National League Cup semi-finals: runners, riders and verdict

Lasswade face Allan Glen's and Falkirk take on Newton Stewart

Allan Glen's are in National League Cup semi-final action on Saturday afternoon. Image: Eric Mair
Allan Glen's are in National League Cup semi-final action on Saturday afternoon. Image: Eric Mair

THE NATIONAL LEAGUE CUP semi-finals see Lasswade, who finished second in National Two, host Allan Glen’s, who are currently sitting second in National Three. Meanwhile, Falkirk, who are third in National Two, welcome their fourth-placed league mates Newton Stewart to Sunnyside.

The Lowdown –

Lasswade v Allan Glen’s

Venue: Hawthornden @ 3pm

Teams –

Lasswade: L Clarke; S Sinclair, M Wilson, D Hall, G Innes; M Smith, C Catterall; C Blackie, P Wilson, D Robertson©, A Lamond, S Hunter, D Sutherland, J Elliot, L Jackaman. Subs: G Cook, M Billingham, G Wright, N Elliot, K Smith, R Gladstone, C Lamont.

Allan Glen’s: G Henderson; P Keenan, A McConnell©, L Ekevati, D Reilly; P Macaulay, F Moore; L Frame, L Napier, D Stevenson, S Lennon, J Howarth, R McKinstray, S Morrison, C Haddock. Subs: C McHugh, C O’Neil, F Phillips, N Cameron, S Thomson, D Low, A Letham.

Key battle: Liam Jackaman versus Calum Haddock

Team news –

Lasswade: Alasdair Lamond and Stephen Hunter form the second-row pairing, No 8 Blair Smith misses out so Liam Jackaman moves back to that position. Matthew Smith is at 10 with Lewis Clarke moving to 15.

Allan Glen’s: The experienced Jamie Howarth returns to the second-row with Robert McKinstray moving to six. Sam Morrison comes back in at seven having been unavailable for the Howe quarter-final game. The starting back-line is unchanged. Cameron McHugh and David Low return to the squad on the bench while Frazer Phillips and Adam (Andrew) Letham have been promoted to the squad after strong displays for the 2nd team.

What the coaches say –

“The guys put in a good shift against Stirling County with a few players unavailable so we have gone with a similar starting XV this time around with a strong bench ready to come on and make an impact. Allan Glen’s are currently second in National Three so we know they are a good side who, like us, have physicality and also like to throw the ball around. We will need a strong performance to progress to Murrayfield …” – Peter Wright (Lasswade)

“Allan Glen’s is a community-based club who play in National Three and, as a club, we are extremely excited and proud to have come this far in the Cup competition. Of the 22 players who are involved in Saturday’s semi-final, 20 of them have come through the Allan Glen’s academy system which is a great achievement for a club of our size. We fully appreciate that Lasswade are huge favourites to win on Saturday, having just missed out on promotion to National One, and for Allan Glen’s to have any success we will need to be at our best and Lasswade to have an off day, but we will travel with a positive attitude, play to our strengths and enjoy every minute of the day …” – Mark Mooney (Allan Glen’s)

Verdict: Allan Glen’s have had a strong season and they will be right up for this one, but Lasswade had a good result versus Stirling County and home advantage and the experienced core of their team should get them over the line.

Home win.

 

 

Falkirk v Newton Stewart

Venue: Sunnyside @ 3pm

Teams –

Falkirk: C Faulds; G Brodie, A Graham, E Cassells, G Ramsay; G Faulds, H Russell©; S Serifini, A Gillespie, L Skinner, G McKinnon, S Yarrow, J McKenna, C Hunter, G Dodd. Subs: C Hazlett, K Williamson, K Ross, C Ronald, D Tompkins, T Paul, L McNicholl.

Newton Stewart: R Morton; W Sloan, J Gaw, T Quigley, C Gaw; D Gaw, R McCornick; A Old, T MacDonald, L Brawls©, M Craig, J McMilken, A Campbell, D Gwynne, M McCornick. Subs: R Adams, R Campbell, M Wright, B McMilken, G Gaw, D Adams, E Jackson.

Key battle: Connor Faulds versus Russell Morton

Team news –

Falkirk: Caledonia Reds squad members Harry Russell, Glen Faulds, Connor Faulds and Lewis Skinner are back along with a number of others who have either been injured or unavailable. Winger John Jo Nelson misses out as he has taken a six-month job secondment in Boston, USA.

Newton Stewart: The pack is bolstered by the return of Thomas MacDonald, Mark Craig and James McMiken. Mark McCornick and Russell Morton play after being involved with the Glasgow & The West squad.

What the coaches say –

“We’ve had some great battles over recent years with Newton Stewart and we respect them very much. Over the course of the past season we beat them down there and they beat us up here. We know what they bring: sheer work rate and desire to beat their opposition in every facet of the game. They are superbly coached, well drilled and led on field by Mark McCornick who was in the Glasgow & The West back-row recently. For us to beat them we need to be accurate with everything we do and ultimately outwork them in defence and attack. Hopefully, we will get a decent dry and windless Saturday for a change and two great teams can put on a show for the many supporters we are expecting at Sunnyside …” – Kenny Grieve (Falkirk, DoR/assistant coach)

“Both teams know each other fairly well. Falkirk won the opening meeting of the season at Bladnoch Park fairly comprehensively, but Newton reversed the result up at Sunnyside. On their day, two evenly matched teams and hopefully with some good weather over the weekend we should be in for cracker. Last weekend was our first game in eight weeks so it was good to get the win and blow a few cobwebs away against a good Bourghmuir team. Saturday’s game will be a step up again and we are looking forward to the challenge of trying to make the final …” Martin Wallace (Newton Stewart)

Verdict: This is a tough, tough one to call. Both sides had excellent away wins in the last round while they have beaten each other once apiece in the league this term.

If tighthead Lewis Skinner can get the pack on the front foot and captain Harry Russell gets the backs moving, Falkirk may just edge it, but the excellent Mark McCornick and the Newton Stewart squad will have something to say about that.

A tight home win.


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About Gary Heatly 462 Articles
Gary has loved rugby ever since he can remember and since 2004 he has covered the sport and others in a professional capacity for many publications and websites and runs his own company, GH Media.

2 Comments

  1. Magnificent rugby played in front of crowds S6 n AG Troll could only dream of…. congratulations to both winners but must say Newton Stewart were magnificent their defence and ambition. Very epitome of proper rugby something the AG2 troll could never conceive.

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