Dalziel Rugby Club
THIRD-PLACED Dalziel remain in touch with the top two teams in Premier Three after a hard-fought victory against Ardrossan at Dalziel Park on Saturday.
A late Craig Simmonds try in the final quarter of the match proved decisive as Dalziel got the better of fourth-placed Ardrossan in a tough encounter.
Dalziel again made changes to their starting XV, with David Aitken replacing Ross McAuley at stand-off.
Aitken got his side on the front foot early on and Fraser Stango came close to scoring in the opening minute before recycled ball allowed Anton Mitchell to round two defenders and score in the corner.
The hosts continued to mount attacks but Ardrossan managed to weather the storm and were rewarded on 20 minutes with a penalty which narrowed the score to 5-3.
Both kickers struggled to find their aim in the first half, missing a number of penalty efforts, but eventually the visiting goalkicker was on target to give his team a slender 6-5 advantage at the break, despite Dalziel having dominated possession and territory.
After the restart, Dalziel’s injury woes in the back division continued as in-form Anton Mitchell was forced out of the game.
The home side were still putting pressure on Ardrossan’s stubborn defence, which was holding firm, and it took a David Aitken drop kick to put them back in the lead at 8-6.
Ardrossan themselves made Dalziel work hard defensively from kick-off but minutes later strong running by John Goldie, Crawford Reid, Kris Watters and substitute Euan Stewart forced the Ayrshire men to infringe and Simpson knocked over the penalty to extend the lead to 11-6. This lead was narrowed by three points on the hour mark through a penalty kick.
Dalziel responded well and for the next 10 minutes Ardrossan worked gallantly to keep the team who are one place above them in the league at bay.
The frustrated hosts became ill-disciplined, resulting in Ross Donnachie and Stephen Baird being sent to the sin-bin. Ardrossan missed with another penalty goal attempt which would have given them a lead.
However, Dalziel rallied and some excellent kicking from substitute Ross McAulay saw them win a lineout just 10 metres out.
Craig Simmonds burst down the blind side and from a maul the skipper scored the decisive try.
Simpson knocked over the conversion to make it 19-9 before Dalziel held out to deny the visitors a losing bonus point.
The match was sponsored by fst Technologies.