Scottish Reserve League Division 2 – Dumfries Saints 37 – Dunfermline 0
On a wet dreich early autumn day Saints intent on opening their win account in the league, welcomed Dunfermline 2nds to Park Farm for the first time. Winning the toss Saints decided to utilise the breeze playing towards the town end. Straight from the kick off the home team went on the offensive and good driving play took them into visiting territory and after a minute they gave away the penalty and young Jo Kerr calmly slotted the counter. Again it was straight from the kick off and Saints were deep into the Dunfermline danger area and yet another penalty was given away which Kerr greatly accepted.
Saints were rampant by now and playing with speed, aggression and direction.
A few minutes later young Ewan Miller, playing in the centre for the day, waltzed through to score the first try. Again almost from the restart Saints took play into the Dunfermline half and the Fifers gave away a crucial penalty. Speed of thought by Birdsall started a sweeping move which allowed winger Lethardy to open his seasons account. Kerr showed he was human as he missed both difficult conversions but Saints were now in control of the game. After only 15 minutes Saints found themselves justifiably 16 points in front.
For whatever reason they took their pedal of the gas and let the big Dunfermline team back into the game. As the contest deteriorated into a war of attrition with the two packs slugging it out the visitors had suckered the young home team into a forward battle which suited them better than Saints. The deadlock was broken just on the stroke of half time when a great linking move from the backs saw Sandy Currie making a tremendous dash for the line. With a score at his mercy a deliberate high tackle by a desperate Dunfermline defender was punished rightly by the referee as he awarded the penalty try which Kerr converted to bring the half time score to 23 – 0 to Dumfries.
In the early parts of the second session Dunfermline tried to break their duck but found the home team playing into the breeze to be resolute in defence. There was air of desperation in some of Saints play as they strived for the vital bonus point and things became very disjointed. It took a tremendous break from Clanachan, which allowed the veteran No 8 to score from the half way line, with Birdsall adding the conversion to settle the nerves.
With the bonus point secure changes to personnel allowed valuable game time for the replacements. Ewan Miller completed his double and Saints scores again with Birdsall converting to make the final score Saints 2nds 37 – Dunfermline 2nds 0.
This display was an enigma as the Saints played at times with high skill levels, speed and passion and at other times they were lacklustre and ill-disciplined which on another day could have cost them dearly. Next weekend Saints 2nd team are away to West of Scotland which should provide a bigger challenge.
Team: Kerr, Lethardy, E Miller, S Currie, Smith, Dollin, Birdsall, S Graham, R Henderson, Geddes, McCornick, Renwick, McClatchey, Crichton and Clanachan. Replacements who all played: Olney, E Mack, S Burgess and C Ramage