Duns Colts 31, Berwick Colts 28: DUNS Colts entertained Berwick Colts in the Scottish Borders Semi-Junior League at Berwickshire High School, and came out on top in an entertaining match which saw nine tries and plenty endeavour from both sides.
Duns had not won since the opening day of the season, while Berwick were still looking for their first win, so both teams were desperate to register a victory which would elevate them up the league table.
On a perfect day for a game of rugby, Duns kicked off and took the game straight to their visitors. Aggressive play turned over Berwick possession on the visitors 22 and a couple of phases later Lewis Craik barged over for the opening try, although there was the hint of a knock on as he went over.
Berwick re-grouped, and from a penalty which was kicked to touch around 10 metres out they won the lineout and marched the maul over the Duns line for their first try. The successful conversion gave them the lead for the only time in the match.
Barely two minutes later Duns had regained the lead. Iain Sim took a pass at top speed, shrugged off two would-be tacklers and sprinted clear to score between the posts. Dom Ginn kicked the conversion.
With 10 minutes of the half remaining Lewis Craik scored his second after a fine solo run. He took the ball on the Berwick 22 and first dummied to pass outside, then sidestepped inside the full back, before finally shaking off a cover tackler for an excellent individual score. Dom Ginn again converted.
On the stroke of half time Berwick narrowed the gap with their second try. From another penalty conceded by Duns - one of a huge number conceded by the home side which eventually lead to two yellow cards for Duns forwards - Berwick elected to kick to touch. The lineout catch and drive to the line had an air of inevitability to it, but nevertheless Duns were unable to stop it. There was a huge knock on as the try scorer tried to touch the ball down - seen by everyone but the referee - but the score stood, and it was 19 - 14 at the break.
Duns scored twice in the third quarter of the match to lead by 31 - 14, and had the game seemingly sewn up. Don Ginn scored his first try of the season after a lengthy period of Duns pressure, which he converted himself, then Iain Sim made a line break and sprinted half the length of the park to score in the corner.
Berwick enjoyed their best spell of the match in the closing 15 minutes or so, as Duns conceded penalty after penalty in an effort to keep them at bay. The visitors full back made good yards up the touchline from every penalty awarded to his side, and then the Berwick lineout took over with their ‘up the jumper’ tactics. It’s not pretty to watch, but one can’t deny that it’s effective as Berwick scored one, then another try from positions identical to their first two. Both tries were converted to narrow the deficit to 31 - 28.
The referee blew for no-side as the final Berwick conversion went over, much to the relief of the large Duns support gathered on the touchline, who collectively felt that if the game had gone on 5 minutes longer the visitors were probably going to score again.