Saturday, 6 October 2012

West of Scotland FC – Burnbrae

6th of October 2012

West of Scotland 53 – 36 Ardrossan

Forty or so years ago when I first began watching the Five Nations Rugby on TV, my favourite Scottish player was not any of the sleek, lithesome backs, but one Alastair McHarg.  He just seemed to epitomise what rugby was all about.  A scary, hairy, ugly (although should we ever meet, I think will use the word “rugged”) brute of a man, who I remember scattering his effete-looking Welsh and English counterparts around like skittles.  I was honoured to see him play in one of his last internationals, against the French at Murrayfield in 1978.

Bill McLaren would occasionally to refer to him in commentary as the "West Man”; me only realising some time later he meant by that his club was West of Scotland FC.  West, as they are generally known were (like McHarg himself) quite a force to be reckoned with back then, and would regularly supply the Scotland side with quality players.  The Brown Brothers, Gordon and Peter spring to mind, along with the likes of Sandy Carmichael. 

The club’s most famous recent alumni may be said to be Gordon Bulloch, who went on to play for both Scotland and The Lions.  Now 37 years old, I was surprised to see his name listed as one of the subs in the match programme, but I do not think he was called upon.

Welcome to Burnbrae

The rear of the stand at Burnbrae showing cantilevers

The Burnbrae Clubhouses

View of the ground from the Clubhouses

The neat cantilever stand at Burnbrae - it did fill up a bit more during the match 

Panorama of Burnbrae, home of West of Scotland Football Club

As to the match itself it ended it a well-deserved win for West, the game awash with tries: 14 in all.

Ardrossan started the crisper and swiftly built up a 12-0 lead, before Alex FISKEN scored West's first.  This was the best try of the afternoon, I felt, if for no other reason than it was one of the few which did not appear to require at least two missed tackles in the lead-up play.  Yes, this was an afternoon which will not go down in history as an example of defensive play at its finest.

The visitors turned around 21-15 ahead and after second half tries in quick succession by Alan WILSON and (I think) Andrew DUNCAN, briefly led 36-22.  But then came an inexorable turnaround as West gradually began to take control, and it became Ardrossan’s turn to begin missing vital tackles as the visitors’ lead began to get pulled in.  When West finally edged in front with around 15 minutes remaining, the Ardrossan lads seemed to realise it was just not going to be their day; the hosts eventually running in a total of eight scores in a 56-36 win.

Ardrossan attack during the first-half

More first-half stuff

Another view of the Burnbrae stand

The West ball-boy cannot look as the visitors' Bruce HUNTER is about to score.

Half-time on the neat wee scoreboard.  There was a ladder inside up which
one of the ball-bays clambered to change the score.

Burnbrae stand

Looking towards the Clubhouses

Panorama of Burnbrae, home of West of Scotland Football Club

And there was at times just as much action off the park I have to relate.  For in the corner of the ground I noted two elderly guys with dogs watching the match.  They were clearly friends as they spent much of the first-half deep in animated conversation with each other.  Their doggies also apparently knew each other quite well, for the pair of them spent much of the game vigorously and enthusiastically humping each other.    

One of the blokes occasionally attempted to distract them by tossing a tennis ball to fetch but, as I am sure most of us would agree, the attraction of chasing of any ball (be it oval or round) fails to retain its allure when sex is an alternative.  And soon the mutts were thudding away once more.

I think the wee tan one scored more often during the eighty minutes than both sets of backs combined. 

Them busy puppy-dogs.

Ardrossan on the West goal-line during the second-half

Second-half action

Second-half action

This looks a sore knee/face interface incident

Panorama of West of Scotland's Burnbrae Park

Panorama of West of Scotland's Burnbrae Park

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