Dumfries Saints 45 Irvine 6
After some erratic performances, particularly away from home Saints loyal supporters were hoping for some quality in the Park Farm sunshine, they certainly got it!
All the early possession belonged to Saints but they struggled to made ground against a resilient Irvine team. When Saints did seem to have opened up an opportunity the wrong option was taken. Irvine showed when they had the ball they were capable of threatening and at times some of the early Saints tackling was a bit weak, those who had witnessed the carnage at Cartha the previous week held their breath!
After twenty minutes a couple of strange decisions triggered the first score, Irvine used the first penalty to get into the Saints 22 and the second was in front of the posts for an easy 3 points. Saints had a penalty chance almost immediately but the distance defeated Tom Hiddleston. The pressure was on Irvine however and when a clearing kick failed to find tough Alex Bryden returned it with a searing break, Kenny Henderson was in support and when he fed Stuart Clanachan there was no stopping the big man as he raced in from 20 metres. Tom Hiddleston converted for 7-3.
The Saints now stepped it up and Irvine creaked under the pressure conceding another penalty which Tom Hiddleston converted for 10-3. With half time approaching Saints made some poor decisions and found themselves under pressure deep in their 22. The defence held firm and showed the improvement in that area over the previous week. Half time and Saints were in the lead, the question was would Irvine’s fitness hold?
Saints attacked from the kick off and moved the visitors around, the reward came when winger Johnnie Sloan collected the ball with a chink of daylight in the Irvine defensive wall, he didn’t need a second invitation and took off on an electrifying 60 metre run for the try, converted by Tom Hiddleston. Irvine tried to get back into it and seemed to focus on cross kicking for wingers, but to no effect as the Saints back three of Sam Hiddleston, Johnnie Sloan and Kenny Henderson had it covered.
Good Saints defence slowly forced Irvine back up field, Tom Hiddleston made a great tackle driving the Irvine players ten yards before going to ground and forming the ruck. Jamie Farquhar was on the pitch by now and supported his team mate in the ruck before appearing with the ball and racing in from 40 metres. Irvine won a penalty from the kick off and kicked it for 24-6.
Irvine had another go at building an attack but by now the Saints defence was determined not to concede a try. Saints started to built phases and got the reward for playing good rugby when Johnnie Sloan again jinked his way into space and went through for a try. It was now all Saints As they turned over Irvine and Kenny Henderson raced through a gap, Alex Bryden kept the move going as the ball moved through Ross Henderson, Keith Geddes and ended with Jamie Farquhar racing in for his second.
From the kick off Sam Hiddleston and Doc Satala drove through the heart of the Irvine side, the ball was spun out and Johnnie Sloan completed his hat trick with another searing burst. Tom Hiddleston kicked everything from everywhere all afternoon, he might have had a try late on but was denied. Final score 45-6.
This was a good display from the Saints, a much improved defence and much lower error count. If they continue the hard work next week at Perthshire they may get their first points on the road this season.
Team, G McCall, R MacMillan, K Geddes, D Henderson, J Little, M Scott, S Renwick, S Clanachan, A Watson, T Hiddleston, K Henderson, A Bryden, M Richardson, J Sloan, S Hiddleston. Subs all used, R Henders on, S MacKinnon, D Satala, J Farquhar.
Alex Byden breaks away
Gareth McCall fights his way through
Two try Jamie Farquhar away to score
Johnnie Sloan away for try number three
Kenny Henderson leads a break
Sam Hiddleston powers through