HILLFOOTS 2nd XV welcomed Dunfermline 3rd XV on a particularly warm and bright afternoon in Tillicoultry with the visitors winning 31-28.

Hamstrung by missing a few core players, The Rams had drafted in a group from the associated rugby league team and, straight from the kick off, the dynamic was working well. Early infringements from the Dunfermline defence allowed Daniel Sheerin the chance to put the Tilly side 6-0 up with two penalties.

The visitors hit back with a converted try through some robust forward work before one set of hands too many broke the Hillfoots defence.

Undeterred, Hillfoots roared back with an onslaught of fine rugby, the first try coming from the burrowing Shaun Morrison after good line break play from Scott Bryant-Nicholls. Sheerin again with the boot to convert.

Three more tries came in the first half, with Martin McNee smashing through three tackles to go over from the centre position. Bryant-Nicholls then got his first try for Hillfoots since his youth team days, breaking two tackles and outsprinting the opposition back line.

Desperate defending from the visitors prevented a catch and drive going over, before the ball was recycled allowing Lewis Rolland to go over out wide, also for his first ever try.

That was the last of the scoring for the home side. After the break the visitors emptied their vastly larger bench and the pendulum swung completely in their favour. Some experience from their half backs saw two sniping scores from around the tiring Hillfoots defence.

Injuries and the strength sapping heat put the brakes on the home side, who started to wobble and the open play became disjointed with the impeccable penalty count from the first half reverting and the old heads of Dunfermline took advantage, scoring twice more to break Tilly hearts.

One injury too many ended the game, with the ref correctly blowing early for a head knock, with the home side making small inroads up the pitch with the ball in hand.

Such was the pace of the match, the away side did not realise they had won until after the game ended.

Overall the team were encouraged by their efforts from Kenny Patterson’s try saving tackle outwide that saved the losing bonus point, the injured players coming back on to support their team-mates and debut Captain Arron Anderson’s tackle count.

The Rams will look to bounce back against Arboath in the league.