DUNS Colts travelled across the border for the second time in a fortnight on Saturday for their latest match in the Scottish Borders Semi Junior League.
However, after their heroics at Tynedale 14 days previously there was to be no repeat of the home win over Berwick earlier in the season, and the home side edged a very close match.
Berwick’s pitches at Scremerston have suffered, like many around the country, from the recent inclement weather so the match was moved to the Berwick High School pitches. The larger of the two school pitches could very nearly have been covered by a picnic blanket, and this undoubtedly played into Berwick’s hands.
Duns kicked off on a fresh, breezy, afternoon with the ground in ideal condition for the game. With barely 10 seconds gone the home side scored their first try of the match - the kick off was fielded and passed to the big Berwick flanker who strode through the visitors ranks untouched and scored by the posts. The conversion put his side 7-0 up.
Dom Ginn kicked a penalty for Duns, but Berwick replied with their second score with 15 minutes on the clock after their forwards had rumbled and rolled up the park from a lineout. Another successful conversion put the home side 14-3 up and things were looking bleak for Duns.
Dom Ginn kicked a second Duns penalty, and then the visitors enjoyed their best spell of the match. Callum Redden had a pacy run up the left side of the park halted just inside the Berwick 22, but the ball was recycled quickly and fed along the threequarter line to Andrew Sanderson on the right wing who dived over in the corner for an excellent team score. A great conversion by Dom Ginn narrowed the gap to one point.
Berwick kicked a penalty just before the break and the teams turned around with the home side 17-13 to the good.
Duns continued their good spell after the break, and were rewarded with their second try. They clearly had the measure of the Berwick backs, and when Iain Sim was given the ball just on half way he burst through his opposite number and then rounded the winger and full back to score his 16th try of the season for the Colts. Dom Ginn’s kick was again good, and Duns lead by 20-17.
From that point on the match swayed towards Berwick, who kept things tight and used their big pack to good effect. Duns were just about holding their opponents in the scrum, and eventually worked out how to halt the lineout catch and drive, but had no real answer to the rolling maul tactics employed by Berwick, and the home side exploited this ruthlessly in the final quarter.
Berwick scored a converted try which gave them the lead, and seemed to be over the line on at least three more occasions from rolling mauls but the referee gave Duns the benefit of the doubt each time and ruled that the ball had been held up and awarded a five metre scrum. Finally, at the death, Berwick sealed the match with their fourth try of the afternoon.
This Saturday Duns Colts entertain Selkirk Youth Club. Kick off is at 2pm.
The Duns team was: Dom Ginn; Andrew Sanderson, Iain Sim, Steven Patterson and Callum Redden; Euan Fleming and Angus Baker; Dylan Renton, Charlie Marshall, Ben Gray, Josh Herbert, Angus Webster, Lewis Craik, Steven Markby and Scot MacEachen. The replacements were Rafael Goncalves, Douglas Turnbull, Wesley Hirst, Jack Clayworth and Ryan Glennie.