Duns strengthen their squad for new campaign

DUNS RFC got their pre-season underway on Saturday when they travelled to The Pennypit at Prestonpans to take part in Preston Lodge pre-season 10’s tournament.

It was a disappointing start for the Dingers who lost their opening match 32-7 to North Berwick. They then drew 14-14 with Murrayfield Wanderers. In the play-off for fifth and sixth place Duns lost to East Kilbride 22-20. Preston Lodge won the event.

Duns have strengthened their playing squad for the forthcoming season.Kevin Aitchison, who moved from Duns to Jed-Forest a season ago has returned to Duns, and stand off Kieran Wilkinson has joined Duns from Kelso along with centre Andrew Hamilton who has joined from Hawick YM.

Andrew Connor, a prop who came through the burgeoning youth set-up at Duns, has returned to the club after spending three years at university, and utility back Neil Graham, together with second row Stewart Cockburn, have joined from Berwick.

Flanker/centre Michael Brown, together with winger Stephen Hyslop also arrive at Duns, having previously not been attached to any club.

Finally, two players who missed almost the whole of last season through injury are making their comebacks as the new season begins. Scrum half Danny Lamb and flanker Martin Aitchison, both of whom have trod the long road to recovery after shoulder surgery, are both now fit and raring to go.

Another very important point to note is that none of last season’s successful squad - which finished an excellent second in the table - has moved on or retired. The 1st XV will be led by Duncan Budge as captain, with Dale Robertson acting as his vice-captain.

With more than 40 different senior players having trained so far this season, the early signs are very encouraging indeed for the long campaign ahead in East 1 and the Border Shield.

This Saturday Duns RFC will receive full accreditation under the Positive Coaching Scotland initiative. The presentation will be made by Alan Lawson, current President of the Scottish Rugby Union, at the new Berwickshire High School, at around 12 noon.

Following the presentation, Duns 1st XV and 2nd XV will entertain Glasgow Academicals 1sts and 2nds at the Hardens and Berwickshire High School respectively, with both matches scheduled to kick off at 2.30pm.

A week later, the pre-season programme will be completed when the 1st XV visit Tranent for a friendly match against Ross High, while the 2nd XV entertain Berwick 2nds in a ‘friendly’ match at the Hardens.

The league programme gets under way for both sides on September 1, when the 1st XV visit Linlithgow in RBS East Regional League Division 1, and the 2nd XV entertain Edinburgh Northern Seconds in RBS Reserve League East 3A. Both matches start at 3pm.