Stewart's Melville 33 - 44 West of Scotland: McConnell hat-trick a handy bonus

WEST of Scotland bagged five crucial league points and nudged Stewart's Melville closer to the top-flight trapdoor with a win that featured a sparkling three-try contribution from livewire scrum-half Murray McConnell.

Knowing that a win was essential, the home side powered from the blocks and Stuart Ker gave them a deserved early lead when he slotted a penalty.

The visitors then struck when their pack rumbled over from close range and Jack Walker applied the final touch for the opening try.

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Within two minutes, the basement side had regained the lead through a second penalty from Ker, and extended their advantage after Craig Marshall darted in for a try.

McConnell then picked up at a close-range ruck and danced through for his side's second score. A Ker penalty kept the scoreboard moving but another series of West phases produced the platform for Mark Jenkinson to bundle his way over.

Richard Borthwick responded by diving in between the sticks to leave Ker with a simple conversion but West had the last word in an entertaining half when McConnell took a quick penalty and plunged over for the bonus point score.

And within two minutes of the restart the same player had secured number five. Ker responded with another penalty to edge Stewart's back into the lead but quickfire tries by Graham Fisken, Richie Dalgleish and Elliot McLaren, two of them converted by Conor Davis, turned the game.

Liam Steele raced down the flank for a late converted try but Stewart's ran out of time in their bid to salvage a bonus point.

Teams – Stewart's Melville: R Borthwick; M Doneghan, H Lingard, C Marshall, A Cox; S Ker, R Patterson; R Merrilees, S Blackwood, C Phillips, B Leathes, S Brewster, B Tweedie, L Calder, P Hendry. Subs used: J Charles, C Mackintosh, J Kynoch, L Steele, E Clark.

West of Scotland: B Wright; A Park, R Dalgleish, J Kerr, G Dempsey; C Davis, M McConnell; E McLaren, G Bulloch, C Johnston, M Jenkinson, R McAlpine, J Walker, D Young, G Fisken. Subs used: I Keith, S Malone.

Scorers: Stewart's Melville: Tries – Marshall, Borthwick, Steele. Cons – Ker (3). Pens – Ker (4). West of Scotland: Tries – Walker, McConnell (3), Jenkinson, Fisken, Dalgleish, McLaren. Cons – Davis (2).

Referee: A McMenemy (Gala).