Saints Show Character
Howe of Fife 36 Dumfries Saints 18
At first glance Saints supporters might think this was a continuation of the poor form Saints showed at Irvine the previous week, they couldn’t b more wrong! This was a highly competitive game between two sides committed to playing quality rugby, nobody could begrudge the entrance fee and whilst disappointed at losing the Saints squad can take a lot of positives from this game.
Saints kicked off down the slope and got straight onto the front as skipper Jamie Little caught the kick off and initiated an attack. The Dumfries side looked hungry and Sam Hiddleston, playing in the centre, had an early break that almost led to points. All the early signs were good as both sides tried to play running rugby. Saints definitely had the upper hand in the first quarter. Achieving parity at the set piece and dominating the break down area. Unfortunately it took them 15 minutes to trouble the scorer when Tom Hiddleston converted a penalty.
The good work continued and both Sam Hiddleston and scrum half Andy Walker almost got away, Saints managed to find space out wide only for winger Kenny Henderson to be hauled down just short. After over 20 minutes Howe showed their class in creating an extra man in midfield to cut through the Saints defence and score a try against the run of play.
Suddenly Howe were on the front foot and the game became very tense and evenly balanced as both sides attacked whenever they got possession. Cruelly for Saints Howe managed to find space on the blind side of a 5 metre scrum and squeeze over in the corner. Tom Hiddleston had time for a long range penalty attempt which just dropped under the bar and left Saints 10-3 down at half time, a poor reward for all their efforts.
Howe started the second half in a hurry and pinned Saints back using the slope. Sadly for the Saints the ref was unsighted for a crucial knock on and as a result Howe maintained possession deep in the Saints 22. What Saints didn’t want to do was concede an early score but unfortunately that’s what they did as Howe used a 5 metre scrum as a platform to find the space to squeeze over, it was converted and now Saints faced a mountain at 17-3 down.
Saints deserve a lot of credit for sticking to their task and fighting their way back into the game. Saints won their own scrum ball on their 22, Jamie Little picked up at the base and set off, Rory Steele took the ball on and sliced through deep into the Howe half. Saints showed tremendous handling as Sam Hiddleston and wing forwards Mark MacClatchey and Stuart Renwick kept the ball alive with some excellent close handling before it was spun out to Kenny Henderson who beat the last man to score the try.
The pack now had the bit between their teeth and excellent driving play from Jamie Little, Daniel Henderson and Sean Cockburn got them up the field. Howe conceded a penalty which Tom Hiddleston kicked and at 17-11 Saints were right back in it!
As Saints entered the last 15 minutes they were disrupted by injuries and unfortunately it was enough to allow Howe to again find gaps in the midfield to get their fourth try which was converted. With their tails now up the home side piled on the pressure and soon found another gap to score and put the match out of sight. Saints to their credit never gave up and some good work by the pack created the opportunity for Tom Hiddleston to score under the posts. As the clock ticked down Howe scored a final try with the last play of the game to stretch out to 36-18, a score that flattered a little!
This was a spirited and quality performance from Saints against a side still in the promotion hunt. If the squad can reproduce this type of effort and work to sort out the gaps largely caused by players playing out of position they can aim to win their remaining four fixtures and claim fourth place in the table. More importantly this is the type of performance players enjoy being part of and spectators enjoy watching.
Team; R MacMillan, K Geddes, S Cockburn, D Henderson, A Taylor, S Renwick, M MacClatchey, J Little, A Walker, R Steele, J Sloan, S Hiddleston, V Satala, K Henderson, T Hiddleston. Subs all used; A Sloan, B Milligan, S Kennedy, A Birdsall.
Rory Steele kicks for position
Sean Cockburn takes on the Howe defence
Adam Taylor keep the Saints pack driving on
Rory Steele looks for the gap
Jamie Little makes ground
Daniel Henderson charges through the crowd
For directions to Howe RFC click here