Edinburgh Northern 6
by Derek Simpson
at the Hardens
Duns entertained Edinburgh Northern at the Hardens on Saturday in the third round of the Regional Bowl and in the end were emphatic winners.
Overnight snow had left the pitch white first thing on Saturday morning, but that turned to rain as the day progressed and had cleared completely by kick off time. The ground, however, was very soft, and contributed to a series of handling errors throughout the match.
Vice captain Jamie Renton was not selected, having been injured the previous week against Trinity, and stand off Ged Lamb did not start after being accidentally kicked in the ankle during the warm-up.
In addition, Allen Whellans was replaced after only 15 minutes with a dislocated shoulder, which popped back into place all by itself, but quite how long he will be out is not yet known.
Captain Dale Robertson opened the scoring after 10 minutes with a simple penalty from in front of the posts. Two minutes later scrum half Danny Lamb barged over from close range, and Robertson’s conversion made it 10-0.
Northern then got onto the scoreboard with a penalty from their stand off Laird - the first points conceded by Duns in a month.
Robertson kicked his second penalty midway through the half, and minutes later David Hutchison scored try number two. A chip ahead seemed to be covered by the retreating Northern defender, but Hutchison’s pace caught him unawares and the two players dived on the loose ball just short of the dead ball line. The referee judged that Hutchison had got the first touch, and awarded the score. Danny Lamb kicked a fine conversion.
Laird kicked his second penalty for the visitors, before Hutchison scored his second try of the afternoon. This time there was no doubt as the winger scampered up the left touchline and rounded the covering defender to touch down
The try also gave the recently-turned-21 Hutchison the record of most tries in a single season for Duns, the speedster scoring 25 times in 19 matches so far this season.
Danny Lamb’s conversion attempt drifted wide, and the referee blew for half time with Duns 25-6 to the good.
Playing down the slope in the second half, Duns were rarely troubled by Edinburgh Northern and although only three more tries were scored the home side were in almost complete control.
Scott Lindsay scored the first, bullocking and barging his way powerfully through several tackles to score close to the posts. Danny Lamb added the conversion.
With an hour of the match gone Kevin Aitchison was next to score, a series of drives by the pack drawing in the defenders and creating an overlap on the right. Dale Robertson added the conversion and he also slotted a penalty five minutes later to take the Duns score over 40.
The final try of the afternoon came from Ryan Selkirk, the young New Zealander finally being rewarded for his many charges at the Edinburgh Northern defensive line. He certainly does not shirk the one on one contest, either defensively or with ball in hand. Dale Robertson had the final word, his conversion rounding off the scoring and taking his personal First XV tally tantalisingly eight short of the 1000 point mark.
Duns now progress to the National Quarter-Finals, the third year in succession that feat has been achieved.
The draw has again given Duns an away tie, but after major trips two years ago and last year to Ross Sutherland and Orkney respectively the draw has been a little kinder this time around. The opponents are not yet known, however, and Duns will eventually travel to play the winners of the postponed match between Glenrothes and Alloa.
Please check on the club website at www.pitchero.com/clubs/Duns for full details in due course.
The Duns team was: Dale Robertson (captain); Ryan Selkirk, Colin Tait, Kevin Aitchison and David Hutchison; Scott Lindsay and Danny Lamb; Scott McCraw, Cammy Hill, Allen Whellans, James Weir, Stuart Blyth, Chris Blaikie, Richard Burns and Dane Ivison. The replacements were Chris Archer, Barry Hamilton, James Thorburn, Stephen Cooke and Marco Crolla.