Champagne celebrations as Duns win league title

Duns RFC celebrate victory over Trinity Academicals and with it the East 1 championship and promotion.
Duns RFC celebrate victory over Trinity Academicals and with it the East 1 championship and promotion.

by Jack Webster

Duns wrapped up the East League Division 1 title on Saturday with a resounding victory at home to Trinity Accies.

Duns players celebrate promotion on the final whistle after securing a win against Trinity Academicals

Duns players celebrate promotion on the final whistle after securing a win against Trinity Academicals

Trinity had inflicted Duns’ only league defeat so far this season by a single point, 16-15, back in October last year.

But this time around Duns knew a win would give them the league title with two games to spare, and they didn’t disappoint.

Club president Walter Stobie said: “I’m just absolutely delighted. It’s great to win the trophy.”

He praised the players for the success, but also added that they were “fortunate” in having two good coaches in Peter Gallagher and Brian Richardson to guide the team this season.

The home side ran in five tries to seal a comfortable bonus point victory, whilst also shutting the visitors out.

The tries came from Ged Lamb, who grabbed a brace, David Hutchison, Cammy Hill and Jamie Renton. Davy Lamb added 11 points with the boot, including four conversions and a penalty.

First-team coach Peter Gallagher said: “I’m very pleased for the players, they have worked hard this season.”

Club captain Dale Robertson added: “Everybody was really excited, it was a great day for the club.

“The whole team including the coaches and committee were out to celebrate. It’s not often that happens so it was good.”

The win gives Duns an unassailable 13-point lead at the top of East League Division 1.

Gallagher also praised the work that is being done at all levels of the club. He said the mini and midi section are “going well” and the colts are “getting evermore successful”.

Gallagher and Stobie both pointed out that this is the first time in many years they have been able to field a regular second XV.

Stobie said: “The way the success has brought interest to the club has allowed us a regular second XV this season.”

Gallagher added: “All these things together have made this season successful.”

He also revealed that although the league title had been one of Duns’ pre-season goals, the other was to get to Murrayfield to play in the Bowl final.

And as they can no longer be caught in the league, the club will now turn its focus to the Bowl competition.

Duns face East League Division2 side Edinburgh Northern in the third round of the competition on Saturday, and will fancy their chances of progressing to the quarter-finals when the lower league opposition travel to Duns.

With their attention now focused on their Bowl run, Gallagher sees Duns’ remaining two league games, both away - firstly to Lismore and then at Hawick Harlequins on the final day of the season - as a chance to blood some of the younger players within the club in the first team as they look to build on this season’s success.

It is also an opportunity for the coaches to give some of the senior players a rest from league duty.

This should give them the best chance of being fully fit for their Bowl run.

Duns’ league form has also received praise from their divisional rivals Portobello, who currently sit second in East League Division 1.

Craig Little of Portobello wrote on the Duns club website: “On behalf of the Porty Boys, congratulations on winning the league, definitely the best team without doubt this year. Best of luck in the Bowl competition and for next season.”

Trinity Accies manager Niki Graham also wrote on the Duns’ website. He said: “Deserved champions, well done and good luck for the future.” The Edinburgh side showing they are very gracious in defeat.

This is not only testament to Duns’ form this season, but also the great spirit in which the game was played.

There seems to be a great team spirit within the club and this is just one of the reasons for their success this season.

The togetherness the club has shown on the pitch in winning the league was also seen off it back in December when the boys stripped off for a naked calendar to raise funds for a tour of Canada in the summer.

It is still unclear which league Duns will be playing in next season despite clinching the title, with the SRU still deciding what will happen with regard to fixture and league re-structuring, but hopefully their league crown will mean a return to the National Leagues for Duns RFC, who are most definitely on the up.

*For a full match report turn to Page 28 and for more pictures log on to our website at www.berwickshire-news.co.uk