Dumfries Saints 21 Falkirk 3
In gale force winds and driving rain Saints took on Falkirk at Park Farm on Saturday. It was no place for the faint hearted as Saints played into the gale in the first half. Saints ball carriers made hard yards up field only for the slippy ball to spill for Falkirk to clear kick it all the way back to the Saints 22. The wind made lineouts a lottery but Saints had the edge on the scrum. At 12 minutes an unfortunate penalty for not rolling away gave Falkirk at kick at goal in front of the posts to put them 3 points up.
That was the only score of the first half, even with the wind in their backs any attacks by Falkirk were dealt with by the resolute Saints defence. Some terrific carries from Jack Steele, Craig Goldie, Euan Miller and Michael Yates with support play from the whole Saints squad but in particular James Clyde and David Andrew kept a surprising amount of the game played in the Falkirk half.
Into the wind in the second half Falkirk could not rely on the boot to clear their lines and did not have the ball carriers to take the game into the Saints half. At 8 minutes in after sustained pressure inside the Falkirk 5 metre a clearance kick bent in the wind to go into touch behind the kicker. The lineout on the 5 metre went to a ruck from which James Clyde picked up and drove over for the first try. Alan Birdsall took the kick from 8 metres in from the left on the 22 aimed across the field and the wind carried it between the posts. Saints 7 Falkirk 3.
5 minutes later Alan Birdsall was presented with a penalty on the 22 just to the left of the posts, his judgement of the wind was a couple of inches out but the rebound from the post fell to an alert Kenny Henderson who scored between the posts. Alan Birdsall converted Saints 14 Falkirk 3.
From a lineout inside the Falkirk 22 David Andrew caught and drove it was carried forward by Craig Goldie then finished under the posts by Michael Yates with a pick and go. Alan Birdsall drop kicked the conversion Saints21 Falkirk 3.
This was real hard working team performance and a great result in the conditions. Next week Saints are on the road again against Whitecraigs in an early kick off to suit the Fiji international.
Squad: C Goldie, D Boyd, A Prentice, J Clyde, D Andrew, B Johnstone, R Cruickshank, E Miller, A Birdsall, J Strain, R Neill, M Yates, J Steele (Captain), A Whiteford, S Hiddleston, K Brown, JP Thomson, J Currie and K Henderson.
Saints 2nd XV beat West of Scotland 12 7 on the other pitch to make it an excellent day for Dumfries.