Glasgow 15,

North and Midlands 22

NORTH and Midlands had a rare district championship win on Saturday,

and none would savour the Burnbrae victory over Glasgow more than Bobby

Easson. It was his penultimate game as district coach.

Easson has realised that one man can do only so much. He has had to

trim his commitments. Not only has he had his North and Midlands duties

but he is also assistant coach for Edinburgh Academicals and Scotland's

under-21 team.

Despite the work of Easson and those before him, the team from north

of the Forth have been the other districts' whipping boys. Since

1974-75, when they took Glasgow to a last-match decider for the title,

North-Midlands have had only four wins in 61 championship matches. Three

of those have been against Glasgow.

This latest win was no less than North-Midlands deserved even though

the try count was 2-1 against them. They were the more hungry team. They

hunted and hassled, preying on Glasgow's uncertainties.

None relished such a game more than David McIvor. The silver fox was

in his element, plundering and prompting. His sights were still on the

international place that he lost on Scotland's Australian tour six

months ago.

David Mitchell looked the part as McIvor's foil at open side, and

Stewart Campbell added to his growing reputation among the younger

ranks. The Dundee lock, returning to his former home ground, may have

lost out on the first touch in the lineout, but he joined in the

touchline mayhem that knocked Glasgow off their stride after the first

10 minutes' promise.

Beside him, he had an expert in such guerilla warfare, Brian Bell, who

was playing in his forty-seventh district match, only four short of

Chris Snape's North-Midlands record. Naturally, Bell is tempted to be

available for another season.

Andy Nicol proved how worthy he is as challenger to Gary Armstrong for

the national team. The pace and security of the Dundee scrum half's

service showed up one of Glasgow's frailties, and behind him Bryan

Easson and Rowen Shepherd struck kicks that kept their forwards' spirits

running high as well as frustrating Glasgow.

Easson also promoted the occasional flurry of handling attack, though

his principal contribution to victory was to score with all six goals he

attempted --the conversion of Mike Cousin's try and five penalties. His

17 points equalled the best by a North-Midlands player in one match, a

record set by Neil Marshall against Edinburgh five seasons ago.

Dave Barrett's opening penalty goal should have set Glasgow up.

Instead, they lost their early impetus, recovering it only in brief

phases, and when Barrett missed touch with a long clearance Nicol

ignited a rewarding counter-attack for crossfield passes to allow Ford

Swanson to send Cousin over for a try on his championship debut.

Glasgow's performance echoed how they had allowed the Inter-city match

to slip from their grasp two weeks earlier. Again it was their failure

to exploit lineout command that was their downfall. Glasgow were

latterly so much in control on the touchline that North-Midlands only

once won usable ball in the second half, though the visitors were adept

at devaluing the opposition's possession.

Elsewhere, the delivery of Glasgow's possession was laboured. Fergus

Wallace and Fraser Stott were not in tune at the scrum base, the home

forwards did not fire on all cylinders in the loose, perhaps a symptom

of the demands of three games in eight days, though Kevin McKenzie was a

notable exception, and the back-row blend, even with Walter Malcolm

restored beside Wallace, generally did not have the security that

North-Midlands had.

Once, Malcolm, breenging into the twenty-two, all but set up a try

that would have cut the visitors back from their half-time lead of 13-3.

Stott, however, was caught as he was tempted by the goal-line bait.

Soon afterwards Wallace and Malcolm struck for reward by releasing

their Glasgow High/Kelvinside colleague, Shade Munro. Off the subsequent

ruck Ian Jardine looped Chris Simmers to put Kenny Logan away past three

opponents. It was a rare occasion when the North-Midlands defence was

less than secure.

Barrett converted from well out on the left. Easson, however, promptly

added two more penalty goals, and only belatedly, when Wallace opted for

a succession of two-man lineouts, did Glasgow make their second try.

Malcolm Norval was its lineout source, McKenzie charged on, and George

Breckenridge's long pass to the intruding Barrett allowed Logan to put

Richard Porter over. The Glasgow right wing, like his North-Midlands

counterpart, scored on his wrong flank.

Barret converted, but Glasgow could find no more in the remaining

three minutes. Instead, Easson had another penalty goal.

Glasgow -- D N Barrett (West of Scotland); R A G Porter, C T Simmers

(both Edinburgh Academicals), I C Jardine, K M Logan (both Stirling

County); G M Breckenridge (GHK), F H Stott (West of Scotland); J T

Gibson, K D McKenzie, G B Robertson, M Norval (all Stirling County), D S

Munro, W H Malcolm, F D Wallace, captain (all GHK), B Ireland (Stirling


North and Midlands - S A D Burns (Edinburgh Academicals), captain; M A

Cousin, P R Rouse (both Dundee HS FP), R J S Shepherd, J F Swanson (both

Edinburgh Academicals); B R Easson, A D Nicol; J J Manson (all Dundee HS

FP), M W Scott (Edinburgh Academicals), D Herrington (Dundee HS FP), B H

Bell (Highland), S J Campbell (Dundee HS FP), D J McIvor (Edinburgh

Academicals), J G Mathieson (Morgan Academy FP), D H Mitchell


Referee -- R S Clark (Stewart's Melville FP).