Duns entertained North Berwick at Castle Park in their last home fixture of 2014, and after holding their visitors to only 18-0 with more than an hour gone they conceded four tries in the closing quarter of the contest to leave the final score at a somewhat flattering 44-0.
Duns had all the possession and territory in the opening 10 minutes, as the visitors struggled to cope with the referee’s interpretation of the breakdown and conceded penalty after penalty. None was close enough for a shot at goal by Duns, so there were no chances to put points on the board.
North Berwick eventually settled, and came more into the match. They kicked a penalty after 13 minutes, and a second after 17 minutes, to take a 6-0 lead.
Half an hour had elapsed before the first try was scored. Duns coughed up possession just inside their own half, and North Berwick were swift to counter attack. Their outside centre drew the Duns right wing in to tackle him, but a well-timed pass set his supporting winger loose for a sprint up the touchline and a try in the corner. An excellent conversion from a wide angle made it 13-0, and there was no further scoring until the interval.
Duns had the advantage of the wind after the break, and it was important that they score first if they were to haul themselves back into contention. Sadly for them, it took North Berwick only three minutes to register their first try of the half when a missed tackle in the centre allowed them to cross from close range.
The match then entered a fairly fractious period, with mistakes being made and penalties being conceded. The North Berwick captain was sin-binned during this period, and midway through his 10 minutes absence Richard Hume, and then Lewis Craik, were also sent to the naughty step. When the North Berwick captain re-took the field his side had 15 against only 13 from Duns but the home side kept their line intact during this period.
With the match entering it’s final quarter North Berwick seemed to up their game and they took complete control of proceedings. Their speed of both thought and deed was better than Duns’ and their handling in the tricky conditions was superior, too. They ran in four tries in this period, three of which were converted, to emerge as convincing winners.
The day got worse for Duns when news emerged that both Hawick Harlequins and Hawick Linden had won, and they both leapfrog Duns in the table as a result. Only Portobello and Langholm are now below Duns in East 1, both of whom have to visit Castle Park in the New Year, and victories in both of those matches will be vital if Duns are to retain their East 1 status for next season.
Duns: Hayden Martin; Euan Reed, Chip Brailsford, Kevin Aitchison, Callum Redden; Ewan Fleming, Danny Lamb; Scott McCraw, Richard Hume, Douglas Turnbull, Steven Markby, Scott Turnbull, Lewis Craik, Bert Grigg, Graham Letham. Replacements - Stewart Calder, Cammy Hill, Jamie Renton.