Lasswade continued their fine run of form with an impressive 22-14 win over Hamilton last Saturday.
The visitors came to Hawthornden on a run of seven wins and are sitting in fourth but have a game in hand against Whitecraigs, currently one off the bottom of the National League Division 2.
Having already taken the scalps in the previous fortnight of other league leaders, Kirkcaldy and Biggar, Lasswade’s maintained the pressure on Kirkcaldy after this win.
Kicking off with a stiff chilly Rosewell wind at their backs, Hamilton gave an early example of the fast moving expansive game that had won them the last six matches. They were met, though, by an organised defence and some resolute tackling.
Lasswade weathered the opening storm and began a steady advance up the park working the ball between forwards and backs.
Having already shown dominance in two earlier set scrums, a third short range opportunity for Lasswade saw Hamilton back pedalling over their line and Hearn claimed the touchdown with just eight minutes gone. Bell slotted the extra points from wide out.
Both sides looked dangerous when in possession but neither could make a decisive break until well into the last ten minutes of the half. Lasswade were pressing in the visitors’ 22 but turned the ball over and a quick counter found a lot of open space for Howatson to carry the ball 60 metres to the corner and McLeish’s conversion levelled the score.
The visitors’ relief lasted barely six minutes. Combined effort had won their hosts a lineout 15 metres out and although it had not been totally reliable till now, on this occasion the ball was secured. In a series of rolling mauls the Hamilton forwards crumbled and club captain Borthwick grounded the ball. The wind deflected Bell’s conversion and 12-7 remained as the score until half time.
With the second period just a few minutes old, Lasswade took a scrum against the head on half way and with the element of surprise in their favour Wilson came across for outside centre to take the ball at speed down the tight side, slip a couple of tackles and sprint to the corner. Bell had no trouble extending the lead to 12 points from the touchline.
Persistent pressure, some slick handling and a deft chip eventually unlocked Lasswade’s stubborn defence as Hamilton’s Wilson gathered and dropped over the line for McLeish to close the gap to five points.
With the match finely balanced it was no surprise that when the opportunity presented, Bell was asked to take the three points and an eight-point lead with just over 15 minutes to go.
Try as they might, Hamilton were unable to breach the home defence in the remaining time with the South Lanarkshire walking off the pitch without even loser’s bonus point for the first time this season.
Hamilton could however leapfrog from fourth to second if they can take a very feasible five-point win at Whitecraigs in the only league game scheduled for this Saturday.
The Autumn Internationals now displace club rugby and Lasswade’s next League fixture is not until December 2 at Howe of Fife. Kick-off 2pm.