Duns travelled to Earlston for the fourth fixture in this season’s RBS Border Regional Shield.
After wins in their previous two Shield matches hopes were high for a victory over their Berwickshire rivals, but it was not to be and Duns succumbed to a very disappointing loss.
More changes to the side, and yet more new personnel in the squad, meant that Duns blooded three First XV debutants, bringing to a quite staggering 60 the number of players to have represented the club’s senior side this season.
Earlston kicked a penalty after less than two minutes, and midway through the half they scored their only try of the game. Duns were penalised at a lineout close to their line, and the home side opted to take a scrum. Their bulky pack shunted the Duns forwards over the line and their No 8 had the easiest of tasks to touch down for the try.
Shortly before half time Scott McCraw made a barrelling run up the park, but he lacked support and the move petered out. He injured his hand in the act of handing off an opponent, and a visit to the BGH revealed a broken bone which will rule him out for the remainder of the season.
Shortly before half time Earlston lost a player to the sin bin due to persistent infringements by the home side, but Duns were unable to capitalise.
In the second half and Earlston increased their lead after 10 minutes with a second penalty.
The visitors were finally stirred into action midway through the second period. Richard Hume and Ben Foreman took play deep into the Earlston 22 with good interlinking play and Duns were awarded a scrum 10 metres out. Quick ball from Stuart Thomson to Hayden Martin saw the kilted Kiwi cross for a Duns try near the posts, extending his lead as the most prolific try scorer for Duns this season. Thomson added the conversion, and all of a sudden it was 11-7.
Earlston managed to snuff out any opportunities Duns created for the remainder of the match, a game of poor quality from both sides.
Duns: Lewis Craik; Ross Turner, Jamie Semple, Noel Hooke and Craig Renton; Hayden Martin and Stuart Thomson; Scott McCraw, Stewart Calder, Ben Foreman, Steven Crawford, Scott Turnbull, Robert Grigg, Richard Hume and Graham Letham (captain). Replacements were Ian Russell, Josh Herbert, Ewan Fleming and Stuart Burns.