Banff RFC...............................................41

Alloa RFC...............................................50

Caledonia Regional Shield, quarter final

ALLOA had to dig deep to record a win at Duffus Park in this highly-entertaining Caledonia Regional Shield Quarter Final.

With many of the match-day squad having clocked up more than 900 miles to contest the last three matches, playing resources were once again stretched to the limit and a hard fought victory was just reward for their efforts.

The visitors got off to a sluggish start as the home side notched up an early try and a penalty, but Alloa eventually got into their stride with Marc Murray, Dale Foster and Rab Truesdale scoring.

However, Banff scored two late tries before the half time whistle to turn around 20-19 up.

The home side would have felt confident of building on this lead playing down the pronounced slope, but it was Alloa who once again edged their noses in front when Jamie Syme picked up from the back of an advancing scrum to release his scrum half Martin McKenzie who darted in under the posts.

But, in keeping with the to and fro nature of this game, Banff quickly snatched back the lead with their pacey centre causing the Alloa defence all sorts of problems scoring from loose play on the half way line.

The resulting conversion put his side one point in front with 30 minutes to play.

The open nature of this game seemed to suit the home side better, so Alloa turned to their set piece in an attempt to gain the upper hand and this change of tactic paid dividends when Jamie Syme used his vast experience at Number 8 to control the ball at the back of the scrum as it advanced fully 15 metres leaving an easy touch down over the Banff try line.

The match was entering a critical phase and Banff once again restored their one-point advantage with a well-worked forwards move only for Lee Cairney to slot a 30-metre penalty before Jamie Syme once again scored from the base of a dominant scrum.

Further forward pressure saw the home side trying to kick from their own dead ball line but the attempted clearance was charged down and the ball bounced perfectly in front of Lee Cairney for an easy score.

This effectively sealed the win as Alloa were now 16 points to the good with only five minutes to play but the plucky home side were not for lying down easy and they scored late on to keep the Alloa side on their toes in the last few minutes.

A battling performance from the Shield holders ensured that they go into this week’s semi final draw and they will be hoping for a home draw after the lengthy journeys that they have had over the past few weeks.

It is back to league business this weekend with Grangemouth Stags the visitors to Earlsfield for a 2pm KO