Duns renewed their rivalry with Linlithgow in their opening East League Division 1 encounter, but left Mains Park empty handed after having three players sin binned during the game.
Duns faced the stiff breeze in the first half and had a nervous start against their opponents who were in a higher division last season. The home team had all the possession and were 6-0 up within 12 minutes with two penalties.
After 25 minutes, pressure in the Duns 22 led to another Linlithgow penalty. Richard Burns was shown a yellow card and the home side increased their advantage to nine points.
Linlithgow were soon to get reward for their man advantage when their big second row forward crossed the line for a try in the right hand corner, the conversion going wide.
In the last five minutes of the half Duns eventually showed some attacking flair and posted a quick fire 10 points, all scored by stand-off Keiran Wilkinson. Firstly “Twiggy” kicked a well struck penalty into the wind and at a shortened line out, Danny Lamb collected well to make an excellent break. He off-loaded to his half back partner to cross for his first league try for Duns. Wilkinson also kicked the conversion to bring the half time score to 14-10.
In the second half the home side had the first oportunity to extend their lead but their flanker missed a penalty. Seven minutes in Wilkinson kicked another pentaly to bring his side to within a point.
The visitors were unable to maintain the momentum and Linlithgow’s pack again took control. A penalty was awarded in the 22 when their diminutive winger stumbled into Dale Robertson’s tackle which was adjudged high by the referee. The home forwards then rumbled over for thier second try, the conversion was missed.
The Dingers conceeded points again when their opponents scored an unconverted try and with just over 10 minutes of the match remaining young prop Michael Dickson was harshly sin-binned, he clearly tried to roll away following a tackle but was prevented by Linlithgow feet, the referee, however, thought a yellow card was necessary.
Despite being a man down the visitors were next to score with another well struck penalty from Wilkinson but with 10 minutes remaining any further hope of a Duns revival vanished when Scott Lindsay got on the wrong side of the referee and he joined Dickson in the sin bin.
Linlithgow with a two man advantage were looking for a bonus point try and it duly came, with a penalty deep in the Duns 22 and the defenders expecting a line-out at the near-side touch the ball was kicked onto space for an easy run in under the posts, the successful conversion bringing the final score to Linlithgow 31 Duns 16.
The Duns team was Dale Robertson, Stuart Thomson, Kevin Aitchison, Scott Lindsay, Ben Black, Keiran Wilkinson, Danny Lamb, Barry Hamilton, Cammy Hill, Michael Dickson, Duncan Budge (captain), Stewart Cockburn, Chris Blaikie, Richard Burns, Robert Grigg, substitutes all used were James Thorburn, Chris Williamson and Neil Graham.
Duns 2nd XV50
Edimburgh Northern 2ndXV0
DUNS played their first match in RBS Reserve League East 3A at the Hardens and defeated Edinburgh Northern in a match which was much more closely contested than the scoreline suggests.
The Edinburgh side arrived at Duns with only 13 fit players, so huge credit to them for making their longest trip of the season short-handed when it would have been much easier to cancel the fixture. Mattie Taylor and Duncan Brown volunteered to play for the opposition, at centre and wing respectively, and they gave an excellent account of themselves against a Duns back line containing three of last season’s First XV.
It took a while for the Duns side to settle. The big Northern pack had the better of the loose exchanges, but as soon as the ball reached the backs it was clear where the Duns advantage lay.
Duns scorers were: David Hutchison, three tries, four conversions; Tom Swan, two tries and one conversion; Lee Douglas, one try; Andrew Baxter one try.