Hard fought win for Saints pushes them one step nearer promotion

Dumfries Saints RFC—20

Lasswade RFC ———-15

 Last weekend supporters at Park Farm saw a clash between the top two teams in National League Division 3. Top of the table leaders by three points Lasswade were keen to keep their promotion challenge up and Dumfries Saints, although with a game in hand, had to make sure they secured this game.

The kick off was about an hour after very heavy rain which made everything quite wet and greasy, but despite a slippery ball both teams looked up for the contest. The early attack came from the home side with a penalty awarded against the visitors for not rolling away.  As in all games which are as close as this every point counts and the kick was slotted between the posts by John Carlisle.

When play resumed it saw Lasswade defending hard for the next ten minutes, but a turnaround ball saw them set up their usual pick and go tactic by the forwards that has proved so hard to defend. They eventually got to the Dumfries 22 and even more attacking rolling Rugby saw their big Number 8 Bernard Hennessey score the first try. The conversion was missed.

Once the ball was kicked off again the Saints knew they had to give a quick response and they did that when second row Michael Badenhorst forced his way over for a Dumfries try. That conversion was also missed. Domination was how you would describe the next period with Lasswade being kept in their half for nearly 20 minutes and the resulting try coming from a fantastic break by prop Craig Goldie whose beautifully off loaded pass to Kenny Henderson saw the next score. It was converted by John Carlisle.

With the home side looking strong and in complete control a pass from the hands of Saints scrum half Jack Johnstone to a confident Michael Badenhorst saw him take on nearly all the central defence in a superb run across the park for what was another fantastic try for Dumfries but unfortunately the conversion hit the upright narrowly missing out on the extra two points.

The last few minutes of the first half saw Lasswade finding touch and the resulting line out lead to another maul being pushed over by their strong pack and scored by prop Graeme Cook.  It was converted by their kicker on the day, second row Stephen Hunter, taking the score at half time to 20-12.

The re-start after the break saw a complete reversal of the first half with the visiting forwards keeping Dumfries in their own half for most of the remaining time. A penalty, awarded to Lasswade, and kicked again by Stephen Hunter saw the gap narrowed to just one unconverted try. Defending for their lives the home side had very few attacking runs and being awarded what could have been two crucial penalties which they did not manage to capitalise on. Despite that, every single Dumfries player worked relentlessly to guard their line and managed to close the game out and hold Lasswade back.  When the final whistle blew there was a massive sigh of relief from the home crowd that the Saints had got the four points. The visitors’ only consolation was that they got a losing bonus point.

This puts Dumfries top on 80 points joint with Lasswade but with a game in hand. This Saturday the Saints travel to Livingston for the game rescheduled from January hoping to get a win with enough points to guarantee promotion. Lasswade also need to win this weekend as do St Boswells to be in with a chance of promotion but nail biting stuff means it all looks like it could come down to the final game of the season against St Boswells to see who the winners or runners up are in this very close league.

Squad: C. Goldie, Z. Dyson, S. Goodwin, M. Thompson, M. Badenhorst, F. Miller,
R. Cruickshank, A. Jackson, J. Johnstone, J. Kerr, A. Whiteford, J. Carlisle, J.Steele,
K. Henderson, S. Hiddleston, D. Macdonald, J. Graham, M. Scott  A. Wilson



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