Preston Lodge 41, Berwick 12
The Blacks recommenced league action travelling away to Preston Lodge. Unfortunately the Penny Pit pitch was unplayable and the match was switched to Meadowmill Sports Complex. Berwick knew they would have to raise their game as Preston Lodge are sitting second top in RBS East League 1.
In the first 10 minutes of the game, the match was very even with some good Berwick defence causing Preston Lodge mistakes. Unfortunately Berwick didn’t capitalize on these opportunities, and 15 minutes into the game from a set piece Berwick allowed PL’s stand off to burst through for the first try of the game, which the full back duly converted.
Soon after the restart, after a PL knock on Berwick were penalized at the scrum despite dominating it. The referee awarded the penalty against the Berwick prop Gareth Clark for allegedly boring into his opposite number. The PL full back stepped up and converted another three points making the score 10-0.
PL continued to pressurize the Berwick defence, with only some good tackling by Mark Laidlaw in the backs and David Gilchrist, Aaron Hall & Alex Frost in the back row, preventing them gaining ground. After 25 minutes poor defence in the number 10 channel saw the very strong PL standoff, break through for his second try of the game, which was duly converted by the full back making the score 17-0.
As Berwick were looking to get into the game, Hall put in a tremendous tackle winning the ball in the process. The Blacks then started driving the ball up the middle of the field, with some good drives from hooker Gareth Black, Jamie Young & Geoff Logan, before the referee awarded a scrum to PL. From the scrum PL gained possession and scored a try, again duly converted making the score 24-0. The first half ended and Berwick were left with a mountain to climb.
The second half started with PL again on the front foot but with Berwick defending stoutly through Laidlaw, Frost, Clark & Young PL were often frustrated. These frustrations lead PL giving away numerous penalties and after some foul play their second row was yellow carded.
Berwick were on the front foot now and penalty count against the home side increased. One of the penalties was taken quickly by scrum half James Patterson who dived over for the Black’s first try, but unfortunately Gareth Hill missed the difficult conversion. This made the score 24-5.
From the kick off, Berwick continued to pressurize PL with some good pressure in scrums and line outs. Berwick were starting to make real inroads into PL territory. This continued pressure lead to even more penalties from PL. Eventually the referee had no other choice but to reach for the yellow card again with another PL player heading for the sin bin.
Berwick continued to build the pressure and after 67 minutes James Patterson was able to double his try count as he made the break to score his second try. With Hill adding the conversion the gap closed to 24 - 12. At this stage of the game Berwick looked if they had taken control of the game. However the chance of a glorious fight back was sniffed out when from a driving maul, against the run of play, PL managed to go over for another try, with the conversion missed. This made the score 29-12.
The Black’s started to chase the game but with the emphasis on attack gaps started to appear in their defences. This allowed PL to add a further two tries and one conversion making the final score 41-12.