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Greens propped up by Greenock conquerors


By Matt Leslie

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A COUPLE of props donated by Greenock Wanderers spared Caithness the embarrassment of having to forfeit a fixture for the second time this season.

The Greens were docked points by the SRU for scratching from their match against Carrick earlier this season and were in danger of repeating that scenario last weekend.

With work commitments and injuries once again depleting their squad, head coach George Sutherland had only 14 available players – including yet another out-of-retirement comeback from himself.

Thankfully, Greenock sourced a couple of prop forwards from local clubs in the Inverclyde area and a gentlemen's agreement of uncontested scrums to be put in place should that area become too one-sided during the game.

Given that Wanderers are flying high at the top of National League Division Three, this would have been a huge ask of a full-strength Caithness side, let alone a threadbare one – and so it proved with the promotion-chasers cruising to a 62-0 victory.

Sutherland said: "The writing was on the wall regarding this game when it became apparent how under-strength we would be.

"Greenock were very helpful as they wanted to get the game on as well. They sourced a couple of props for us – one of them being 53 years old and bravely volunteering to help out – and it was good of them to do that.

I was a bit wary about it this time as I'd broken my nose a while back.

"For what it was worth, the boys got stuck in for the full 80 minutes. Even though Greenock were keeping the scoreboard ticking in their favour, our lads just kept going.

"We even managed to have a brief period of dominance when we spent the final five minutes on their try-line. Even their own fans were cheering us on to get a try – unfortunately we just couldn't get ourselves over the line.

"Many of the guys who would have been considered for selection were away with their work, while our injury list is already well documented. I had to, yet again, come out of retirement.

"I was a bit wary about it this time as I'd broken my nose a while back and was mindful of injuring it again. Thankfully nothing happened."

Next up for Caithness is a home match at Millbank against Lasswade this Saturday.

Sutherland added: "Again we won't be at full strength but numbers-wise we will be a bit better in terms of getting a match-day squad together.

"We'll just keep on doing what we can. We'll try not to worry about the result – that will take care of itself if we give our best.

"However, we might have a wee dilemma with prop Mark Nicolson. He's about to become a father any day now so we'll wait and see if he will be available."

• Elsewhere in National League Division Three, Ardrossan Academicals maintained their hold on second spot with a 36-26 win at Strathmore.

Third-placed Howe of Fife edged out Perthshire 39-30, while Caithness's opponents on Saturday, Lasswade, warmed up for their trip north with a 27-16 win against West of Scotland.

Murrayfield Wanderers demolished Carrick 61-5 with a tighter game being played in Glasgow's west end as Hillhead/Jordanhill were held at home by Berwick to a 28-all draw.

National League Division Three fixtures

Saturday, October 19, 2019

(Kick-offs 3pm unless stated otherwise)

Ardrossan Academicals v Greenock Wanderers

Caithness v Lasswade (2pm)

Carrick v Strathmore

Howe of Fife v Murrayfield Wanderers

West of Scotland v Hillhead/Jordanhill


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