NEWTON STEWART 0 WANDERERS 28 WANDERERS travelled to Newton Stewart on Saturday full of heart and keen to protect their unbeaten league record.

This was a potential banana skin for the locals and the commitment had to be evident from the outset to prevent an upset.

In quite appalling conditions, Wanderers opted to play against the elements in the first half and it was no surprise that the hosts had the upper hand in the early exchanges. The Greenock defence stood firm, however, and they survived the early onslaught.

A magnificent tackle from skipper Cheesy Watson in 15 minutes saved a certain try and, from that, Wanderers began to creep into the match. After 20 minutes, Wanderers threatened the Newton Stewart line and from a five-metre scrummage Callum Robb picked up from the base and fed Andy McDougall who gleefully scampered over the line for the opening score. Ant Devlin missed the difficult conversion attempt.

Play was littered with handling errors for the next phase however on the half hour mark, the hosts were penalised for killing the ball in a ruck situation. Devlin stepped up and made no mistake with the easy penalty opportunity. Wanderers held on to their 8-0 advantage until the half-time whistle sounded.

With the elements in their favour in the second half, Wanderers were keen to show why they have an unbeaten league record and it was no surprise in 45 minutes when Newton Stewart were penalised once again for killing the ball. Devlin stepped up to accept the further three points on offer.

A quite bizarre situation ensued after Andy Love had been physically assaulted by the Newton Stewart hooker. Dougie Smith quite rightly went to his fellow forward's assistance but the referee deemed this to be a similarly serious offence and both Smith and the Newton Stewart hooker were dispatched for an early bath. Smith had every right to feel aggrieved at this decision, but both teams were now down to 14 men.

Some 30 seconds later, Chris Clark was penalised for blocking his opponent after a kick forward and he was sin-binned for his efforts. Wanderers looked to keep their discipline as they fought on with 13 men.

Once again the hosts were penalised for killing the ball and up stepped Ant Devlin to stretch the Wanderers lead to 14-0. Wanderers at this stage were tackling like demons and Callum Robb in particular had three massive, bone-shaking tackles which had the supporters grimacing.

It was this defensive effort which finally put paid to any hopes the hosts would have had of securing anything from the match.

Clark came back on to the field of play and, within one minute of his return, Devlin put in a delightful chip forward and 'Cheesy' Watson sprinted on to the loose ball for a touch down in the corner. Devlin converted from out wide to take the score to 21-0.

Wanderers were home and dry now, but this was not the end of the scoring. In the final minute the Wanderers backs ran a delightful move and the ensuing break from Watson left the locals with a two on one. He duly released Chris Clark who sprinted in for the score under the posts. Devlin again added the two points to bring the final score to 28-0.

This was a well deserved win for Wanderers and they worked hard for their victory. Both Bob Adams and Dave McVey were delighted that a reasonably comfortable victory was secured given the conditions, and this ensured that the Wanderers bandwagon keeps on rolling.

Wanderers: Watson (captain); Connolly, Smith, Tyley, Fletcher; Devlin, McDougall; Smith, McMichael, Lavelle; Gray, Duncan; Love, Clark, Robb. Subs all used - Abernethy, Murray, Lavelle.

● Greenock Wanderers are sponsored by National Semiconductors.