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Saturday, 24 March 2012

Paisley RFC 2nd XV 31 - 10 Renfrew RFC

Paisley 2nds played host to Renfrew on Saturday on what was a near perfect day in terms of weather. Paisley had had quite a few call offs, so found themselves with several players out of position, notably with center Andy Conroy in his first start at fly half. Conroy's kicking game was virtually non-existent, but he did well in an unfamiliar position, leading the charge with one or two line breaks and some sharp passing along the line to new centres Marcus Cooper and Pascal Nissen.

Renfrew kicked off and immediately felt the pressure as Paisley set about camping in their half. For the next ten minutes, Paisley battered away at Renfrew's line until, after a flurry of quick rucks, scrum half Calum Walker made a break, feeding lock Gary Riddell for the opening score, duly converted by Paul Di Duca. Paisley were then guilty of a lapse in concentration as they allowed Renfrew to come back at them almost immediately, the home defence allowing a chip to the corner to be dotted down by the visiting winger.

However, Paisley were quickly back in familiar territory, moving fluently through ruck after ruck, recycling with uncharacteristic efficiency. After 32 minutes they got their reward for all the hard work, as Nissen, spotting that the Renfrew blind side wing had gone missing, screamed for the ball, duly provided by Walker, allowing Nissen to canter in unopposed from around 35 metres out. With Di Duca again converting, the game turned around at 14-5.

The second half saw more of the same, although a series of changes in personnel interrupted the flow somewhat. Five minutes in, the spectators were treated to what was probably the most dramatic moment of the afternoon as captain Gordon 'Flash' McPhee took the ball for a run starting at the half way line, sidestepping several flailing tacklers before rounding the corner and touching down under the posts. Nine minutes later, Number 8 Paul Di Duca had a fine individual run, committing the defence before releasing Euan Stuart to score in the corner. Shortly after that, paisley committed their second and final error in judgement of the afternoon, allowing the Renfrew 8 to pick up and trundle over for second try.

However, Paisley were not quite done. Five minutes from the end of play, hooker Antonio Jimenez picked the ball from the ruck and barreled over the line for the final score of the game. As the score suggests, Paisley dominated this game, with the scrum suffering no real problems. Scrum half Walker made his opposite number's life a misery, causing some the put-ins to be taken against the head, with Jimenez having one of his best days stealing opposition ball. The line out functioned well and the back row made things very difficult for the visitors with Colin McKay, the under 18 open side, proving why his coaches wax lyrical about him. Matt John stone at full back didn't have an enormous amount to do, but covered his position with confidence. Late in the game Iain Milne replaced Walker at scrum half, a position he has very little experience in, but handled it well.

After the game, team manager Jim Lewis said, " This is what makes it worthwhile putting in all the time arranging, worrying and organising it takes to get a game played. To watch the joy with which Paisley played the game today was wonderful. I'm very proud of every one of them. Even Craig Thomson, out with an ankle injury, showed how a team member behaves, running touch, delivering first aid and generally helping me to do the job. It's good to be King!" The Man of the Match award went to Pascal Nissen, player in his first season who has shown a real talent for rugby and played with intelligence and bravery while playing in a position which placed him outside his comfort zone.