Preston Lodge

Saints Back On Track

Preston Lodge 14 Dumfries Saints 43

After the disappointment of the previous weeks performance at Langholm it was important that Saints got back in the groove. Preston Lodge had taken a hammering earlier in the season at Park Farm but had shown signs of improvement in recent weeks as the trap door of relegation threatened them. Both sides had plenty to play for.

Saints started well in sunny conditions playing up the slope, an early mistake in midfield allowed the home side to pressurise the Saints and there certainly didn’t seem to be the length of the division between the sides. Eventually after some good defence Saints worked their way up field and from a scrum the ball moved with pace and through several pairs of hands, prop Roy Dunlop gave the last pass when he popped it up to Captain Jamie Little who crashed over from 20 yards. Rory Steele converted. Number 8 Stuart Clanachan showed the urgency required when he picked up from another scrum and made a break, drawing the full back before releasing centre Murray Richardson for the score, Steele again converted. To make matters worse for the home side a speculative kick downfield was gathered by Rory Steele at full back and he saw a set of front five forwards in front of him and set off at pace to round them, Rory then side stepped the full back for a try which he converted for 21-0. A short burst of devastating play!

The home side were not going to lie down though and they fought to stay in the game. Their experienced number 8 was collecting plenty of turnovers at the break down and the big outside centre was threatening to punch holes in the Saints defence. They got their reward when just before half time a grubber kick caused chaos in the Saints defence and the centre gathered before feeding to the winger for a try. Half time and 21-7 to Saints.

Saints started the second half at pace, benefiting from the calm head of scrum half Kenny Brown back to direct things at the breakdown. The reward came early as Kenny Henderson found some space before off loading to Jamie Little who got past the winger before drawing in the full back and releasing Gareth McCall for a well earned try. The forwards piled on the pressure and from a ruck near to the home line Stevie MacKinnon crashed over to score the next one.

Plucky Preston Lodge were still not going to down without a fight and the number 8 picked up and created a try with some very soft Saints tackling making the job easier. By now substitute Will Duncan was on the park at standoff and spotted a gap and went for it from his own half. Will almost made the line and when caught popped it up to Jamie Little for an easy score. The last score came from a quickly taken free kick which went through several pairs of hands, MacKinnon, Little, Clanachan were all involved before second row Ben Stanley made the break down the wing. Stanley sucked in all the defence before off loading to Finlay Miller for the try. Final score 43 -14 to Saints.

This was a much better performance from the Saints, when they played at pace and recycled quick ball they were difficult to live with, forwards Little, Clanachan and McCall were prominent and amongst the backs Doc Satala, Richardson and Steele shone with Kenny Brown having a big influence. When they were slowed down at the breakdown they lost too many turnovers and some soft tackling gave away cheap territory and points, so there’s still plenty to work on!

Team; G McCall, K Geddes, R Dunlop, B Stanley, A Mather, J Little, F Miller, S Clanachan, K Brown, A Bryden, J Farquhar, M Richardson, K Henderson, D Satala, R Steele. Subs all used, S MacKinnon, D Crichton and W Duncan.

Roy Dunlop on the charge

Stuart Clanachan tries to break through

Rory Steele goes through the gap

Kenny Brown breaks with Clanachan in support

Stuart Clanachan is clean through

Dougie Crichton makes ground

Dougie Crichton takes on the defence

Captain Jamie Little breaks a tackle

Will Duncan looks for the gap

Ali Mather drives forward

Ben Stanley looks for support

Alex Bryden hands off the defender as he breaks away