By Derek Simpson
DUNS travelled to old friends Penicuik for the latest round of matches in East Regional League Division 1 and thrashed their hosts by 13 tries - 12 of which were converted - to nil.
The Dingers now know that a win this coming Saturday against Trinity Accies will guarantee the East League championship this season, but they are also aware that Trinity are the only side to have beaten them in all matches in 2010/11.
The Penicuik pitch was in remarkably good condition for Saturday’s contest, and despite the occasional flurry of snow the weather also suited the visitors’ style of play. Get the ball to the backs as quickly as possible, and they will stretch any defence.
Duns were missing four or five first- team regulars, although Penicuik faced selection difficulties of their own with a number of forwards having to play in the backs because of a shortage of fit personnel.
It was clear from very early in the match that Duns were going to dominate, and Ged Lamb opened the scoring with a solo break from just inside the 22. He kicked the conversion himself, and was on hand to convert the first of David Hutchison’s hatful of tries five minutes later to give Duns a 14-0 lead.
Duns were then guilty of trying to over-elaborate when sticking to the basics might have served them better. Long, floated passes failed to find their mark and players tried to take the ball on too far rather than find a supporting runner, and for 15 minutes there was no addition to the score.
Once the penny dropped that a simple game-plan would yield dividends, Duns were irresistible. Hutchison scored his second try after 25 minutes, and Ged Lamb’s conversion attempt from the touchline agonisingly hit the left upright.
In the closing seven minutes of the half Duns added three more tries. The first two were carbon copies of each other, with number 8 Richard Burns barging powerfully through several attempted tackles to score close to the posts, and on the stroke of half- time Stephen Cooke on the right wing crossed for his first try for the club. All three were converted by Danny Lamb, setting him on the way to 10 conversions from 10 attempts, some of which were from very acute angles.
After the break Duns played up the slope and added seven more converted tries. Replacement Dane Ivison got the first when he was set free up the right touchline, and Hutchison got his hat-trick score shortly afterwards. Cooke got his second, and James Weir was next to score. He benefited from Hutchison’s largesse, showing the value of never giving up a supporting run - Hutchison had already crossed the try line but Weir tracked him all the way, like a St Bernard chasing a whippet, and his efforts were rewarded with a scoring pass.
Throughout this scoring spree it must be said that Penicuik never gave up. They must have been demoralised at the onslaught they faced, but they plugged away, with their big pack in particular probably deserving a score for its efforts.
Captain Jamie Renton got try number 11, and in the closing two minutes, as the home heads finally dropped, Kevin Aitchison scored, and straight from the kick-off Duns broke up the park and set Hutchison free for his fourth of the afternoon.
Danny Lamb’s faultless display with the boot took the total to 89 points and the referee blew for full time.
The 89 points scored by Duns was the highest score in any away match by the club. The previous highest away league score was the 70-3 win at Drumpellier in 1993, and the previous highest in all away matches was a 78-6 cup win at Moray House in 2003.
Penicuik now have the unenviable record of providing Duns with both their highest home and away scores, following the 104-3 home win last season.
The Duns team was: David Hutchison; Stephen Cooke, Kevin Aitchison, Colin Tait and Marco Crolla; Ged Lamb and Danny Lamb; Scott McCraw, Allen Whellans, Barry Hamilton, James Thorburn, James Weir, Jamie Renton (captain), Richard Burns and Chris Blaikie. The replacements were Chris Archer, Cammy Hill, Dane Ivison and an ill club captain Dale Robertson, who made a 10-minute cameo appearance at the end of the match.
Saturday’s decisive fixture should provide a great game - please come along to support the team.