Dunbar had won the reverse fixture at Hallhill earlier in the season by 66-7, but found it much tougher going this time round as a much improved performance by Duns earned them a losing bonus point.
The visitors kicked off up the Hardens slope on a dreich winter’s day. A constant drizzle fell throughout the match and the pitch was very soft indeed.
An early attack by Duns through Andrew Baxter was carried on by Hayden Martin and Danny Lamb. This lead to a penalty being awarded to the home side, but the attempt was missed by Budge Burns as was a second penalty shot at goal a few minutes later when Dunbar were penalised for going offside.
The Dunbar scrum was dominant at the set piece, but Danny Lamb at scrum half was more than a match for his opposite number.
As the first half drew to a close, a good spell of pressure by the Duns pack lead to the opening score. Danny Lamb harried the Dunbar scrum half, and when the ball was spilled Stewart Calder was on hand to drive over from short range for his first try in the First XV since the Christmas friendly against Earlston in 2008.
The second half began with Duns conceding a string of penalties. A shot at goal was missed, but Dunbar kept up the pressure and were rewarded when their prop - a thorn in Duns’ side all afternoon - went over between the posts. The successful conversion gave Dunbar the lead for the first time in the match.
Duns then enjoyed a period of pressure, leading to a Dunbar player straying into an offside position. Danny Lamb kicked the three points to regain the lead for Duns.
The Dunbar scrummage then began to take control of the match, and Duns were forced onto the defensive. A drive by their pack was held up over the line, but from the scrum five metres out quick ball along the line saw their wing cross for an unconverted try in the corner and the lead had changed hands again.
As time ran out it was once again Duns who were on the attack, looking for the match-winning score. Three points would not be enough, so it was all caution to the wind in search of a try. However, the visitors defence held out and all Duns had to show for their afternoon’s work was a losing bonus point.
The Duns team was: Budge Burns; Ross Turner, Stuart Thomson, Jamie Semple and Andrew Baxter; Hayden Martin and Danny Lamb; Scott McCraw, Allen Whellans (captain), Stewart Calder, Scott Turnbull, John Walker, Robert Grigg, Graham Letham and Colin Tait.
The replacements were Cammy Hill, Nathan Chisholm, Steven Crawford and Craig Renton.
This week Duns travel to play Hawick Linden in the last 2 pm kick off of the season. Please try to get up to Volunteer Park to support the team.