1st XV v Peebles 19.01.19

Dumfries Saints 29    Peebles 28

Saints managed to get a draw when the two teams met at the Gytes back in October and sitting next to each other in the league this was always going to be a close and hard fought encounter.

Peebles started with pace and once inside Saints spun the ball wide to score in the corner which they converted from the touchline. Next visit to the Saints a quick tap penalty took them to the line and after a couple of recycles spun it wide again for another try and conversion.

10 minutes in and Saints were 14 points down but they settled down and started to control possession for large periods gaining a succession of penalties before the referee lost patience and sent a Peebles player to the bin. A few recycles with the extra man and Alan Birdsall exploited a lack of defence at a ruck with a try in the corner which he converted.

The pace was relentless and the play end to end, some excellent ball carries by Ewan Miller and Sam Hiddleston were making a lot of yards, Saints lineout which has been shaky recently was producing safe ball. After some consistent pressure in the Peebles 22 Saints moved the ball from touchline to touchline and fast possession from a ruck was popped up to David Andrew who drove over the line. Alan Birdsall converted.

Just before half time Peebles exploited a missed tackle in midfield and scored behind the posts the conversion took the score at half time to 14 : 21 and the crowd as well as the players got 10 minutes to draw breath.

The second half started with the same relentless pace but when under pressure in their own 22 Peebles discipline was letting them down and another yellow card gave Saints 3 points from Alan Birdsall. 5 minutes later and again in the Peebles 22 another penalty and another yellow card. Saints opted for the scrum, Peebles put 8 in and quick ball from was spun out wide for Sam Hiddleston to score in the corner. The conversion was missed 22 : 21.

The pace continued and a line break by Ewan Miller was finished off by Jack Steele to win the bonus point, converted by Jack Currie. Peebles fought right till the end when after some consistent pressure in the Saints 22 a good angle from the Peebles outside centre put him under the posts, the conversion was the last kick of the game.

This was a tough encounter with some great rugby which should set Saints up well for Highland’s visit to Park Farm next Saturday.

Squad: Sean Graham, Tom Martin, Craig Goldie, Mark McClatchey, David Andrew, Gavin Wilson, Ryan Cruikshank, Ewan Miller, Alan Birdsall, Jordan Kerr, Robert Douglas, John Carlisle, Jack Steele (Captain), Robert Neill, Sam Hiddleston, Douglas Boyd, James Clyde, Michael Yates and Jack Currie.