1st XV v Lasswade 4.12.16

Lasswade 17 Dumfries 5

This top of the table clash should have been a showpiece for all that is best in National 3 rugby but after a 4 week break for the Autumn Tests both teams were rusty. Their commitment could not be faulted but there were errors on both sides with mistimed passes being intercepted and kicks not finding touch or finding it without bouncing. Both teams had scoring chances with Saints ones coming from good handling and running from their backs and Lasswades from pick and drives from their forwards.

Saints missed a penalty from just outside the 22, then a kick through from Alan Birdsall was chased down by Sam Hiddleston, hacked forward and chased again, looked to be touched down but the referee adjudged the ball was knocked on over the line. Unfortunately Lasswades best chance came 5 minutes before half time after concerted pressure and great defence on the Saints line the eventual score was a soft diagonal run across the front of the posts. The conversion was missed but Lasswade held onto their 5 point lead until half time.

Saints took the restart and in the first minute of the second half Saints had another penalty opportunity but it went wide of the posts but for the next 6 minutes Lasswade were pinned in their own 22 by some great runs by Michael Thomson, Sam Hiddleston and Jack Steele. Saints adopted the Lasswade tactic of the old fashioned pick and drive and good vison by scrum half Birdsall put second row Michael Badenhurst into space for his first score with the club, the conversion was missed.

Lasswade responded with a long sustained attack in the Saints 22 and it was a huge sigh of relief when they were able to clear their lines. From a lineout just outside the Lasswade 22 Saints spun the ball to the other touchline to see the final pass intercepted by flying winger Lamont who touched down under the posts for an easy try and conversion. Lasswade 12 Dumfries 5.

Lasswade were taking control and much of the 4th quarter was being played in the Saints 22 where a heroic and hard working Saints defence kept them out for a good 15 minutes but again the pick and drive wore them down and Lasswade got another tray out wide, the conversion was missed.

Lasswade finished the game going for the bonus point but Saints defence shut them out.

With Highland gaining a bonus point against Greenock and St Boswells grinding out a win in Orkney, Lasswade go top with Highland second, Dumfries 3rd and St Boswells 4th and only 5 points between the 4 of them. It’s all to play for and next weeks away trip to 7thplaced RHC will be a tricky one for the Saints.

Squad: Jack Steele, Kenny Henderson, Sam Hiddleston, John Carlisle, Andrew Whiteford, Jordan Kerr, Alan Birdsall, Craig Goldie, Zeke Dyson, Devon Macdonald, Michael Thompson, Michael Badenhorst, Ali Jackson, Patrick Coupar, Jamie Graham, Euan Mack, Ryan Cruickshank, Craig Bryson, Jack Johnstone.

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