Duns maintained their unbeaten start to the season in Tennent’s East League 1 with a resounding 12-try win over Portobello at Castle Park, reports Derek Simpson.
The home side took the lead in the first minute and never looked back against their visitors, who arrived with the bare minimum of 15 players.
Portobello kicked off and, after a good break by Danny Lamb, an offload in the tackle to Ewan Fleming saw the stand-off go over for the first try of the day. Dale Robertson converted, the first of eight successful conversions in the game for the veteran full back.
A Duns chip into the corner gave the visitors a lineout 10 metres out but Duns took the ball against the throw and Ollie Smith crashed over from close range.
With just over 10 minutes gone, great hands and good support by the Duns backs resulted in Dale Robertson going over for try number three. He came right round behind the posts to make the conversion a formality, then promptly missed it.
The bonus point try was registered with barely 15 minutes gone. A deft chip ahead by Dale Robertson was gathered by Keiran Wilkinson, who went over to score, and Robertson’s conversion made it 26-0.
Potobello rallied at this point and it was to their credit that their heads never dropped throughout the match, despite the red and black waves which threatened to engulf them.
They scored their first try after a good period of possession and ball retention but, shortly afterwards, they lost their outside centre, leaving them with only 14 players for the rest of the match.
Duns had the final say of the first half when Josh Herbert scored from a scrum 5. The scrum wheeled to the left, taking the Portobello back row out of the game, and the big number 8 picked up and dived over almost unopposed for his 20th try for the Firsts. The simple conversion made it 33-7 to Duns at the break.
Josh Herbert scored his second try shortly after the resumption, this time running in from 25 metres to score between the sticks.
Great work by Scott Millar, where he stripped his opponent of the ball in the tackle, set the Duns backs off and running and Mark Alexander had the pace to go outside the Portobello right wing and score close to the corner. Robertson kicked a good conversion.
Next to score was David Hutchison, again up the left wing. A feint to the inside and a step off his right foot,took him round his opposite number and over close to the corner. Another good conversion took the lead to 54-7.
At this stage, it was all Duns, and the home side was scoring tries almost at will.
Duns disrupted a Portobello scrum and, when the ball skewed out the side, it was pounced on by the back row.
A couple of phases later, Mark Alexander crossed for his second of the game, too wide out for the attempted conversion.
Portobello showed when they could win some possession they were still a threat, and after a good passing movement they scored wide on the right. A good kick brought the deficit back to 59-14.
Jack Clayworth then got in on the act when he scored his first try for Duns. He took a pass just inside the Portobello 22 with hardly any room to work in but, with an almost balletic foot movement up the touchline, he managed to avoid stepping on the whitewash and touched down in the corner.
Portobello came straight back down the park to score their third try with only five minutes remaining. The closing minutes saw the Duns stand off Ewan Fleming score two further tries, to complete his hat-trick on the day.
After the penultimate try was scored, the referee indicated the kick-off would be the final play of the game.
With the ball safely taken by the pack, Ewan Fleming set off on one of his typically mazy runs up the park to score possibly the best try of the day from 45 metres – and he drop-kicked the conversion himself.