DUNS 22 PORTOBELLO FP 3
Duns entertained old friends Portobello at the Hardens last Saturday in the latest round of matches in RBS East Regional League Division 1, and kick-started their season with a workmanlike victory by 22 points to 3.
There were season debuts for last season’s captain Duncan Budge and loyal servant Jamie Renton, as well as an appearance off the bench by Under 18 internationalist Iain Sim, bringing to an almost unbelievable 39 the number of players to have played for Duns in only 6 league fixtures this season.
Portobello, like Duns, had many missing from last season’s side for a variety of reasons, and sat only one place above their hosts in the league prior to kick off. Duns knew that a bonus point win would lift them off the bottom of the table.
The home side kicked off up the Hardens slope on a cool, breezy afternoon and had all of the early possession.
It was somewhat against the run of play that Portobello took the lead when their stand off Brittee-Steer kicked a penalty after 13 minutes.
Duns replied almost immediately when Stuart Thomson was also successful with a penalty shot at goal.
Duns exerted more and more pressure as the half wore on, but could not find that vital opening in the Portobello defensive line. The closest they came was when Jamie Renton - who had his usual kamikaze match at number 8 - seemed to touch the ball down but the referee was unsighted and he awarded an attacking scrum 5 instead.
The opening score came shortly afterwards, after the ball had been taken through several phases by the forwards. Danny Lamb powered his way through a gap between two defenders and scored by the posts, although the conversion attempt was missed.
Both teams huffed and puffed in the opening quarter of an hour of the second half, but neither could break down their opponents in a match where the defences came out on top.
Duns gradually looked more cohesive as the match wore on, and got the ball to the wings more often rather than ploughing up through the centres as had been the tactic up the slope in the first half.
It became clear that Duns had the edge on Portobello out wide, and from one backs move Lewis MacAndrew was released down the right wing. He beat one man and then cut inside another to score his first try for the club out wide. Danny Lamb kicked an excellent conversion only 5m from the touchline.
Portobello then had a long spell of pressure on the Duns line, but the home defence held firm and the threat was cleared. Soon after, a break by Stuart Thomson saw Iain Sim race clear up the right wing and he had the strength to go over for try number three close to the corner flag. Two 18 year-olds scoring their first senior tries in the same match speaks volumes for the club’s thriving youth section.
Danny Lamb kicked another cracking conversion from the touchline, taking his First XV points tally to 219 - only eight behind big brother Ged.
There were still more than five minutes remaining for Duns to grab that all-important bonus point fourth try, but it was not to be, and so despite their much-needed morale boosting victory Duns remain at the foot of the table.
The Duns team was :- David Hutchison; Lewis MacAndrew, Colin Tait, Noel Hooke and Ross Turner; Stuart Thomson and Danny Lamb; Scott McCraw ( captain ), Cammy Hill, Clayton Rowland, Duncan Budge, Steven Markby, John Walker, Jamie Renton and Steven Crawford. The replacements were Ian Russell, James Thorburn and Iain Sim.
This Saturday Duns make the short trip up the A1 to play Dunbar at Hallhill. Kick off is at 3 pm.