1st XV v Greenock Wanderers 10.1.17

Dumfries 55    Greenock Wanderers 7

Saints started 2017 with a first half of rugby out of the top drawer. Greenock must have wondered what hit them. From the kick off Michael Thomson secured the ball and put it quickly through several hands before John Carlisle through a long pass to winger Harry Houldey who sprinted to the line from his own half. John Carlisle converted and Saints were 7 nil up with a minute played. Tries came thick and fast Sam Hiddleston got 2 in row the second from a brilliant interception. All 3 were converted by John Carlisle to take the score to 21 nil.

Jordan Kerr got the bonus try in the corner but the conversion was missed, Andrew Whiteford got the next one but another missed conversion.

Great handling and ball carrying by Zeke Dyson and Michael Thomson before offloading to Sam Hiddleston who pulled in the wide defender before releasing Harry Houldey into space for his second try. The conversion was missed.

Andrew Whiteford ran the ball out of defence and passed to John Carlisle who chipped it over the full back chased and caught the ball on the bounce to score behind the posts. He then converted it himself and Saints went into half time 43 nil.

The first 20 minutes of the second half was all Greenock with Saints hardly getting a touch of the ball and when they did they were having to kick to clear their lines as getting caught in possession was leading to a high number of turnovers in Greenock’s favour. But eventually against the run of play Kenny Henderson carried the ball from well inside his own 22 into the Greenock half without a hand being laid on him. His chip ahead was chased and picked up by Andrew Whiteford  for an excellent second try. The conversion was missed and it was 48 nil.

The pressure from Greenock Wanderers eventually paid off when a spilled Saints ball was kicked ahead and chased by their skilful scrum half who kicked it on again to dive on it over the line for a well deserved try he converted himself.

As the game closed out Greenock ran out of steam and Saints finished the stronger team with some great passing, handling and running gained them fast possession from a ruck 5 metres out which replacement scum half Alan Birdsall spun out to standoff Jordan Kerr who popped it back inside to winger Harry Houldey running a brilliant angle to claim his third try this one under the posts. John Carlisle converted and finished the game 55 : 7.

This was a very impressive performance for 3 quarters of the game from top of the league Saints and  one great quarter from 2nd bottom Greenock Wanderers. Some of the teams higher up the league Saints still have to play would punish them harder for giving up control like that.

Next week Saints are away to bottom placed Livingston while promotion contenders Highland and Lasswade battle it out in Inverness.

Squad: Scott Goodwin, Zeke Dyson, Devon MacDonald,  Michael Thomson, Michael Badenhurst, Craig Bryson, Ryan Cruikshank, Jamie Graham, Jack Johnstone, Jordan Kerr, Harry Houldey, John Carlisle, Sam Hiddleston, Andrew Whiteford, Euan Mack, Craig Goldie, Tom Martin, Alan Birdsall.

Meanwhile also at Park Farm the Dumfries Saints 2nd XV beat Greenock Wanderers 2nd XV 84 : 10 to consolidate their position in the top 6 of BT West Reserve League Division 1. Next week they are away to West of Scotland 2nd XV before being back at Park Farm along with the 1st XV on the 21st January for a very important double header against Glasgow Accies.

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