Hawick Harlequins 44
Duns surrendered their unbeaten record as Harlequins ran riot at Wilton Lodge Park to win at a canter.
It was the Berwickshire team’s second visit to Hawick this season, for the fifth round of matches in Tennent’s East League Division 1.
Hopes were high that, after bonus point wins in their opening four league matches, Duns could register an away win against one of their ‘bogey’ teams.
Those hopes were dashed very early in the contest as Quins swept into a 14-0 lead after less than 10 minutes.
Despite the very one-sided scoreline, the first half was very evenly contested. But, after the break, it was one-way traffic, as the effort of making tackle after tackle took its toll on the visitors. They lost the services of Keiran Wilkinson, Ollie Smith and Josh Herbert during the match.
Quins scored their first try from an interception wide on the Duns right. Their left wing almost made it to the line but he was brought down by a superb tackle from Ewan Fleming – best player for Duns on the day – five metres short. The first player up in support was from Quins and he took a popped pass to score a converted try.
Less than five minutes later, Quins doubled their lead. They had a scrum 20 metres out and, following a missed tackle by Duns, their big number 8 had the easiest of runs to the line for try number two.
Duns at last began to win some possession and carried the ball well in the forwards, led by Josh Herbert and James Murphy. Time and again, they made hard yards up the middle of the park.
Too often, however, Duns were stripped of the ball in the tackle or knocked on in close contact, and Quins were able to clear the danger.
Quins kicked a penalty to go 17-0 up, and at about the same time Keiran Wilkinson was forced off with a back injury.
Despite enjoying parity in possession for the remainder of the half, Duns could not threaten the Quins line. The home side scored their third try just before the break when they disrupted a Duns scrum – the ball was hooked by Duns but squirted out the side and Quins simply had to pick up and score to make it 24-0 at the break.
As the effort of making tackle after tackle began to take its toll on the Duns bodies, Quins’ dominance grew in the second half.
Duns defended resolutely – they had to, as Hawick mounted wave after wave of attack – but the pressure was converted into points as the home side extended their advantage at regular intervals. They scored three further tries, plus a conversion and a penalty, to complete the rout, as Duns were held to nil for the first time in 56 league matches.
The defeat pushed Duns from the top of the league table to fourth, as Linlithgow and Haddington also won. Duns face Broughton at Castle Park on Saturday. at 3pm.