Lasswade 17-8 Preston Lodge: Hosts maintain pressure on second

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On paper this should have been a fairly straightforward win for Lasswade but this was a derby and Preston Lodge, and to some extent the weather, had other ideas.

With just three wins from 13, only Whitecraigs stands between PL and relegation, while Lasswade have been in the top five for most of the season and third for the last few fixtures.

With Richard Borthwick standing aside for this week at least, Mark Billingham led out an otherwise largely unchanged team apart from Mark Wilson’s absence being covered by Danny Kerr.

With the early territorial superiority but faced by a solid defence, it was easy to decide that the first kickable penalty opportunity should be at goal for PL and Walls obliged to open the scoring to 0-3 within the first quarter hour.

The play swung between the 22’s for most of the reminder of the first half with neither line really under much threat. PL finally got some reward for their efforts two minutes into stoppage time when some forward play set up a ruck on the home line and flanker, Gordon, picked up and darted in.

It was close to the hour before Lasswade benefitted from all of Hunter’s hard work when he had the privilege of finishing off a series of ruck on the visitors’ line. Bell closed the gap to single point with the conversion.

With just three minutes of normal time remaining, the next penalty was entrusted to Bell’s place kicking and he duly brought relief for the home support with a narrow lead of two points.

Even greater reassurance was secured just two minutes later when Lasswade’s player of the match, Liam Greig, drilled his way through a melée to reach out and place the ball over the line. Bell’s conversion gave PL a two-score mountain to climb and they were successfully deprived of even a loser’s bonus point.

Lasswade continue to regain their pre-Christmas form but will need all of it in some of the matches to come. Among these is a visit to Hamilton although not till March. Having comprehensively beaten visitors Dumfries this week, the Bulls have re-ignited the competition for second place and made themselves the potential dark horses in that race.

The Six Nations takes precedence this Saturday with Scotland in Cardiff. Lasswade’s next match is the re-arranged visit to Howe of Fife February 10 with the kick-off time back to 3pm.