Saints hold onto winning streak
In perfect playing conditions at Hawthornden, Saints defended their 12 game undefeated run with another close result.
Saints kick off went straight to touch but they won the scrum against the head on the centre spot and took the ball through a couple of phases to the Lasswade 22 where a penalty for not rolling away gave Tom Hiddleston an easy 3 points.
Saints kept the pressure on and when Lasswade tried to work their way into the Saints half Captain Paddy Coupar stole possession in a maul offloaded to Kenny Henderson he passed to Michael Yates who crashed through two tackles to score in the corner. The conversion was missed.
Lasswade cleared into the Saints half and Graeme Gemmell chipped ahead for Kenny Henderson to chase but instead of running onto the ball he ran onto the dangerously placed boot of a Lasswade second row forward. Cries from the home crowd that it was accidental fell on deaf ears and he went to the sin bin. Tom Hiddleston kicked the penatly and Saints were 0 : 11 up after 10 minutes.
Down to 10 men Lasswade defended well, from a dominant Saints scrum inside centre Sam Hiddleston broke through tackles and offloaded to outside centre Michael Yates who broke another couple of tackles and fed Adam Whelan who was pushed into touch 2 metres out from the try line.
They cleared from the lineout and Tom Hiddleston fired it back with Adam Whelan chasing and charging it down giving saints a second go at the 5 meter line out. This time Paddy Couper stole it and a score looked on but a loose pass from the scum half allowed them to pick up and carry the ball into the Saints half for the first time where they gained a penalty for offside at a ruck. The kick was missed but the sin bin was over and Lasswade were back up to 15 men.
Saints worked their way back into the Lasswade 22 but a loose offload was intercepted and some excellent handling again took Lasswade from one side to the other and into the Saints 22 where they chipped ahead but fortunately for Saints Kenny Henderson was on hand to win the foot race.
From the 22 drop out they took possession and brought the ball back to the Saints defence who gave away a penalty for coming in from the side. They kicked to touch, won the lineout and through a couple of phases spun the ball wide to their flying winger in acres of space. The travelling support were already lamenting losing a try when Adam Whelan closed him down and drove him into touch in the tackle of the game.
nfortunately it was closely followed by the missed tackle of the game when the clearance from the lineout did not get outside the Saints 22 and from that lineout the Lasswade centre Bernie Hennesey ran over the Saints defence to score under the posts, no 8 Gavin Brown converted Lasswade 7 Saints 11.
Lasswade collected the restart and hoisted it high in air, 3 saints defenders looking into the sun allowed it to bounce in front of them straight into the hands of Kyle Smith who ran in the easiest of tries which Brown converted, Lasswade 14 Saints 11.
Saints had their chances to retake the lead before half time with some good ball carries from Michael Yates and Paddy Couper but poor offloads and poor decisions saw Saints kicking and throwing away possession with alarming regularity.
Lasswade started the second half strongly testing the Saints defence and frustrating their attack. Saints were upping their work rate at the breakdown but giving away a lot of penalties and when the referees patience ran out hooker Fraser Paul was the unlucky one that got sin binned.
Lasswade kicked the penalty to touch, caught and drove but as they neared the line they knocked on. Kenny Henderson went off to make way for a front row replacement, the scrum was won and Tom Hiddleston cleared. Things were not going Saints way for a spell they were trying to force things, getting isolated and robbed, being penalised for chasing kicks from offside positions. Lasswade were having their share of bad luck too for not throwing in straight at the line out. The best chance of the third quarter was from a kick ahead by Adam Whelan, Stuart Kennedy stole at the rear of the lineout and put the ball through good hands to get it out to Kenny Henderson on the wing who was judged to put a foot in touch going for the line.
But the quantity of possession was bound to end in points for the Saints. Another stolen lineout and a series of rucks put Stuart Clanachan over the line for the referee to judge as held up. A simple ball from the 5 metre scrum saw Tom Hiddleston joining the line at pace to score and convert, putting Saints back into the lead 14 : 18.
From the restart a Saints forward knocked on but as the ball was picked up from an offside position by one of his teammates a penalty was awarded giving an easy 3 points to No 8 Gavin Brown taking it to 17 : 18 with 15 minutes to go.
Time to close down the game and give nothing away, Stuart Clanachan used his experience to show Dumfries how to hold onto possessing, protecting the ball at rucks, playing safe rugby with Tom Hiddleston kicking to the corners. With 5 minutes to go Lasswade got the ball into the Dumfries half and in what could have been a travesty the referee judged it to be a deliberate knock on when Adam Whelan went for man and ball and in the tackle the ball was knocked out of a Lasswade runners hands . Pressure was on Gavin Brown to win the game but his kick went wide. Saints closed the game out to win by the narrowest of margins and the unbeaten run continues.