Overnight frost left Castle Park doubtful until minutes before kick-off, however an inspection by the captains declared the ground playable and the players and supporters did not require to move to the stand-by pitch at the Hardens which had been prepared for play as a precaution.
Portobello kicked off in bright sunshine. Both teams showed their rustiness, with early mistakes, until Robert Grigg made an upfield break, however lack of immediate support resulted in Portobello clearing their lines. A scrappy period of play followed, with numerous penalties against both sides.
Portobello missed the first shot at goal before Duns started to take control. Possession from a lineout in the visitors 22 resulted in the forwards producing a handling move on the blind side and Cammy Hill touched down in the corner.
Immediately from the restart Duns conceded a penalty as players were caught offside, and Portobello scored their only points of the afternoon. Duns dominated play for a time, and when they were held up under the posts Dale Robertson slotted the resultant penalty. At this stage, with 24 minutes gone, Duns led 8-3 and were looking like the stronger team.
However, Portobello rallied well and dominated the rest of the half. A series of lineouts and scrums in the Duns 22 were defended stoutly, however the home side were conceding far too many penalties.
As half time approached Duns remained under pressure and the number of penalties increased. The half ended with a yellow card against Scot Maceachen as the team desperately defended their line and held out until the whistle.
Half time came at the right time for Duns and the 14 men started the second half very strongly. Good pressure on the Portobello line saw the ball moved left to prop Andrew Connor, who stepped inside his man to score. Dale Robertson converted.
Play became very scrappy and the penalty count continued to mount. The referee, Mr Heard, had to take action and a stern lecture to both captains had the desired effect.
Portobello had the best of the next period of play, and worked their way into the Duns 22 to earn a lineout on the Duns five metre line. However, they turned the ball over, and a fine break by John Walker took play deep into the opposition half. Duns kept the pressure on, and after a series of rucks Ewan Fleming crossed for the try and Duns led 20-3.
Duns were now looking for the bonus point, and continued to dominate possession. However, they were up against stout Portobello defence and the game ended with Duns attacking the line but unable to convert as Portobello stopped the final drive on the five metre line.
Duns: Hayden Martin; Scot Maceachen, Colin Tait, Dale Robertson and Callum Redden; Ewan Fleming and Danny Lamb; Scott McCraw, Cammy Hill, Barry Hamilton, Gavin Tait, Steven Markby, Bert Grigg, Richard Hume and John Walker. The replacements were Andrew Connor, Scott Turnbull, Euan Reed and Andrew Baxter.