Dumfries 10 Falkirk 16

Big improvements, but more needs to come from Saints if they are to move up the league. It took both sides 15 minutes to realise referee Tom McNicol was not going to allow them spoil the game from offside positions. In that time Falkirk converted two penalties to Saints one.

The tall mobile Falkirk pack had dominated the scrums in their first 3 league games of the season, but admitted after the game that they struggled to contain the Saints front row. Falkirk did dominate the lineout however and half way through the first half were using their possession to pressurise the Saints line. They had some big ball carriers and excellent support runners and after a sustained attack broke through the Saints hard working defence for a converted try.

Saints were rattled and within minutes gave a way an easy penalty in front of the posts for tackler not rolling away. Then immediately gave away another for over enthusiastic rucking of a Falkirk forward lying over the ball. 3 points to 13 and down to 14 men with the loss of Grant Duffy for the next 10 minutes things looked bleak.

The Saints defence were galvanised by the prospect and stepped up the work rate, young Adam Prentice did a sterling job in the front row. The lineouts continued to go Falkirk’s way but Saints were winning more than their share of the breakdown with excellent performances from Ali Mather, Finlay Miller and Man of the Match Sean Graham, they saw out the sin bin without any further loss of points. No sooner were the teams back to 15 a side when the Falkirk tight head was binned for a professional foul right on half time.

The second half was all played in the Falkirk half and brought out some excellent defence from the visitors. Time after time Saints built phases and attacked the Falkirk line but could not get that vital last phase to happen for them. Both teams defended well and attacked badly with too many unsympathetic passes, fumbled balls, cross field runs, poorly executed chips ahead and predictable crash balls preventing opportunities being made into points.

From a lineout on the 22 Saints were able to put fast ball through hands along the line to speeding full back Andrew Wilson for an uncomplicated and well taken try converted by Jordan Kerr. With 10 minutes to go and one score in it things were looking good for Saints, all they had to do was repeat the process and get the ball out wide. They had the possession, they had the opportunity but didn’t have the composure or the accuracy, Falkirk shut them out and won the game 16 10.

Team: Sean Graham, Fraser Paul, Grant Duffy, Stewart Kennedy, Daniel Henderson, James Currie, Finlay Miller, Stuart Clanachan, Jonny Campion, Andrew Whiteford, Jordan Kerr, Graeme Gemmell, Sam Hiddleston, Kenny Henderson, Andrew Wilson. Subs: Adam Prentice, Ali Mather, Paddy Coupar and Martin Smith