West Regional 2nd XV League – Division 1
Dumfries Saints 74 – Whitecraigs 5
Saints welcomed a team, which had caused them no end of problems over recent seasons and inflicting the occasional heavy defeat. On a bright sunny early autumn day, a very young home team were intent on reversing the trend of the recent years. To be fair the opposition travelled with a depleted squad and fulfilled the fixture whilst others might not have bothered coming.
From the outset, it was apparent that the visitors, missing a few regulars, were not going to lie down. For the first ten minutes, play ebbed backwards and forwards with Whitecraigs failing to convert a penalty for a silly Saints indiscretion. Some good interchanging between backs and forwards saw young scrum half Andrew Ainslie on hand to cross for the first try. Burgess converted. Two minutes later and Burgess helped himself to a try, which he converted to open up a 14-point lead.
Three minutes later and Rory Middleton, showing a remarkable turn of foot crossed. Burgess again obliged with the conversion. Within minutes, Saints surged back up field and Martin Smith crossed out wide to secure the bonus point with an unconverted try. Saints were now rampant and punishing the visitors with some slick passing interchanges and good backing up. Further tries from Crichton, Ainslie after a tremendous break by Jamie Graham, and Bryden completed the first half scoring at a rate of nearly a point a minute.
Saints, intent on racking up a sizeable score restarted with a vengeance, scoring two tries in rapid succession through Crichton and Kennedy. Sadly, complacency set in, which a better team might have capitalised on, and the team discipline broke down and with it, the rhythm and tempo of the Saints play. Whitecraigs not be outdone scored what turned out to be a consolation unconverted try.
This seemed to spur the Saints back into action scoring further tries from Bryden, Kennedy and finally Bryden. Enjoying a comfortable lead allowed the management team the opportunity to blood some youngsters into league rugby. With Burgess converting seven of the twelve tries, the final score was Dumfries 74 – Whitecraigs 5.
Forwards: S Robertson (Capt), E Mack, R Middleton, F Carson, S Kennedy, M McClatchey, J Graham, C Freebody.
Backs: A Ainslie. S Burgess, G Mack, E Bryden, R Davidson, M Smith, K Riddick,
Replacements who all played: C Montague, D Crichton, W Greene, J Little, R McCornick, S Lethardy, D Lewis
Pictures courtesy of Crawford Little