Battling draw, but this was a case of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s Show’


By The Newsroom
Thursday, 14th April 2011, 9:21 am


By Derek Simpson

Duns RFC travelled to Edinburgh on Saturday for their penultimate league fixture of the season, and came away with a well-earned draw in an entertaining match which could have gone either way right to the very end.

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This was the first league match for five weeks and having won the league title in their previous fixture at home to Trinity there was always going to be a touch of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s Show’ about the contest, and so it proved.

The game was switched to Liberton RFC’s ground at Double Hedges Road due to the ongoing works at Lismore’s Inch Park ground, which have meant that they have had no truly home fixtures this season. One suspects that the Lismore treasurer is bald by now.

The away fixture against Lismore was originally scheduled for December 11, but was postponed due to snow and frost whilst the country was in the grip of an Arctic winter. The contrast on Saturday was huge, with the match played in sweltering conditions throughout.

There is a rumour that all shops in Duns had sold out of cotton wool in the days leading up to the fixture, as the more senior players at the club were wrapped in the stuff to ensure their fitness for the Bowl final at Murrayfield. Only six of the side which started the semi-final at home to Lenzie the previous week took to the field against Lismore, but their replacements acquitted themselves very well.

All of the scoring in the first half came from the boots of the two stand offs. Lismore took a six point lead with two penalties in the opening quarter, before David Andrew pegged them back with a penalty for Duns on 21 minutes. The lead was again extended to six points with another penalty but two more successful kicks at goal by Andrew in the closing 10 minutes of the half meant that it was 9-9 at the break.

The third quarter of the match was pointless (in the sense that no points were scored - everybody was trying their hardest!), but there was a flurry of try-scoring activity in the closing minutes.

Lismore scored the game’s opening try with 25 minutes of the second half gone, but the conversion was missed. Duns finally strung a series of passes together and scored a super try by Ryan Selkirk only a couple of minutes later, and the conversion by David Andrew gave the visitors the lead for the first time.

Almost immediately from the kick off Duns marched straight back up the field and scored again. The try-scorer was once again Ryan Selkirk, the young New Zealander being in a tremendous vein of form at the moment with five tries in the last two matches. A missed conversion left Duns ahead by seven points.

Not to be outdone, Lismore kicked off and scored within two minutes. From a scrum just inside the Duns half their number 8 evaded the visitors’ back row’s attempted tackles and mage huge inroads up the park, and two phases later the home side had scored under the bar. A simple conversion tied the scores.

The referee then brought proceedings to an early halt - he seemed to be faring worse than the players in the debilitating heat - and an honourable draw was declared.

No-one from Duns suffered any injury in the match which might affect his chances of playing at Murrayfield on Saturday, which was more important than the result, but the fact that the match was not lost will keep the momentum rolling into the big game against Strathendrick.

The Duns team was: David Hutchison; Stephen Cooke, Kevin Aitchison, Daniel Seed and Ryan Selkirk; David Andrew and Ben Black; Scott McCraw, Cammy Hill, Johnnie Thorburn, James Weir (captain), Stuart Blyth, Martin Aitchison, Richard Burns and Dane Ivison. The replacements, all of whom played their part, were James Thorburn, Scott Turnbull, Michael Burns, Andrew French and Stewart Calder. Dane Ivison is now the only Duns player to have featured in all 23 matches this season.