Strathmore ran out deserved winners over promoted Hillfoots at Inchmacoble on Saturday with a 24-15 scoreline.
Hillfoots kicked off and within minutes had their first points on the board with a finely struck penalty after it was deemed the Strathie back line were offside.
This early setback had no negative effect on the home side and seconds later they took the lead.
Great work from Tom Cargill and the Blacks’ pack turned over the ball just as Hillfoots looked to clear their lines.
Ewen Hart picked up the ball and made a darting run towards the line, and as the defence scrambled to stop him he flung the ball wide to Jordan Rae who scored in the corner.
Fraser McKay landed the conversion to put Strathmore 7-3 ahead.
Hillfoots huffed and puffed for the following 10 minutes but couldn’t find a way through the black line of defence.
Strathmore however didn’t have this problem and following a slick line out and a crash ball in the midfield, the Strathie backline were unleashed.
Strachan and Scoular combined to play in McKay, who unselfishly popped a pass inside to namesake Cameron who raced past the fullback and scored under the posts. Scoular converted to make it 14-3.
Hillfoots reduced the deficit after quick thinking from their scrum half allowed the winger to score in the corner.
The conversion was missed and the score stood at 14-8 to Strathie as the sides marched off for half time.
Strachan and Gray carried the ball well after the break and the Strathie pack provided a platform for the backs to play from.
Gav Dissell and Jamie Gardiner hit the ball up into the midfield, presenting a fast ball for Tom Cargill to ship the ball out to Dave Smith; Smith showed his electrifying pace and beat several defenders with minimal effort before off loading to Colin Strachan, who bumped off the challenge of the fullback and ran in a try from 30 metres.
The conversion was missed but Strathie had stretched their lead to 19-8.
With 20 minutes to go Luke Yarr, making his club debut, replaced Hart in the back row.
Hillfoots managed to score with 15 minutes to go, to make the final chapter of the game exceedingly tense.
With five minutes of play left in the game, a huge hit from Gray on the Hillfoots centre forced a knock on.
From the resulting scrum, Tom Cargill popped up with the ball and raced off past several defenders who looked on in disbelief as the young farmer scored in the clubhouse corner to harvest his side’s fourth try of the game.
Next weekend Strathmore’s first XV make the short trip north to Stonehaven to take on Mackie while the seconds are away to Arbroath.