Leith 5-69 Berwick

Berwick scrap for possession at Leith.
Berwick scrap for possession at Leith.

The torrential downpour before kick-off failed to put a dampener on Berwick’s performance as they comfortably claimed promotion back to RBS East 1 on Saturday.

The underfoot conditions were boggy in places but the level of handling skills displayed by Berwick shone through to secure the victory.

From the kick off Berwick won a line-out and drove through the forwards with James Patterson emerging from the bottom of the pile. Gareth Hill missed the conversion but the Blacks’ were in front in the first minute.

The pitch tarted to cut up almost immediately and the Leith winger used his size to punch through the defence to score out wide. The conversion was missed but the scores were level.

A game of aerial ping pong developed as both teams struggled to cope with the wet conditions. But Berwick regained the lead after 13 minutes whenHill joined the line from full back to provide the extra man breaking through to score. He was able to add the conversion and Berwick had the lead again 5-12.

Straight from kick off prop Tom Jackson made a run which Grieve continued before good handling from Josh Atkins kept the move alive. Hill then played a one-two with Michael Brennan before breaking free to score. By adding the conversion Berwick found themselves 5-19 in front.

Berwick secured the try scoring bonus point before the half hour mark and Atkins provided it after good work by Hill and Brennan. The conversion was missed but Berwick were looking comfortable at 5-24.

The pitch was becoming a mud bath and flowing rugby was in short supply until just before half time when Berwick delivered two sucker punches. The first was provided by captain Gareth Black when he finished off a series of forward drives to power over from three metres. Leith then had their hooker sent off and the extra man counted immediately as the ball was spread wide where excellent Berwick hands gave Brennan the space to touch down. Both tries went unconverted but the half ended with Berwick dominating 5-34.

Berwick continued to dominate and scored a push over try through Ali Grieve soon after the restart. It took them two attempts but Grieve managed to score and Hill converted- 5-41. Leith then contributed to their own downfall when an attempted clearance kick on their own 22 went backwards allowing Grieve to leap the highest to claim the ball metres form the line. Having caught the ball he just needed to fall over and with an outstretched hand he got the ball down. Hill had been having some trouble from the tee and so tried a drop goal which went sailing through the posts for the conversion – 5-48 with ten minutes on the clock for the second half.

The weather took a chilly turn as sleet started to come down and again the quality of play dropped. Berwick got the scoreboard moving again through a great number 8 pick up and run from Grieve who used his pace and power to score. Hill converted – 5-55.

Not surprisingly, Leith started to look demoralised and the Berwick forwards used their superior fitness to make some explosive bursts through the midfield. One of these attacks gave Berwick another 5m scrum which Grieve duly picked up and ran over for the score. Hill’s conversion stretched the lead to 5-62. Berwick’s next scorer was Geoff Logan who timed his run to perfection collecting the ball at full pace as he hit the gain line to touch down under the posts. With the conversion added the scoring was complete at 5-69.