After an absence of almost exactly 20 years, the New Year fixture between Duns and Berwick was resurrected as the sides met at Castle Park.
After a very close first half, Duns pulled clear of their visitors for a comfortable win.
Berwick sent a very youthful side, resting many of their first XV regulars, while Duns mustered a large squad of players who all spent some time on the park during the game.
Berwick took the game to Duns from the first whistle and showed a real willingness to run the ball at every opportunity.
Duns were confined to defensive duties for the opening 10 minutes before they could establish a foothold in the match.
The home side took the lead when a deft chip through the Berwick defensive line was gathered by Ollie Smith. The burly second row wasn’t going to be stopped from five metres and he crashed over for the game’s opening try, which Dale Robertson converted.
Duns had chances to extend their lead before the interval but squandered them all and, just before half time, Berwick tied the scores with a well-worked try in the right corner. A good conversion tied the scores and, at the break, it was 7-7.
The home side rung the changes at the interval, with several alterations in personnel, and two of the new boys combined to create the second try.
Josh Herbert broke through the Berwick defensive line and made good ground before being hauled down only a handful of metres short of the line. At the ruck, the ball was quickly recycled and James Murphy, as acting scrum half, picked it up and went over. Again, Dale Robertson converted.
It wasn’t long before Duns scored again. From a lineout 10 metres out, a secure catch and drive saw the home side only a metre or so from the try line, from where the ubiquitous James Murphy peeled off and dived over for his second score of the game. Once more, Dale Robertson converted.
Berwick then mounted something of a comeback, and, for the middle period of the half, they enjoyed much more possession. They had an overlap on the right, just inside the Duns 22, but what may have been a scoring pass was intercepted by Ewan Fleming and the speedy centre took off up the left touchline to score the fourth Duns try, which Dale Robertson converted.
The result was now settled but Duns wanted more. By this stage, they were pulverising the Berwick scrum, although slack handling meant too many attacks broke down. Duns did eventually add to their points tally when Michael Thomson powered over in the corner.
The final score of the day came from Danny Lamb.
Duns won a scrum on the Berwick 10 metre line, and Dale Robertson took off on a run toward the corner flag.
He almost made it himself, but when he was hauled down Danny Lamb was there in support to take the scoring pass.
Berwick deserved more than their solitary try and continued to play a slick, attacking brand of rugby which has propelled both their Firsts and Seconds to the top of their respective leagues this season.