Duns U16s 62
Preston Lodge U16s 33
Duns Under 16s travelled to Dunbar for the Edinburgh and Borders District U16s Bowl Final and defeated Preston Lodge in a high scoring and entertaining match containing no fewer than 15 tries.
During the warm-up it was apparent that the Preston Lodge players were considerably bigger than the Duns side, but as soon as the match kicked off it was clear that there is no substitute for aggressive defence, attacking flair and a team ethos. When not in possession Duns tackled their socks off, and with the ball in hand they displayed a potent, quicksilver back line which contributed seven of the 10 Duns tries.
Duns took the lead after three minutes. The forwards drove for several phases, before the ball was sent along the back line to Ronan McDougall on the right wing and he sprinted over. Rory Hamilton kicked a good conversion.
The leeway was reduced when PL used the power of their forwards to drive over for an unconverted try.
Next to score for Duns was Duncan Hardie. He slipped through a half-gap in the centre, and with the PL full back posted missing, he galloped over from 40 metres to score between the posts. Almost immediately Duns got number three. Quick ball along the back line reached Liam Shipperlee on the left wing, and he handed off his opposite number and sprinted up the touchline to score in the corner.
Skipper Nathan Melrose was next to score. He broke through a couple of tackles just inside the PL 10 metre line, then set off for the line. The covering defence couldn’t catch him and he touched down for a fine individual score.
The Achilles heel in the Preston Lodge side was out wide, and so Duns spun the ball to the wings as soon as possible. Both Ronan McDougall, on the right, and Liam Shipperlee, on the left, scored their second tries before half time, and with Rory Hamilton converting all bar one Duns had amassed 38 points.
Preston Lodge at no stage gave up and they scored their second try just on the interval, and with a successful conversion it was 38-12 at the break.
The second half was every bit as entertaining as the first. PL were first to score, narrowing the gap to 38-19, before Duns replied quickly through James Postle who picked up and drove over. Rory Hamilton once again converted.
Liam Shipperlee then scored his hat-trick try. He took the ball just inside his own half, beat his marker on the outside, then outsprinted the covering defenders up the touchline to score in the corner. PL were still not done, however, and they scored their fourth try after a series of driving mauls.
Next on the scoresheet was Duncan Sim for Duns. From broken play he first came right, saw that there was nothing on, went back inside, beat a couple of defenders with his mazy stepping and then sprinted clear. PL scored their fifth try down the left wing, despite the referee missing a forward pass.
Perhaps appropriately, the final score went to the Duns captain Nathan Melrose who picked up at the base of a scrum and bounced off a couple of tackles before charging 30 metres to score by the posts. Rory Hamilton’s conversion took the final score to 62-33 for Duns.
Duns Under 16s have have developed from a group of talented individuals to a well-drilled side where the whole is much greater than the sum of the parts thanks to the dedicated coaching of Peter Gallagher, Gordon Sim and Bert Grigg.
Duns: Rory Hamilton; Ronan McDougall, Lewis Hall, Duncan Hardie and Liam Shipperlee; Duncan Sim and Gregor Murray; James Postle, George Smith, Ewan Gosling, Callum Rhind, Ross Ferguson, James Brewis, Nathan Melrose and Mak Wilson. Replacements were Donovan Douglas, Jordon Patterson, Euan Archibald, Bruce Logan, Cameron Rogerson and Cairan McEwan.