing who was forced into touch five metres from the line. McLaren’s lineout has been consistently excellent this season and again they executed a perfect catch and drive, enabling hooker Craig to dive over for the try. Substitute forward Creevy converted a splendid kick making it all square at 10 points apiece.
Sadly for McLaren this was the last bright spot in the game. With wind advantage Strathaven took a firm grip on proceedings, their loose forwards led by the formidable Steele winning the battle at the breakdown and disrupting the scant possession now being enjoyed by McLaren. The visitors made three further substitutions on an attempt to refresh matters, McKillion for Dykes in the back row, Cameron for Fisher on the wing and Gilliland for McDougall at full back. Late on Williamson came on for Adam More.
Strathaven’s outside half Cope was increasingly influential, varying his play intelligently with breaks and probing kicks and interplaying well with his backs and back row. Strathaven added a penalty, drop goal and two more tries to run out comfortable winners at the final whistle by 26 points to 10.
McLaren now have a week to re-group and re-charge their batteries as they prepare to take on Strathendrick at home in what will surely be a pulsating local derby.
Final Score: Strathaven 26 McLaren 10
Team: McDougall, Robertson, Graham, Brooks, Fisher; Milligan, Drummond; Crichton, Craig, Budge, Robertson,Black, Dykes, A More, R More
Subs: Gilliland, kirkbright, Cameron, Creevy, Williamson, Mckillion, Murrie
Next Game: McLaren RFC v Strathendrick RFC, 3pm, Saturday 22 September at Dunblane HS
McLaren RFC v Clydebank RFC
30 - 3
Clydebank No Match For Lively McLaren!
After their close losing encounter at Lenzie the previous week, McLaren got their league campaign on track last Saturday as they swept Clydebank aside by 30 points to 3.
This was an impressive performance by the full fifteen in dry, bright conditions on a firm pitch which offered plenty of opportunity for a side looking to play an expansive and imaginative game. Hard yards at the training ground have clearly paid dividends. The pack, after a tentative start, gradually exerted pressure as the game progressed, and were totally in command by the end of the game.
The home support was in good voice as Mclaren’s front five scrummaged with poise and power whilst the back row of R More, A More and Dykes wreaked havoc against their opponents, disrupting the visitors’ attempts to gain a foothold in the game. Clydebank did themselves no favours by repeatedly surrendering possession at the lineout through a succession of crooked throws by their hooker. McLaren’s half backs, Drummond and Cameron, posed questions to their opponents throughout the game, by turn restlessly probing the defence with clever breaks or searching kicks deep into hostile territory.
However, it was the visitors who posted the first score after a few minutes play. Scrum half Ross Moffatt, who was excellent throughout, kicked a penalty from the home 22m line after his opposite number Drummond was penalised for a high tackle. A few minutes later Mclaren’s pack executed a classic catch and drive from a lineout on their opponents’ 22 allowing No. 8 Adam More to crash over the line. Outside half Cameron was unsuccessful with the conversion. The home side increased their advantage as Clydebank strayed offside attempting to repulse an attack. Cameron kicked the penalty to give the home side a five point lead.
McLaren now sought to press home their advantage and scored two further tries before the break. Clydebank were pressed back on their line. From a scrum the attempted clearance was charged down by Robin More in the in-goal area and brother Adam gleefully dived on the ball to score, Cameron duly converting. This prompted Clydebank captain Moffatt to give his hapless defenders the ‘hair dryer’ treatment for their carelessness. Unfortunately it failed to galvanise his team and McLaren ended the half with a third try. From a tap penalty McLaren moved the ball smartly through the backs and full back McDougall fed winger Fisher smartly allowing him to power over in the corner despite the attentions of two defenders.
Half Time: McLaren 20 Clydebank 3
The second half had barely started when McLaren captured the bonus point with their fourth try and what a beauty it was. The home pack shoved Clydebank’s eight backwards at a scrum. Drummond passed swiftly to Cameron who feinted left, wrong footing the defence, and sped under the posts to score a classic stand-off try. He converted easily.
The McLaren machine was now purring and the backs attacked at will, showing safe and confident hands. Only resolute Clydebank defending prevented McLaren from adding to the score. Throughout this phase of play McLaren full back McDougall was energetic and used every opportunity to counter attack and support his colleagues as they tested the visitors’ back line.
These efforts seemed to take their toll on the home side as the match entered the final quarter. Clydebank enjoyed a period of possession but had neither the strength nor the invention to seriously threaten McLaren’s defence. Their misery was complete as they lamely conceded a penalty late on in front of their posts allowing Cameron an easy kick to end proceedings.
Full Time: McLaren 30 Clydebank 3
Team: McDougall, Fisher, Graham, Brooks, Robertson (sub. Letton); Drummond, Cameron; Crichton (sub. Harvey), Craig, Budge, Black (sub. Cattigan), Robertson, Dykes (sub. Montgomery), A More, R More.
Subs not used: Howlett, Burney
Next Game: Strathaven RFC v McLaren RFC, 3pm on Saturday 15 September 2012
Lenzie RFC v McLaren RFC
17 - 12
New boys off the blocks!
McLaren RFC ventured into new territory with their opening game in RBS West Division 2, played away at Lenzie RFC. No doubt there were questions about the club’s ability to step up to a new level of competition especially given recent SRU changes to age eligibility and the reintroduction of “real” scrummaging.
Lenzie for there part are a well established and ambitious club looking to win this league and reassert their bragging rights as one of the better clubs in Glasgow and to expunge their fall from the higher echelons of Scottish rugby. While they have picked up a few players over the summer they also have former Glasgow District player George Breckenridge as head coach.
The pitch at Viewfield was surprisingly heavy and this in combination with a stiff wind blowing straight down the field demanded accuracy in passing kicking and wise decision making. From the kick off McLaren faced the elements and while Lenzie failed to use the wind to any effect, the visitors found themselves deep in home territory with a kick to the corner after Lenzie had conceded a penalty. A well- rehearsed catch and drive saw Adam More dot down to give McLaren the lead. The conversion was missed.
With 10 minutes gone and 5 points down Lenzie decided to get into the game and give their healthy home support something to cheer about. Their captain Morrison read the riot act to his forwards and from there they upped the tempo of their game and drove very effectively round the fringes forcing McLaren to defend for long periods. The deadlock was broken with a Lenzie kick and effective chase to regain the ball which saw Brown go over in the corner to the relief of the paying public as well as Breckenridge. This had now become a very good league game with no quarter asked or given. Lenzie dominated possession but McLaren with Dykes and Robin More playing out of their skins and the sprightly Scott Drummond panelling anything that moved, the home team had to show composure and dig deep.
On the half hour the pressure told when McLaren conceded a penalty in their own 22 and Lenzie opted for the scrum. While Crichton, Blair and Budge were well up for the nose to nose scrummaging, the Lenzie pack can boast a few well fed men and the overall weight of their pack gave No8 Scouller secure enough ball to pick and attack from which he scored.
As the half closed a near similar scrum and field position proved effective again when Scouller picked up and this time fed No 9 Paterson who scrambled in for the score despite Fisher’s effort to deny him.
HALF TIME SCORE Lenzie RFC 17 – 5 McLaren RFC
The second half was as good as the first with both teams giving a good account of themselves.
The best passage of play started to build when Lenzie drove the ball from their own half into the McLaren 22. Things were looking ominous for the visitors but some last ditch tackling and great foraging by Dykes saw McLaren snatch the ball. Drummond launched a kick deep into Lenzie’s half where upon the Lenzie winger had an aberration and ran out of his 22 and then executed a poor kick which put his whole team in an off-side position. The resultant penalty saw Lenzie’s retreating defence in disarray and for the first time in the afternoon Fraser Graham found space to stretch his legs and score near the posts for a well earned score, easily converted.
With the score at 17 – 12, the last quarter was a pulsating affair with both teams throwing everything into the effort. Some promising passages of play were well defended, none more than in the 79th minute when Drummond saw space through a mass of bodies and broke the line but found himself with no support and too many defenders to deal with.
Much to Lenzie’s relief the final whistle went. With a bit more composure and concentration McLaren can well prove they are not the poor relation in this league.
Man of the match for the second week running –Robin More for his outstanding work rate.
Full Time: Clydebank 17 McLaren 12
Man of the Match: Robin More
Next Game: McLaren welcome Clydebank RFC on Saturday at Dunblane KO 3.00pm
Clydebank RFC v McLaren RFC
7 - 9
McLaren grind out Cup win in dour game at Clydebank
Match Reporter: Rob Jones
McLaren RFC travelled to Clydebank on Saturday for a cup game (RBS West Regional Shield) against Clydebank and shaded a victory by two points thanks to three penalties by fly half Milligan.
The match was not a pretty spectacle as the rain unhelpfully arrived at kick off and poured down throughout the match. There was little to choose between the sides as the first half progressed as each struggled to gain control of the ball. However, the deadlock was broken on the half hour. McLaren wing Fisher made a smart break from his 10 metre line deep into Clydebank territory. At the breakdown the home forwards were penalised for killing the ball on the ground giving Milligan a routine opportunity to slot the penalty over. As half time approached, Clydebank pressed the visitors on their try line with a series of pick-up and drives. McLaren’s defence held up giving them a slender 3 point advantage at the turn round.
Half Time: Clydebank 0 McLaren 3
Within minutes of the re-start McLaren profited from another misdemeanour by the home side as their backs strayed offside at the ruck. Milligan kicked the penalty extending the lead to six points. This only lasted a few minutes. A McLaren attack was easily repulsed, the home forwards drove and rucked into the 22 and finally breached the McLaren line down the blindside for a try in the corner. The home scrum half converted admirably from the left touchline despite the wretched conditions giving Clydebank a one point lead as the game entered the final quarter.
In the ensuing dogfight the two packs wrestled, rucked and mauled without either gaining sufficient dominance to control the game. In these exchanges McLaren flanker Robin More was outstanding, repeatedly frustrating Clydebank at the breakdown and continuing his sterling defensive work from the first half. McLaren half backs Drummond and Milligan repeatedly strove to bring their backs into play but would have been better advised to adopt a less enterprising game plan at this stage through kicking deep to pin the home side back.
With the game in the balance, McLaren inside centre Brooks made a decisive break into Clydebank’s 22 and, again, Clydebank conceded another penalty for offside, only the second time the referee had penalised the home side’s serial offending in this respect. Milligan made no mistake with the kick in front of the posts.
In the final minute as Clydebank pressed forward, McLaren wing forward Creevy made a great tackle on the line to deny them victory. More home indiscipline rewarded McLaren with a penalty enabling the visitors to clear their lines as the final whistle blew.
Full Time: Clydebank 7 McLaren 9
Man of the Match: Robin More
Team: Letton, Fisher, Graham, Brooks, Kirkbright; Milligan, Drummond; Budge, Campbell, Crichton, Sutherland, Dykes, Creevy, A More, R More
Subs: Williamson, Wilson, Burney, Black (for Dykes), Gilliland (for Letton), G Robertson, J Robertson
Next Game: Lenzie RFC v McLaren RFC, 3pm on Saturday, 1st September
Hillfoots RFC v McLaren RFC
39 - 21
Room for improvement as McLaren go down fighting at Hillfoots
Reporter: Rob Jones
McLaren RFC travelled to Hillfoots on Saturday and came second best in a fast and furious game which saw the home side prevail by 39 points to 21.
There was little in the early exchanges to suggest the game would develop into a t try spectacular as both sides sought to master the blustery conditions. However, Hillfoots drew first blood with a converted try which saw their right wing touch down in the corner following some smart handling along the backline. The home side began to exert pressure on McLaren as the tackle count increased in the face of good interplay by the Hillfoot forwards and backs. This yielded a second score and desperate McLaren defending on their try line failed to prevent Hillfoot’s lock from crashing over near the posts. An easy conversion gave Hillfoots a 14 point lead.
Undaunted, McLaren took the game to their opponents. Gaining territory as Hillfoots conceded careless penalties through killing the ball on the ground, the visitors got their reward as winger Fisher made a decisive break, fed flanker Dykes who was brought down inches from the line, only for scrum half Drummond to pounce on the ball and score smartly at the posts.
Half time: Hillfoots 14 McLaren 7
McLaren failed to take advantage of the stiff breeze in their favour in the second half and paid the penalty as Hillfoots counter attacked with purpose. Increasingly on the back foot McLaren sought to stem the tide as Hillfoots probed the defence incessantly. The home team were in full flow at this stage, with the two centres making sharp breaks bringing the loose forwards into play with inventive moves. The home side turned their possession into a handsome dividend, scoring five unconverted tries in 20 minutes, leading the visitors by 22 points.
However, McLaren refused to capitulate and in the final quarter responded manfully with two converted tries. Winger McDougall profited from some slack play by Hillfoots as he pounced to score, and convert, after the ball was hacked through. The best was still to come. Centre Brooks made a blistering break in midfield from his own 10 metre line and was unstoppable, scoring under the posts. Drummond duly converted.
In summary, the game served as a useful reference point for McLaren’s coaching team ahead of Saturday’s cup clash at Clydebank. Greater urgency needs to be shown by the forwards at the breakdown and much more of the purposeful tackling which made the team such a potent outfit in their championship campaign last season.
Full time: Hillfoots 39 McLaren 21
McLaren: Budge, Craig, Crichton, Black, Sutherland, Dykes, Robertson, More, Drummond, Milligan, Fisher, Brooks, Graham, McDougall, Cameron; Subs: Kirkbride, Campbell, Burney, Wilson, Williamson, Letton
The score today was Hillfoots 39 McLaren 21.
Tries by Scott Drummond, Peter McDougall, Alistair Brooks
Conversions by Scott, Harry Milligan and Peter
Next Game: Clydebank RFC v McLaren RFC, 3pm on Saturday 25 August 2012 (60 Dean Street, Clydebank G81 1RL)
McLaren RFC v Oban Lorne RFC
This was McLaren's first preseason game of the new season and went into the game, against Oban, hoping to carry on their good form from last year.
McLaren started the better of the two teams putting pressure on the away team forwards forcing them into a number of unforced errors. The game was a bit scrappy, as can be expected, but McLarens scrum half, Scott Drummond, as usual added a bit of calm to the game with a jinky run leaving his opposite number and full back standing while he darted of the line for the games first score.
McLaren were clearly the team more up for this game with a further three quick tries coming from Martin Fisher and two from Fraser Graham.
With 15 minutes gone Oban must have had a sever talking to by the captain as they came back at the home team with a few quick offloads which ended with their big centre diving over in he corner for their first try.
McLaren scored one more try, through Martin Fisher, before half time to turn round 35-5.
In the second half McLaren started slowly allowing Oban to have plenty of possession which they used well putting McLaren under pressure which resulted in another try out wide. At this point the home team were making far too many mistakes allowing Oban to start to dominate the break down. However it wasn't long before they got back in their stride with further tries from Adam More, Pete McDougall, Fraser Graham and a further two for Martin Fisher.
Oban rallied towards the end with one further try.
All tries were converted by McLaren to give a final score of 70-15 to the home team.
Overall a good work but clearly more hard work is required before the league starts.
There is no game next week but there is a game the following week away to Hillfoots.
Budge, Blair, Crichton, Sutherland, S. Black, Dykes, Creevy, A. More, S. Drummond, Gilliland, R. More, Graham, Robertson, Fisher, McDougall
Subs - Leishman, C Black, Cattigan, Burney, Payne