There was no happy end to 2012 for Stewartry as they lost to Lenzie in a game they could – and perhaps should – have won.
The game survived an early morning pitch inspection and Lenzie’s first game since the end of November got underway on a heavy and slippery field.
Early on the home side showed they intended taking the RBS West Division Two game to the Blacks, with most of the play in the Stewartry half.
The early stages saw both sides concede penalties that came to nothing.
After 13 minutes there was a scrum on the Blacks’ 22 and they won the heel but were pushed back. The Stewartry front row stood up, giving Lenzie a penalty but again the kick went wide.
The home team kept up the pressure but good defending allowed Stewartry to clear the ball.
Half way through the first period the Blacks conceded another penalty just inside their 22 for going over the top of the ruck, allowing Lenzie to get the first points of the game.
Five minutes later Stewartry got a penalty 30 metres from the home posts but the kick went left.
After half an hour both teams gave away a number of penalties but none resulted in points.
Just before half time the ball came to fullback John Muir inside the Blacks’ 22 and, seeing some space, he managed to make a break up to the home 22 before losing the ball in the tackle.
Jamie Farquhar replaced Andrew Kerr at the start of the second half but within two minutes the Blacks gave away another penalty for a high tackle.
Once again Lenzie failed to put the ball between the posts.
Five minutes into the third quarter Stewartry knocked the ball on, giving Lenzie a scrum eight metres from the line.
They were able to push on and drive over to score but the ball was held up.
The same thing happened in the next scrum before it proved to be third time lucky when the ball came back out of the scrum, they went left and scored the first try of the game. It was converted to give Lenzie a 10-point lead.
Steven Hogg came onto the field in place of flanker Rory Porteous, who had a shoulder injury.
Five minutes later Stewartry made a break up the left wing but, with ball in hand, John Muir was tripped inside the Lenzie 22.
That gave the Blacks a penalty which led to their first three points.
After more penalties for both sides the Blacks got a scrum on the halfway and got a good heel, the ball coming out to Robert Wallace who sent it out wide to the left.
John Muir came into the line and broke down the wing and while he was tackled, he made a good off-load to winger John Fingland who went in to score.
The conversion went wide.
Ten minutes from time Lenzie kept up the pressure.
From the Blacks’ 10-metre line the home team kicked the ball forward over the Blacks’ goal line and although they chased to touch down, the dry was not given as two of their players had crossed before the ball was kicked forward.
The Blacks were penalised twice more in the last five minutes and the last penalty saw Lenzie go for a scum inside the Blacks’ 22 that Stewartry won.
However, the clearing kick was charged down by a home player who, out of sight of the referee, was in an offside position.
He then ran in to score Lenzie’s second try, which was converted.
Though both sides were evenly matched this was a game which the Blacks could have and should have won.
Although few points were given away on this occasion they are still giving away far too many penalties.
Stewartry squad: J Muir, J Fingland, A Kerr, Danny Boyd, C Fenwick, C Morey, R Wallace, I McMorran, D Burton, T Cannon, L Henderson, K McMinn, R Porteous, S McCulloch, I Fenwick (capt). J Farquhar, S Hogg, A Cairnie.
The next home game is on Saturday against bottom of the league Cumbernauld and it is hoped a big support will turn out to cheer the team on.