Saints Thirds win derby
On an unseasonal balmy day at Park Farm, Saints 3rds fielded a full complement of twenty two players to face old rivals Stewartry. Several players made welcome returns to air their boots after lengthy spells away from the game including James Kinnaird in the back row, Steven Carpenter on the wing and Robbie Davidson in the centre.
Dumfries received the kick off and successfully worked possession into the Stewartry half where most of the play was to be contested in the opening quarter. It looked as though three missed Saints penalties in this period might be punished. Fortunately Stewartry too were wide of the mark with a penalty attempt following their first exertion of pressure into Saints territory.
Scrappy stop start rugby followed with neither team able to work any continuity into their play. When Saints were eventually able to move through phases of ball retention, the result was another penalty this time converted by Stewart Burgess to give Saints a deserved 3 -0 lead at half time.
With the match finely balanced Saints needed to lift their game in the second half and work harder than their opponents to gain the ascendency. This they did from the off and with an intensity that was missing in the first half they pinned Stewartry back in a hunt for more points. The saints scrum which was taking the nudge in the first half was now noticeably firmer and the introduction of Bob Farish in the second row was also giving parity in the line out.
Andy Magaw at eight for Saints was a potent force going forward and it looked as though he had touched down for a score only to be adjudged to have knocked on at the try line. Saints kept up the pressure with scrum half Jamie Graham to the fore marshalling the break down well. From the back of a ruck close to the Stewartry line, Jamie popped to Rick Ireland who found a gap and there was no mistake that downward pressure of the ball was made on the line. However the referee this time saw the ball being held up. Finally and after much perseverance, Saints got their try. Quick passing by the backs from thirty metres out released Jamie Little and it was again great to see the big fellow on the hoof and palming off defenders to score in the corner. Burgess missed the difficult conversion attempt.
At 8 -0 up Saints needed a better cushion and after spurning kickable penalty points sensibly chose to take another three on offer within Burgesses range for an 11 – 0 lead. In the dying moments Stewartry scored a converted try but Saints had done enough and were rightly overjoyed to hear the final whistle.
Team: J.Cox, S.Robertson, I.Kerr, R.Strawbridge(c), E.MacIntyre, E.Oaks, J.Kinnaird, A.Magaw, D.Buglas, E.Burgess, R.Ireland, B.Thomson, S.Carpenter, J.Little subs:Mathieau, B.Farish, C.Measur, J.Lethardy, R.Davidson, J.Graham, K.Carson
Pictures courtesy of Ali Burgess