Scottish Reserve League Promotion Play off
Dumfries Saints 67 – Cartha QP 0
Last weekend a strong Saints 2nd XV travelled to Cumnock, a neutral venue, for this game which was set to be the defining moment in the development of the current 2nd XV. The selected 22 players new that this was a must win game with the prize for Dumfries promotion into National Reserve League 2 and for Cartha relegation into the regional leagues. Selection for a coveted position in the squad was keenly contested with several players bitterly disappointed at missing out through injury, ineligibility or simply not being selected. However this single match was merely the last in a long chain stretching back over the last 3 seasons and every squad member has played their part over the piece.
With the pitch softened by the recent rain conditions were near perfect for rugby. Saints got off to the perfect start and Tom Hiddleston crossed in the opening minute with the same player adding the extra points. Cartha, who came with a minimal squad, were acquitting themselves well and their aggression was keeping Saints at bay. Andrew Whiteford added the second try on the ten minute mark with Hiddleston again adding the conversion to open up some clear space between the sides.
It was a further 15 minutes or so when Hiddleston added a third converted try, from a move straight of the training field. This settled the Saints and they started to play some attractive rugby in glimpses but in equal measure frustrating the big travelling support with their inability at times to turn possession into points. There is plenty for the coaching staff to work on as this inability to capitalise on pressure could cost them dear in the higher standard next season. Hiddleston’s penalty on the half hour mark was quickly followed by tries from McClatchey and Whiteford both converted by Hiddleston bringing the half time score to 38-0 in Saints favour and the promotion was now a reality.
After half time the coaches took the opportunity to involve the entire squad. The anticipated opening of the floodgates didn’t quite materialise partly due to stubborn defence from Cartha but again sloppy finishing by Saints took the gloss of the performance. Further tries followed from Clanachan, Diez, Riddick who was outstanding at full back, Whiteford and Currie. Milby converted two of them to make the final score Saints 67 – Cartha QP 0.
Team: K Riddick, A Whiteford, R Davidson, T Hiddleston, S Currie, K Milby, S Diez, A Turnbull, R Haggerty, A Sloan, A Mather, S Renwick, D Crichton, M McClatchey, S Clanachan.
Replacements: C Montagu, D Boyd, R McCornick, B Thomson, S Lethardy, M Smith and S Burgess.
A jubilant squad after the game