Lasswade 34 - Haddington 27
Haddington are the current candidates for having to play-off to avoid the League drop, but comparing the two clubs’ performances in the Regional Cup these past two months, the East Lothian side and supporters must have pencilled in this fixture as the first step to lifting themselves out of danger.
There was some grounds for this hope when the visitors put on 13 points in the first ten minutes without reply starting with a prop forward’s try from a five-metre line-out, grounded by Cockburn and converted by Bell. With the wind at their backs they were able to stay in the home half for Bell to add two more penalties.
Marginally on top up front and beginning to contain the visitors’ main threat in the centre, Lasswade did not panic and mounted their own offensive.
Concerted effort should have been rewarded on the 15-minute mark when Robertson drove over from the back of a ruck but on the wrong side for the referee.
The position was soon rectified after a five-metre scrum and two patient recycles opened up the half-gap that Clark needed to side-step his way to the posts and a simple conversion for Brown.
Haddington struck back from the kick-off when their new centre signing, Monu, made the first break on half-way and was on hand again to finish under the posts to make it 7-20.
For ten minutes play was mostly between the 22s but combined efforts of forwards and backs set up another ruck on the Haddington line and Clark again bamboozled the defence to make another converted try.
For the second time in the game, the visitors curtailed the home celebrations when some defensive errors allowed Chrichton through to the posts and Bell added his third conversion.
14-27 looked like being the half time score, but a scrum on the visitors’ 22 provided the platform for some slick hands out to Mark Wilson on the right wing who brushed off two defenders to squeeze across in the corner and round to the posts to ensure the seven.
The hosts used the wind advantage in the second half to keep play deep in Haddington territory but could not breach the line.
Two long-range penalties by Brown levelled the scores with 20 minutes to go.
It took another ten minutes to set up a line-out 10 metres out and Clark completed his hat-trick, man-of-the-match and the try bonus by spinning in from the base of the ensuing ruck.
Haddington’s catch-up rugby nearly worked in one breakaway but they were chased down and had to settle for the loser’s bonus point.
While Haddington will need to look elsewhere for their salvation, this result has restored some of Lasswade’s confidence and kept them safely in the middle of the table.
Lasswade’s next 1st XV fixture is at Morgan Academy in Dundee at 2pm on January 26.