After defeats in their opening two league matches, Duns returned to winning ways with a morale-boosting bonus point win at home to North Berwick on Saturday.
The 11th hour call-off of scrum half Danny Lamb, who had not recovered sufficiently from an injury sustained the previous weekend, and the absence of many other backs due to personal commitments, meant that behind the scrum there were many changes from the Livingston match seven days previously. Most notable of these was the half back pairing, where auld heid Jamie Renton stepped in at scrum half and captain Dale Robertson moved up from full back to stand off. There were also places on the bench for two of last season’s Colts side, as Lewis Hughes and Nathan Chisholm both got their first taste of First XV rugby.
North Berwick played down the slope in the first half, and missed an opportunity to take the lead when they missed a penalty on 8 minutes. The home side scored after a quarter of an hour when Jamie Renton’s pass found Andrew Baxter on the wing and he crossed in the corner too far out for Dale Robertson’s attempted conversion.
As half time approached Duns scored again. Chris Blaikie went over in the corner, and this time Robertson’s conversion attempt found it’s mark. The home side held a 12-0 advantage at the break.
Playing down the slope in the second half, Duns wasted no time in notching their third try. Scott Lindsay went over for another score in the corner, giving Dale Robertson more conversion practice from wide out, but his aim was straight and true.
Five minutes later Duns scored their bonus point try. Neil Graham was the beneficiary after the ball had been through many phases of play, and although the conversion was missed Duns had doubled their half time advantage to 24-0.
North Berwick came more into the match, and were rewarded for their persistence with their first try of the match with a quarter of an hour remaining. The come-back was to be short-lived, however, and Scott Lindsay put an end to any hope of a comeback when he intercepted a North Berwick pass and went over for Duns’ fifth, and his second, try of the match.
A second try by North Berwick in the closing minutes left the final score at 29-10 to Duns, and at last some movement up the league table.
This weekend sees the first of three local derbies against Berwick this season. The match is a 3pm kick off at Scremerston, and the club would like to see as many supporters as possible make the short trip to cheer the team on.
Duns: Neil Graham; Andrew Baxter, Colin Tait, Scott Lindsay and David Hutchison; Dale Robertson (captain) and Jamie Renton; Allen Whellans, Cammy Hill, Scott McCraw, James Thorburn, Stewart Cockburn, Chris Williamson, Chris Blaikie and Dane Ivison. The replacements were Andrew Connor, James Weir, Lewis Hughes and Nathan Chisholm.
Duns Colts took the long and winding road to Dumfriesshire on Saturday to take on Langholm Colts in the opening fixture of the season in the Scottish Borders Semi-Junior League.
The referee was unhappy with the condition of the reserve pitch, and gave instructions that the match should be moved to the First XV pitch at Milntown.
The wide open spaces of the big park undoubtedly suited Duns, who got the ball to the wings whenever possible.
It took the visitors a while to settle, particularly at the set piece where Langholm had some huge forwards. However, once they got into their stride Duns took control of the match and had scored four unconverted tries by half time to lead 20-0.
In the forwards, the back row of Lewis Craik, Steven Markby and Scott MacEachen were all excellent, and hooker Patrick Watson lead the team by example.
In the backs, the centre pairing of Steven Patterson and Iain Sim were hard and straight runners, but all 21 in the squad played their part in a fine all-round team performance.
Scott MacEachen opened the scoring after only 6 minutes, and he added his second after half an hour.
Between these, Iain Sim scored the first of his hat-trick and just before half time full back Ewan Fleming scored after a flowing backs move.
Because all four tries were scored in the corners all four conversions drifted wide into the strong breeze.
After half time the wind seemed to drop, but there was no let-up in the tempo of the match. As Duns shifted the ball at every opportunity the big Langholm pack tired and the try scoring resumed. Steven Patterson scored between the posts, converted by Dom Ginn, to put the match out of sight at 27-0, and Duns then began to ring the changes as their bench were all given an opportunity for some game time.
Tries six and seven were both scored by Iain Sim, the first converted by Dom Ginn and the second converted excellently from the touchline by Lewis Craik.
To their credit, the Langholm squad never gave up and they finished the match the stronger. They were rewarded for their never-say-die attitude with a try in the closing minutes.
This Saturday the Colts entertain Tynedale Colts at the new Berwickshire High School pitches - kick off is at 3pm.
Duns Colts: Ewan Fleming; Rob White, Iain Sim, Steven Patterson and Lloyd Thomas; Dom Ginn and James Thomson; Dylan Renton, Patrick Watson ( captain), Elliot Paxton, Chris Browne, Angus Webster, Lewis Craik, Steven Markby and Scott MacEachen. The replacements were Wesley Hurst, Callum Redden, Andrew Sanderson, Ryan Glennie, Angus Baker and Jack Clayworth.