Duns 15-30 St Boswells

Duns full-back Euan Reed gets a tackle in to thwart another St Boswells attack.
Duns full-back Euan Reed gets a tackle in to thwart another St Boswells attack.

Despite losing, Duns put in a gritty and determined performance against the league leaders who are unbeaten in nearly 60 matches over three seasons.

The fixture was the first ever double-header played by Duns, and so as well as being the BT Borders Shield final it also counted as a league match in BT East Regional League Division 1.

Duns started brightly against their bigger and more kenspeckled opponents, and took the lead after five minutes when Dale Robertson kicked a penalty goal. This was cancelled out a few minutes later when McCracken replied for St Boswells.

St Boswells showed a willingness to run the ball whenever possible, and after Duns had been penalised three times in quick succession the ball was swiftly moved to the left wing where a two on one overlap allowed Parker to cross in the corner for an unconverted try.

The same player scored a fine individual try only three minutes later after a powerful solo run up the left wing, and after crossing the line he came in behind the posts to make McCracken’s conversion a formality.

At this stage it was 15-3 to the visitors, and another score may have seen the Duns heads go down. However, the home side had other ideas and came straight back at St Boswells. Duns were awarded a penalty and decided to kick to touch in the left corner - from the lineout Danny Lamb took the ball through the visitors defenders, some of them twice his size, and went over for an excellent score.

St Boswells kicked a second penalty on the stroke of half time to turn round 18-8 to the good, but at this stage it was still all to play for.

The big St Boswells pack held the upper hand at the set piece, and eventually this was rewarded with a try when Baillie drove over from close range to make in 23-8.

Duns were committing too many penalties, and yellow cards were shown to first Angus Tullie, and then Josh Herbert, at different times in the second half.

If Duns were up against it with 15 men, the task was made all the harder by having to play half of the second period with only 14.

St Boswells scored their fourth try, bringing them a bonus point for the league fixture, when from a scrum in the centre of the field a simple overlap on the left allowed Bouglas in for try number four. An excellent kick from the touchline made it 30-8.

Duns dug deep and bossed the final quarter of an hour. They were rewarded with a try when Michael Thomson made a break up the left wing, and quick ruck ball saw Lewis Craik speed clear up the left wing to score in the corner. Dale Robertson’s conversion left the final score at 30-15 to the visitors.

The five league points secured by St Boswells takes them to the top of East League 1 and by winning the Border Shield they have earned an away tie in the national semi-final at Carrick RFC, who are based in Maybole in Ayrshire.

Duns: Euan Reed; Callum Redden, Lewis Craik, Stuart Thomson and David Hutchison; Dale Robertson (captain) and Danny Lamb; Gordon Harkins, Richard Hume, James Murphy, Gavin Tait, Angus Tullie, Michael Thomson, Bert Grigg and Allen Whellans. Replacements: Richard Burns, Cammy Hill, Dougie Turnbull and Josh Herbert.