Greenock Wanderers 32 Dunfermline 24, National League, Division Four

DUNFERMLINE Rugby Club's first XV fell to just their second defeat of the campaign as Greenock Wanderers staged a second half fightback on Saturday.

Gavin Emerson's side were playing their first game since September 30, after scheduled games with Whitecraigs and Strathmore were cancelled because of the weather, and looked on course to mark their return to action with victory.

Playing with the wind in the opening period, the McKane Park visitors pressed from the kick off and, after four minutes, they scored in the corner for their opening try, which was converted.

After Greenock kicked a penalty to reduce the deficit by three points, Dunfermline crossed the whitewash twice more - but on both occasions failed to add the extras - to move 17-3 in front, but a second penalty, and a try of their own, brought the hosts to within four points at the break.

With the wind against them after half-time, Dunfermline conceded a converted try to fall behind for the first time in the match, before another converted score, and another that wasn't, saw them go 32-17 down.

As the clock ticked into the final minute, Emerson's side did managed to score their fourth try of the afternoon - two of which were scored by Harvey Gardiner, with one each from Declan Leonard and Fraser Strachan - to secure a losing bonus point.

But the head coach, who was without a few of his regular squad members, said: "It was a frustrating one.

"Looking back on it and analysing it, we scored three really early tries, and we kind of sat back and thought that we'd done enough. Credit to Greenock; they stuck at it and, in the second half, they played the weather well. They kept us pinned and we couldn't deal with it.

"It was a tough one but, fortunately, we came away with a bonus point after we scored right at the end for a fourth try.

"If we get three earlier tries, we need to keep on turning the screw and building up that scoreboard. It's about having that killer instinct to put teams to the sword."

Dunfermline will look to bounce back this weekend when they return to McKane Park but face a difficult assignment against leaders Garnock.

Saturday's opponents have won each of their seven fixtures so far, all with a try-scoring bonus point, and Emerson noted: "We're at home and it should be a good crowd.

"We're still in fourth place, which is massive for us. We're above where I expected us to be at the start of the season.

"We'll see what Saturday brings."

Kick off at McKane is at 2pm.

Elsewhere, Dunfermline's second XV, who have a free weekend, were beaten 47-7 by Glenrothes in Caledonia Midlands Region League, Division Two, whilst Rosyth Sharks saw their Division Three match at Perthshire second XV called off due to a waterlogged pitch.

They are scheduled to play Bannockburn, the league leaders who defeated them on the opening day of the season, at Harley Street on Saturday, with kick off at 2pm.

In the women's Caledonia Midlands / East Region League Two, Dunfermline Ladies returned to winning ways with a 32-0 success over Royal Dick Veterinary College on Sunday.

Caitlin Walker and Topaz Walker each scored two tries, with Chelsie Martin and Jenni Summers also crossing the whitewash for the league leaders.