Duns locked horns with Berwick in their first local derby of the season, as the clubs faced each other in the latest round of matches in Tennent’s East League Division 1.
Berwick were looking to maintain their unbeaten start to the season, and their push for promotion to the National Leagues, while Duns sought to rebound from an agonising loss away to Hawick Harlequins by a solitary point in their previous match.
Berwick enjoyed all the early pressure, going through the phases and retaining the ball very well. They were rewarded with a penalty after eight minutes, which was slotted by Andrew Skeen.
Duns then came into proceedings and, after patiently working the ball up the park through the forwards, skipper Bert Grigg went over for the game’s opening try on 14 minutes. Dale Robertson converted.
Almost immediately, Duns increased their lead. John Walker picked up and went over unopposed on the blind side, too far out for Dale Robertson’s conversion. Less that quarter of the match had passed and Duns lead by 12-3.
Undeterred by those early setbacks, Berwick came straight back at their hosts. The were awarded a penalty, which was kicked to the corner, and safely secured their own lineout put-in. The maul was sacked by Duns but the ball was zipped along the visitors’ threequarter line to Gareth Hill on the right wing and he exploited the overlap to score an unconverted try in the corner.
Half time arrived with both teams trying to move the ball wherever possible and Duns held a slender advantage at 12-8.
Duns kicked off in the second half and were immediately on the offensive. A chip ahead by the home side was regathered close to the line and Duns were awarded a scrum only five metres out. Possession was secured and, a couple of phases later, Danny Lamb darted round the side of the ruck to score his side’s third try. Again, Dale Robertson converted.
The home side now had their tails up and were looking for the score which may have taken the game away from Berwick. However, the ball was spilled in midfield and regathered by the visitors who, almost in an instant, took the play 50 metres up the park. Ryan Wilson dived over from close range to score. Andrew Skeen kicked the goal to narrow the deficit to 19-15.
The topsy-tuvy nature of the game continued when Duns were next to score. Nathan Melrose went over by the posts for his side’s bonus point try. Dale Robertson again converted and Duns led 26-15.
Straight from the restart, Berwick narrowed the gap again as Euan Thomson crashed over at the flag. Andrew Skeen kicked a beauty of a conversion from the touchline into the wind.
With the clock running down, Berwick had complete control of the game.
Keiran Wilkinson, though, went for an interception, getting one hand to the ball and being yellow-carded for a delibrate knock-on.
Berwick tapped the penalty amd their burly tight-head Tom Jackson ploughed his way over from close range to win the match on full-time.