Wednesday, 25 April 2018

West League Update - West 1 - 23 April 2018

Now with only three games remaining, Saturdays results look to have been decisive in the chase for the West 1 Championship title.

Glens and Garnock both had big bonus point wins, but they needed East Kilbride to do them a favour in their game against Carrick.

For thirty minutes, EK looked to be the stronger team with plenty of possession and territory.  In addition, they had the upper hand in the scrums as well as winning a fair amount of Carrick line-out ball, so it looked suspiciously like East Kilbride could get the result that would open up the title race.  However, the Carrick defence was solid, and gave the home side hardly a sniff of the try line, so despite all their effort, East Kilbrides only reward was a three point penalty.

On 30 minutes it looked as though the East Kilbride No. 8 had breached the defence, but the ref was playing a penalty advantage to Carrick, who almost immediately responded and scored a try of their own, quickly followed with two further tries before half-time.  A half-time score of 21-3 probably didn’t reflect the effort put in by EK, but that’s competitive sport for you.

Within two minutes of the restart, Carrick had gained the bonus point try, and continued to repel each of the EK attacks, whilst making the most of their own opportunities to give a final score of 40-3.

EK look decent, but against a solid Carrick defence they lacked a cutting edge, whilst Carricks off-loading game created quick ball that was rapidly exploited by their backs.

It’s not yet a done deal for Carrick, but for Glens or Garnock to close the gap, they need Carrick to lose two games from three, whilst not losing any points themselves.

One of those games sees Carrick visiting Glens, which is currently shown on the SRU website as being played in Sunday 13th May.  Their other two are Greenock away and Annan at home, whilst both the contenders have still to visit EK.  If EK can find that cutting edge then these will be a couple of awkward games.

West Region Clubs who have stepped up to the National leagues have proven more than capable over the past few season, with GHK and Glasgow Accies gaining promotion to Nat 2 and Newton Stewart not far off making that step this season.  Based on the weekends showing, this Carrick squad should probably also be competing at the top end of Nat 3 next season.

At the foot of the table, the battle is still raging.  Helensburgh are down, but there are three Clubs fighting out what might be a second relegation spot.

It was with little surprise that Oban were the losing side on their trip to Garnock, however Irvine would have been looking to their Helensburgh game for a win and maybe a bonus point on top.  But it was not to be as, Helensburgh recorded only their second league win of the season, and not even a lose bonus for Irvine.

Irvine are 10 points ahead of Oban, but Oban have two games in hand.  Cambuslang, who didn’t have a game Saturday, are 8 points ahead of Oban, with Oban having a game in hand.

Cambuslang face Helensburgh this weekend, with the home side probably a bit more apprehensive following last weekends result, whilst Oban welcome Stewartry.  Wins are extremely valuable, but if these aren't possible, bonus points may be the difference come the end of the season.

Whether the second relegation spot becomes active now comes down to one game in National 3.  On 5th May, Haddington play Dalziel (the Clubs sitting in 11th & 12th in the league) in a relegation decider.  If Dalziel are relegated, then it will be two Clubs down from West 1 to West 2.

Perthshire have played their full compliment of league games and finished with 20 points.  Both Haddington and Dalziel are on 17 points, so a win for either means they stay up.  A draw and they could both be relegated.

West 2 Update
West 3 Update

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