FOR the first time since early November the Hardens pitch was available for play and although conditions were ideal for rugby, unfortunately, Duns marked their return to home territory with a generally disappointing performance.
Portobello kicked off downhill, with a following breeze, and within four minutes registered a first try, in the corner, following a well-chased kick ahead. The try was converted by the Portobello 10, Hamish Munro, who went on to have an excellent game, converting all six of his side’s tries and scoring from three penalties – a 100% kicking record.
After 11 minutes Porty increased their lead converting a penalty for a breakdown offence, and just one minute later, went even further ahead when they scored a second try following some good handling in the backs.
At the end of the first quarter, Duns flanker Chris Williamson was yellow-carded for obstruction at a quick tap penalty, the subsequent penalty was put into touch for a five metre line-out and the visitors caught and drove over the line for their third try.
On the 39th minute Portobello were successful with a penalty for offside at a breakdown and in the first minute of first half injury time converted another penalty for offside at a set scrum.
Duns came out in the second half with three replacements – D. Hutchison, C. Hill and A. Connor. The fresh legs and the advantage of playing downhill with the breeze did seem to give Duns a boost and they enjoyed a short period of pressure.
A little against the run of play at this stage, Portobello broke up the middle and support was on hand to score their fourth try.
Shortly after this Duns eventually got onto the score sheet, and for the next 25 minutes had a period of dominance, scoring three converted tries without reply from the visitors.
The first came when the Duns backs worked the ball through hands for a Dale Robertson try, which he duly converted. Their next came from a maul which was driven over the line, the scorer being scrum half Danny Lamb, again the conversion went over. The third try for Duns came from some determined running by David Hutchison and Robertson converted from wide out to make the score at this stage 37–21 for Portobello.
Interestingly this meant that both sides’ kickers had 100% success records.
After this golden spell for Duns the visitors came back into the game with a good break through the middle which was supported well and resulted in a score between the posts.
With only four minutes of the game left Portobello broke up the middle (again) and supported well (again) to score their sixth try between the posts (again). The visitors went on to run down the clock and finished comfortable winners.
As the final score suggests Portobello came out top in most areas of the game, they dominated at the set scrum, took cleaner ball at the line-out, but the biggest difference between the side came at the break-downs where Duns never managed to match the vigorous contesting of possession shown by their opponents. They also fielded the man of the match in their stand-off. His performance, not only from the kicking tee, but also in game management and control was first class.
Duns: Neil Graham; Ross Turner, Stuart Thomson, Dale Robertson and Andrew Baxter; Keiran Wilkinson and Danny Lamb; Scott McCraw, Allen Whellans, Alexander Auld, Duncan Budge (captain), John Walker, Chris Williamson, Richard Burns and Peter Lamb. The replacements were Andrew Connor, Cammy Hill, James Thorburn and David Hutchison.