1st v Hamilton – 2nd round Cup 18.11.17

Dumfries Saints 36   Hamilton 8

This was the Second Round of the National Cup, Saints having beaten Orkney at home and Hamilton beating Aberdeenshire away to get here. With several regular 1st team players unavailable for both playing and training, Coach Rudi Urbach used the opportunity to give a few players who had impressed in the 2nd XV and and at training a 1st team place. The ground conditions were good for November and Hamilton dominated the early possession but Saints defence was putting in solid tackles after some shaky performances against West and Peebles. However they were straying offside and the referee was right on top of it and Hamilton missed a penalty on the Saints 10.

Finlay Miller had a great run out of defence carried forward by Scot Goodwin to give Saints their first possession in the Hamilton 22. Some calm controlled rucking over a number of phases drew in the Hamilton defence and fast ball out wide put Gavin Wilson over in the corner. The conversion was missed 5 : 0.

Even though Hamilton had the bulk of the possession there were glimpses of the form that Saints had shown at  the start of the season, stealing both scrum and lineout ball. Hamilton tried to mix it up by using the kick and chase but young Jack Currie showed great speed to won the race to touch down preventing a Hamilton score.

Hamilton kept up the tactic and it paid off for the with a score from McRoberts, the conversion was missed, 5 : 5. Saints strayed offside again this time on their 22 and their full back Ross Inglis did not miss this one, 5 : 8.

When Saints did get into the Hamilton half they showed composure and patience and built phases with good recycling of the ball to take them into the 5 metre for Zeke Dyson to drive over. John Carlisle converted to take the score to 12 : 8.

In the last minutes of the first half Hamilton were penalised on half way for handling in a ruck, Jordan Kerr kicked to touch 5 metres out. From the line out a couple of rucks with fast possession put Jordan Kerr over for John Carlisle to convert taking the score at half time to 19 : 8.

Saints started the second half with tempo and showed more glimpses of the start of season form with their handling skills at speed. A clever kick ahead and chase by John Carlisle put the Hamilton defence under pressure and forced them to concede a 5 metre lineout. A simple catch and drive put Zeke Dyson over for his second try, the conversion was missed and it was 24 : 8.

Hamilton kept up the pressure in the Saints half and an intercept just outside his 22 saw John Carlisle running all the way to the line to score and convert. 31 : 8,

The final quarter was nearly all played in the Saints half but the defence was outstanding,  discipline in the offside line much improved and accurate clearance kicks from stand-off Jordan Kerr eased the pressure on several occasions. In the final minutes of the game Saints got back into the Hamilton 22 and again their composure at the breakdown and good recycling took them to the 5 metre out wide where Gavin Wilson could have simply dived over to score but sprinted to behind the posts before touching down, John Carlisle converted with the last kick of the game and Saints were through to Round 3 of the cup 36 : 8. More importantly it showed the depth of the playing resource currently at the club.

Squad: Tom Martin, Zeke Dyson, Scott Goodwin, James Clyde, Will Greene, Finlay Miller, Gavin Wilson, Ali Jackson, Alan Birdsall, Jordan Kerr, Jack Currie, Keagan Jones, John Carlisle, Andrew Whiteford, Robert Neill, Douglas Boyd, Sean Graham, Michael Scott, Patrick Coupar and Tyrell Wilson.

No game next week due to the Australia game at Murrayfield but on the 2nd December there is a league double header at home with 3rd placed Saints against 7th placed GHK and 4th place Saints 2nd XV against 3rd placed GHK 2nd XV. It promises to be an exciting day with some excellent rugby.

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