A gutsy performance from the young Saints produced a good home win and move Dumfries above Whitecraigs to 6th place in RBS Championship League A.
Before the game started the 3 home teams and their opponents lined up on the 1st team pitch in a tribute to the memory of Frank Solley former player and club stalwart who died on 31st December.
Saints played with the wind first and kept Whitecraigs pinned in their own half. Full back Tom Hiddleston had to retire early on with a mouth injury so Kenny Henderson took over the kicking duties. He opened the scoring from a penalty just outside the 22. This was quickly followed by a try from Michael Yates on one of his typical direct runs that defences find difficult to stop, Kenny Henderson converted to take Saints to 10 nil.
Despite Saints giving away a large number of penalties Whitecraigs could not clear their lines into the wind and the Saints piled on the pressure. The forwards were playing with the intensity that has become part of their game but with tendency to go into contact high and allow the opposition to get hands on the ball which resulted in turnovers and more penalties.
Whitecraigs forwards defended well round the fringes and Saints had to move the ball wider to find gaps. When they did a brilliant interplay between the two Saints centres where Michael Yates passed to Sam Hiddleston and ran round for the return left the Whitecraigs centres wrong footed and Yates got his second try which Kenny Henderson converted. Half time Dumfries 17 Whitecraigs nil.
Playing into the wind in the second half Saints cleared their line with a fantastic run from Michael Yates who carried the ball from inside his 22 to inside the Whitecraigs 22. But for a spell the visitors used their kickers more effectively with the wind in their back and kept Saints pinned on their own line for long periods and centre Ryan Moffat got a try which he converted.
As the second half progressed Saints superior fitness and ball carrying into the wind kept the pressure on the Whitecraigs line. Several scoring opportunities were lost when the ball was taken from them in contact but persistence paid off and after a driving maul the ball was popped to winger Dougie Boyd running an inside angle that found a gap in the Whitecraigs defence. The conversion was missed and the score was 22 to 7.
Whitecraigs never gave up and got a consolation try in the corner which they converted off the post to finish the game 22 to 14.
An excellent home win for Saints to start 2013 which could see Park Farm becoming a fortress again.
Team; S Graham, F Paul, A Prentice, B Hunt, A Mather, S Renwick, C Wicks, R Henderson, J Camion, G Gemmell, D Boyd, M Yates, S Hiddleston (captain), K Henderson, T Hiddleston, replacements G McCall, M Smith and M McClatchey