By Kirsty Smyth
Duns Amateurs were crowned champions of the Border Amateur A division with a game to spare on Saturday after an emphatic win over rival title contenders Leithen Rovers.
The Dingers put the title beyond Leithen’s reach with a definitive 5-1 result, putting five goals past the capital side in front of a large crowd at Gavinton.
“We’re delighted, myself and everyone connected with the club,” said elated Dingers manager Neil Oliver.
The unbeaten Duns have been front runners from the off. But with closest challengers Leithen Rovers doggedly hanging on to the Dingers coat tails, it took Saturday’s top of the table clash to separate the two sides once and for all.
Duns came out firing on all cylinders and dominated proceedings from start to finish to get their hands on the silverware.
Goals from Derek Chisholm (2), Grant Keenan, Steven Burns and James Robertson ultimately tallied to see off the Rovers, leaving the Leith side incapable of catching the Dingers at the top of the table.
With the capital side learning a hard lesson at Duns, Oliver made three changes with 20 minutes to go, to give everyone the chance to play in the title decider.
A delighted Oliver told the Berwickshire News: “There’s lads in that dressing room that have been with the club for 10 years and never won the league - the likes of Grant Keenan and Steven Burns, they’ve been there quite a while so it’s great for them.”
Saturday’s game also marked a sweet moment for come back kid James Robertson, who returned to the fold this season after being sidelined for months with a cruciate ligament injury. “I’m delighted for James as well - he scored a goal on Saturday and played brilliantly,” Oliver added.
Duns claimed the title after winning all 11 of their home games, only conceding five goals at Gavinton - and playing some fantastic football to boot
And although their 2010/11 campaign has been exciting to the end, the Dingers gaffer says he was quietly confident throughout.
“It’s not a surprise to me,” insisted Oliver. “I said at the start of the season, with the lads I’ve got I’d be disappointed if we didn’t win the league.
“But Leithen Rovers went well too, and it’s taken until the second last game to win it.”
Oliver praised his “fantastic” squad, which is made up of 16 lads from Duns, two from Greenlaw and two from Berwick.
“They’re all local and that’s what it’s all about for me,” Oliver insisted.
“It’s Duns Football Club, it’s Duns lads that are playing and it’s Duns people there watching. They all live local and they’re all connected - they’re all pals off the field and they’re all celebrating together.”
And Oliver believes the title crown will stand the Dingers in good stead for the East of Scotland league, which the club is hoping to join next season.
He explained: “I have to make a presentation at the East of Scotland AGM in June. We need 50 per cent to vote in our favour so I’ve got to convince 11 clubs in the East of Scotland league that we should be there as well. I’ll put the case across but I can’t see why anyone would think it’s a bad thing.
“It has taken a year and a half to get to this point,” he said. “You don’t just decide to apply on a whim - there has to be certain things in place. We’ve put the application in and we’re working towards the SFA quality mark. Everything’s going in the right direction.”
Oliver added: “I think winning the league helps - they can see we’re a good side. I’d be going into that league without needing to search for many players, I might be looking for one or to at the most because I’ve got 15 or 16 lads there that are all capable of playing in the East of Scotland league.”