Waiting game for ’Wade to see if St Boswells win

Lasswade's Mark Billingham finds a way through
Lasswade's Mark Billingham finds a way through

Highland have been out of the promotion race for a few weeks before this fixture but have a formidable record at home having lost only one game there this season.

Even the Hawthornden end of this match-up was a close affair with the odd point of the 25 scored giving Lasswade victory.

With this as their final opportunity to get the points they needed to eliminate one of the three other competitors in contention for promotion and maintain their own challenge, Lasswade would have preferred to be anywhere else but Inverness.

From the off, Highland proved better at retaining possession than their guests and Lasswade found themselves defending in their 22 for most of the opening quarter hour.

It needed a loose ball from Highland to open the way to the first score when it was scooped up to Wilson who sprinted the 75 metres to the line brushing off the Highland full back along the way.

Lasswade possessions tended to be interrupted by handling errors and so it was against the run of play that Lamont was able to break away from some scrappy play on half way and sidestep a couple of would-be tacklers to touch his side’s second try down in the corner with 26 minutes of time elapsed.

With the break approaching, a catch and drive from a short range line-out saw the home side’s Brown touch down to ensure a Fraser conversion and close the gap to three points.

Highland pressed home their advantage and were rewarded with a penalty for offside and Fraser evened up the score, 10 all.

The second period started better for the visitors and a high tackle was punished by Matt Smith to give them the lead again but this was short lived. On the attack in the Highland 22 Lasswade lost the ball to Gordon, the Highland left winger, whose strength and pace got him past some flailing tackles and all of the 70 metres to the line and Fraser again added the two points with just eight minutes gone.

Stringing a bit of possession together, the lead changed hands again when a series of rucks and mauls ended with Blackie burrowing in to give his side a one point lead.

Kyle Smith extended that with an individual evasive run down the wing and round toward the posts for the bonus point try and for Matt Smith to make it 17-25.

Anyone who thought the eight point lead provided a cushion was very soon proved wrong. Highland closed the gap to three points when Gordon forced his way over for his second try with ten minutes remaining.

Lasswade seemed to be containing the pressure as the stoppage time beckoned but then a series of rucks close to their line enabled Call to dart through a gap take his side two points ahead.

Then, as far as the home touch judge was concerned, the conversion went over which would have made it 25-29.

However, the visiting touch judge, whose post the ball passed closest to, judged it to be outside of the uprights and the referee supported that view: 25-27.

With four minutes of stoppage time remaining, Highland gathered the restart kick and set about running the clock down. But four minutes proved too long and on one of the “goes” the tackled player held on too long. Matt Smith held his nerve to slot it perfectly.

Lasswade got the win and try bonus point which makes St Boswells task all the harder.

St Boswells take on Dumfries this Saturday with the Borders side needing to win and score four tries to get promotion instead of Lasswade.

If they can do that and win by more than seven points they would also be champions.