Six in a row for Duns Grizzlies

Duns Grizzlies with their coaches Neil Ainslie and James Royan.
Duns Grizzlies with their coaches Neil Ainslie and James Royan.

Duns RFC P3 ‘Grizzlies’ won their sixth successive tournament of the season at the Selkirk Rhinos Mini Tournament on Sunday and they are now unbeaten in over 30 games - a record better than England or the All Blacks!

Having been undefeated in the first half of the season, Duns Mini Rugby Primary 3 squad headed to the annual Selkirk RFC tournament with high hopes and they certainly did not disappoint.

With two full squads available the players were split into the Grizzly and Polar Bears and played in opposite pools against teams from every club in the Scottish Borders.

It was the first run out for some of the players of the Polar Bears squad including Hugo Nowak, Alexander Macdonald-Home, Oscar Robson, Cullen McIntosh and Jacob Knighton.

The boys and girl in the team were unlucky not to get score on sheet as they faced tough opposition in the first games against more experienced teams Hawick and Melrose, along with the added challenge of playing on a wet and muddy Selkirk pitch.

The younger bears were improving in every game Cameron Robertson William Stewart and Caleb Davie Carpenter showing great potential.

Despite unrelenting determination from Euan Sim and Niall Dempsey the team were narrowly beaten by Selkirk where Chloe Prentice scored her first try, and a well-deserved draw in their final game against gala with Dempsey getting his name on the score sheet.

Well done to all who took part, gaining some good tournament experience, including the team’s newly qualified coaches Mark Robertson and Craig Prentice.

The Grizzly Bears were drawn to face Kelso, Peebles, Jed-Forest and Selkirk in a strong pool and it was their nearest rivals who they faced first. As it was everyone’s first tournament since Christmas it took a couple of minutes to settle but once they got into their stride the Dingers started to impose themselves on the game. James Megson showed he had not forgotten anything from his earlier displays in the season being prominent throughout. At the final whistle it was four tries to one in Duns favour with tries from Jack Royan (2), Charlie Jeffrey and Andrew Brydon.

Having last met Peebles in the final of the Hawick tournament, Duns knew they were up for a real challenge in their second match. Peebles had some real pace in their ranks but Duns defensive shape stood the test, with Ted Stewart marshalling the team well. Duns eventually ran out five – two winners with tries from Jack Royan (2), Andrew Brydon and Charlie Jeffrey. However, the try of the game came from Ava Scott, who plucked a high pass out of the air, balanced it on her shoulder whilst running flat out, before dotting the ball down in the corner.

Over the next two games against Jed and Selkirk, the Dingers ran in a total of twelve tries, whilst only conceding one in return. Duns triumphed six tries to nil against Jed with the scorers in this game being Liam Joyce, Eoin Angus, Hayden Ainslie, Charlie Jeffrey, Ava Scott and Jack Royan. In their six tries to one victory against Selkirk Hayden Ainslie and Jack Royan both bagged a brace with Andrew Brydon and Eoin Angus scoring one a piece.

It was Hawick that awaited Duns in the final and as both teams eyed each other up, stepping onto the pitch it was clear that this was going to be a highly competitive match. Hawick won the toss and were awarded with an early try as a result of the only lapse in the Duns defence all day. However, the young Duns team did not allow this early setback to affect their composure and they quickly started to assert themselves in the game, despite some robust defence from Hawick. The concentration shown by the Duns players in both attack and defence was the difference between the two teams and speed of thought led to at least three of their five tries. The final score was five tries to Duns with two in response from Hawick. Scorers for Duns were Andrew Brydon (2), Jack Royan (2) and Charlie Jeffrey.

It was a very proud team that stepped up onto the stand to reactive their sixth consecutive trophy of the year and winners medals from Glasgow and Scotland player – Lee Jones.

 The Duns Warriors showed their true grit and determination again in Selkirk. Again, our boys and girl came up against much larger squads and noticeably larger boys. As we have become accustomed to with this team, each player stepped up and took another step forward in their rugby development. Notably Angus Calvert was outstanding again leading from the front for the team to follow. His text book tackling was the best witnessed all day from any team in the tournament. Lauren Scott and Darcy Robson impressed with their growing understanding of the game and our plan to get the ball into space. Max Martin showed several examples of his evasive running skill and pace and John Borthwick and Harrison Roberts showed great courage and tenacity in the tackle situation. The Warrior trophy for effort and progress went to Shaun Renton, who scored an amazing full pitch try and Nicholas Schnider for a great debut to competitive rugby. Coaches and supporters were most impressed with how well the team collectively executed the goals we have been working on at training. Very proud of all our Warriors.  

The P6 teams played their matches on smaller than usual and very muddy pitches which meant which meant all games were low scoring affairs.

They started by playing the hosts Selkirk and despite some good tackling from Ethan Craze and Luke Angus could stop them crossing the line on 3 occasions. Although some great runs in the opposition half by Max Reynolds and Jamie Buchan Duns never quite managed to cross the line.

Next up were Peebles and this was an even contest with Duns cancelling out an early score with great pace put on the ball by M.V.P Fraser Jack who drove through the first line of defence on numerous occasions and on one managed to have Rhys Howey on the outside in space and with pace to burn headed for the corner for a great score. Archie Borthwick may be the smallest of the squad but pound for pound is probably the best, often getting himself into tackles and rucks and winning good ball. Good quick ball close to the Peebles line was shipped to Ben Douglas in space and there is only ever going to be one outcome with Ben powering to be the line for another good score. With time ticking down Peebles managed to cross the line twice to snatch the victory.

Melrose were the next team to face Duns and Matty McKnockiter was starting to get some good ball and make some yards.

Harry White and Kaylen Martin were practising before the match about getting the runner coming on at pace and both throughout the tournament selflessly distributing to keen runners. Fraser keen all day to get ball in hand finally broke all defence in front of him, dragging the final two defenders over the line with him for a great solo try. However, this was not enough for victory.

Last were tournament favourites Kelso, and despite get defence and energy couldn’t stop a very well drilled team getting through the defence on 4 occasions.

Great day out in the mud and good improvement by many player.

Finlay Jack is the sole survivor of the P7 squad but joined up with the Jedburgh to put in a great performance and a quote from the Jed coach “Thanks Finlay for the effort and commitment today”, Finlay helped get Jedburgh to the final, only losing out to very strong Kelso team.