McCreath inspires Berwick fightback

Glasgow Acads 24

Berwick 42

WHAT began as a potential shock win for Glasgow minnows in Saturday’s BT Shield final ended with an exhilarating performance from a Borders side very much on the rise.

Glasgow Academicals provided the best possible start to the middle of the three finals at Murrayfield, tries from Stewart Smith, after just 53 seconds, and skipper Alan Perrie putting the National League Division 2 side 12-0 up and leaving the small, but vociferous crowd anticipating a surprise.

Sadly for the underdogs, Berwick - who will play in the Premiership Division 2 next season - never lost their composure despite a poor first quarter and after their talented hooker-cum-flanker Robert Haggerstone had finished off a flowing move with a try on the half-hour the tide began to turn. Matt McCreath, the Berwick fly-half, converted and he emerged from the interval a rejuvenated figure, leading the attack with great variety and duly putting Berwick ahead for the first time with a try just 10 minutes into the second half.

Again he converted and when the talented Berwick full-back James King, the first player to be awarded an apprentice contract by the Borders, finished a superb break by feeding his brother Rodney for a third try Glasgow hopes faded.

Colin Young, who ran Matt McCreath very close for the man of the match award, grabbed the fourth on the hour and James King and Malcolm Bell emphasises the gap in pace, strength and fitness by stretching the deficit to 42-12 with still 13 minutes left.

The Accies did have a response, however, and their tremendous effort and great defensive play in the early part of the game, in particular, was rewarded with tries in the dying stages by Mathew Smith, the hooker, and loosehead Perrie again. Though they deserved great credit for a stirring display in the face of adversity, Glasgow’s heartache was doubled when it was confirmed that No 8 Andy Pogrel had suffered a broken leg.

Scorers: Glasgow Acads: Tries: Perrie 2, S Smith, M Smith. Cons: Lundie, Bruce. Berwick: Tries: Haggerstone, M McCreath, R King, C Young, J King, M Bell. Cons: M McGrath 6.

Glasgow Academicals: R Chassels; M Hermes, S Smith, A Smith, F Lundie; J Doig, A Greene; A Perrie (capt), M Smith, D Spence, N Caddell, G Lusk, A Jackson, A Pogrel, G Simpson. Subs (all played): A Lawson, S Winter, S Thorburn, P Allan, A Longwe, C Bruce, A McLaren.

Berwick: J King; B McGrath (capt), J Grimsdale, C Young, R King; M McCreath, L Cox; G Holborn, M Bell, S Gilchrist, G Younger, T Sanderson, G Riddell, G Watson, R Haggerstone. Subs (all played): G Hill, O Henderson, R Henderson, D Watson, M Davidson, J Young, R Hume.

Referee: D Jack (Madras Coll FP).