Saturday’s game against Edinburgh will live long in the memory of Josh Atkin.
Not only did he make his debut for the senior 1st xv, he also bagged four tries into the bargain.
Conditions were a little damp and got colder as the afternoon wore on but Berwick were determined to keep the spectators warm.
They started on the attack and after a few minutes Atkin got his first for the day. It came from a Berwick line out which was driven on and then when the maul was brought to earth a quick ruck ball out found Atkin running a good direct line to break the tackle to touch down near the posts. Gareth Hill’s conversion gave the Blacks an early lead of 7-0.
Northern had a point to prove as earlier in the season the Blacks had put in excess of 100 points past them. But they only threatened in patches and Berwick extended their lead when Jamie Pick cut inside and went round the long way to evade the defence. Hill added the conversion to make it 14-0.
Edinburgh were back on the attack and put together a better period of pressure only to fall to a sucker try from Hill. A simple conversion followed from Hill to make the score 21-0 after as many minutes.
Edinburgh fought back straight away with a well worked try of their own to give them just reward for their play. The conversion was missed but the score was 21-5.
The quality of the game started to break down with numerous petty infringements being given by the referee. This was coupled from some ineffective aimless kicks from both sides. One such aimless kick from Edinburgh came back to bite them. The ball was collected by Hill inside his own half and he set off on a mazy run. When he ran out of space he passed the ball to Pick who continued the run before kicking ahead. The ball stopped just short of the try line and a scrum was awarded. The scrum was won and the ball was passed out to Atkin who again ran a good angle to break the defence and touch down under the posts. Hill added the easy conversion and Berwick were 28-5 up.
Berwick turned the screw in the run up to half time and Ali Grieve scored a fine try.
The conversion was missed but Berwick finished the half leading 33-5.
Straight from the restart Berwick extended the lead further through Michael Brennan. The conversion was missed, but the Blacks were in front 38-5.
The temperature started to drop and the game became scrappy again. Some glaring dropped balls stopped the scoring until Captain Gareth Black added a try. From a scrum on the far side of the pitch the ball was recycled with Black charging over from a short distance to score. Hill converted 45-5.
Atkin then completed his hat trick after Hill made a great break before placing a perfect chip which took a kindly bounce for the chasing Atkin to gather and flop over the line. With the conversion Berwick had a flattering score line of 52-5.
There was still 20 minutes to go but the game deteriorated in quality. Ali Grieve found himself in the sin bin as a result of cumulative penalties awarded against the Scremerston side.
The game lost its shape and interest until an interception try from Atkin brought some warmth back to the Black’s supporters. James Patterson added the conversion to make the score 59-5.
Edinburgh continued to play and gained a well-deserved try near the end after some good mauling work from the forwards allowed Wilson Craig to split off and burst over for a try.