Despite an early try and some expert, lastditch try-line defending the University of St Andrews Rugby second team were not able to overcome Strathclyde in what was a gritty and hard-fought game under lights on Friday 21 November.
The first and only Friday Night Lights event of the semester saw a 100 strong crowd turn up and brave a cold and wet November evening to witness a game of rugby more renowned for tough tackling than champagne skills. Think Argentina rather than New Zealand.
Although James Goddard’s early try for the Saints wasn’t converted the expectancy levels amongst the crowd were sharply raised as it looked as if this eagerly anticipated game was about to turn into a formality. With some dubious choice of tracks blaring out of the rugby tent courtesy of DJ Ashton Squires and plenty of beer flowing, all in aid of the charity Wooden Spoon, the atmosphere was one of optimism and enjoyment despite the incessant rain.
After half an hour it seemed that fate was on the Saints’ side. Heavy pressure from the Glaswegians could not bring about an equalising try even though the home side were down to 13 men. In putting everything on the line to preserve their early lead Cameron Pringle and Sam Ummat were both sin-binned for tactical, but necessary fouls.
Half time came and went with the Saints still leading 5-0 although the lead was slowly becoming more precarious. With a slightly more selfless attitude and ruthless decision making the Strathclyde outside centre may have taken advantage of some good opportunities but it was not to be.
The clock ticked down, the alcohol continued to be consumed and the tension mounted.
With only a solitary try in it, the game of grit and tenacity started to take on a more sinister edge. Strong tackles came flying in and the tension was visibly taking a grip on the field.
With 10 minutes to go however the Saints received a proverbial slap in the face. A converted try took Strathclyde into a 7-5 lead and this disappointment was further compounded less than five minutes later as Saints found themselves a further seven points adrift.
A missed penalty was then all that could be mustered as the Saints huffed and puffed but ultimately came up short in this scrappy game.