DUNS and Berwick are preparing for the first of three meetings this Saturday, and even though the season is still young, both teams are looking for a much-needed win.
Lawrence Patton’s Berwick team need to shake off a poor start to their season if they are to achieve their stated aim of a top-four finish this time round.
Heavy defeats to Preston Lodge and Linlithglow have left manager Owen Weatherhead struggling to cling on to the positives of the Blacks’ play, and they remain pointless after three games.
Coach Lawrence Patton is more upbeat, stressing that his players have shown what they are capable of, whilst getting used to the departurees of some key players over the summer.
“These boys have played some good stuff, and I know it’s been a hard start to the season, but I can see the quality is there.
“They’re a young squad still, so they are atill learning their trade. It’s just a matter of playing like that for a full 80 minutes.”
Patton’s team has a clean bill of health going into the derby, though he suspects that might not be the case come Saturday evening.
“This is the one that means a lot to the guys, from both sides, the one they look for when the fixtures come out. It won’t be sparkling rugby, it will be hard, and grinding, and whoever wins will be forced to work for it. I’m confident we can get a result if the boys perform like they can.”
And if it was a choice between a great performance and getting points on the board, what would the coach choose?
Patton is emphatic: “Points, definitely. That has to be what it’s all about for us.”
Duns, meanwhile, after a similarly tough start, travel to the coast fresh from a win over North Berwick that brought confidence rushing back, as well as bonus points for their five tries scored.
Captain Scott Lindsay is under no illusions that these early fixtures mark a crucial point in Duns’ progression.
“This is a massive game,” he said, “and after years of struggling to get to this level, where we want to be, we’ve got to go out and earn it. I’m sure we can, with this young squad.
“We’ve got a couple of locks (James Thorburn and Stuart Cockburn) away on holiday, so it might be tough, but I’m sure the lads who step up to fill their places will do the job, and we’ll get a lot of help from all the fans we’ll be taking.”