Alloa RFC 1st XV……… 29

Hillfoots RFC 1st XV…. 12

ALLOA RFC won the Clackmannanshire Derby in front of a packed Earlsfield touchline scoring five tries in the process to earn a deserved bonus point.

The home side received a pre-match blow when winger Marc Murray pulled up with a hamstring problem during the warm up. A quick reshuffle resulted in Daniel Murrell switching to the wing and former skipper Gary Taylor was promoted from the bench and into the back-row.

Despite this disruption, Alloa came out of the traps at a fair rate of knots testing the Hillfoots defence from the outset and with barely five minutes on the clock Rab Truesdale looked to have opened the scoring only to be pulled up for a marginal forward pass. As the pressure mounted on the visitors defence, both Jamie Syme and Lee Cairney were grounded just short of the line before Truesdale eventually broke the deadlock when he followed his own pass out wide and was on hand to receive a neat offload from Daniel Murrell.

Alloa continued to press home their early dominance and stand off, Ed Waller was asking questions of the Hillfoots defence with his elusive running and one move sent Alan Keir clear, only to be hauled down by an excellent cover tackle.

Hillfoots eventually found their stride and started to find one or two gaps in the Alloa defence through the direct running of their forwards, culminating in a short period of sustained pressure close to the Alloa line that eventually resulted in a try out wide on the right. However, Alloa responded positively and Lee Cairney countered with a great solo try where he took the direct route over his opposite wing and hauled two would-be tacklers over the line with him. Cairney then boomed the conversion over from the touchline for good measure.

Half time Alloa 14 Hillfoots 5.

The first score of the second period was always going to be crucial and it was to go to the home side when firstly, Rab Truesdale powered into the home defence before offloading to the supporting Jamie Syme who did likewise which dragged in a number of Hillfoots tacklers creating space out wide for Dale Foster to crash over. Hillfoots to their credit re-grouped and crafted a neat try which was converted.

At 19-12 down Hillfoots had the possibility of securing themselves a losing bonus point and were within a score of levelling the match. Sometimes tight games like this can hinge around a play or two and the Hillfoots' full-back dropping a desperate Alloa clearing kick under no pressure certainly put Alloa back on the front foot and they wasted no time in taking full advantage when Rab Truesdale and Alan Keir attacked at pace down the right channel before releasing Daniel Murrell in for the bonus point fourth try. Murrell again turned in a fine performance and was later awarded the Alloa player of the match.

With the game approaching the final stages both teams were forced into changes through injuries picked up during a highly physical but fair match. The remaining players were also showing signs of fatigue from their efforts and space was opening up across the pitch. Alloa exploited this space after a fantastic scrummage shunt sent Hillfoots backwards and then some lovely out of the back of the hand passing sent Mitchell Guild clear. The young scrum half bravely drew the last man, taking a hefty shot in the process, before offloading a perfectly timed pass to Dale Foster who galloped home much to the delight of the home support.

A satisfying day all round for the Alloa club who now head to Aberdeen Wanderers this weekend hoping to hold on to their league spot which sees them sitting second behind early pace setters, Strathmore.