Image shows Ewan Miller scoring the first Saints’ try in their win over Preston Lodge
Saints 1’s climbed to third place in Tennents Nat. League 2 with a bonus point win over their visitors from Prestonpans.
A stiff breeze toward the town and very physical opponents ensured the home team would require to play at their best to record a win.
Playing toward Criffel, Saints started very brightly, moving the ball crisply left and right probing for space in the PL defence and looking to fatigue their bulkier opponents.
At 12mins after secure lineout possession and several phases No8 Ewan Miller found a gap and beat 3 defenders on his way to the line to score an unconverted try. PL hit back immediately when Saints failed to deal with the kick-off and from the resultant scrum the visitors scored a well worked try under the posts.
Saints responded positively with some of their best rugby of the season showing great patience and ball retention to put Sam Hiddleston in space to score in the corner at 18mins. Despite playing into the wind Saints continued to dominate field position with quality possession and gained a further try on 33mins, under the posts, by Jack Steele, who sidestepped his way thro’ the PL defence, Birdsall converting.
17: 7 ahead at the break was just reward for a very good all-round half of rugby with all aspects of the fast and fluid game plan working well.
PL began the second half well showing the style of rugby which had been successfull in the sides’ previous encounter. They employed their big runners round the breakdown to tie in defenders which allowed their halfbacks to exploit any resulting gaps in the defensive line. Saints were stretched in defence but on 50mins Joe Strain won a turnover and put Hiddleston in from half way to score the bonus point try between the sticks. Birdsall converted leaving Saints in a seemingly comfortable 24:7 lead with half an hour remaining. The physicality of the game was taking a toll on the Saints players with Miller, Steele, Scott and Graham all replaced having suffered a variety of knocks.
Saints probably felt the game was won but PL persevered and scored in the corner with 10mins to go after Saints failed to clear to touch. They promptly repeated he feat three minutes later to score a converted try following numerous phases of play and were now trailing only by 5 points with seven minutes remaining. Saints coaches and supporters were looking very concerned but the Saints players responded by dominating possession and keeping play in the PL half. Steele, having returned to the fray, found a gap in the tiring PL defence to take play deep into the 22m, and following two phases, Craig Goldie crashed over in the clubhouse corner to secure the victory much to the relief of the Saints squad and their supporters.