Young Saints start season the hard way

Cartha QP 43 Dumfries Saints 6

Typical of the first game of the season the afternoon was marred by handling errors, missed timed runs and loose passes from both sides. Seven minutes in and Saints were penalised for tackler not rolling away for an easy 3 points to Cartha. After a great run out of defence by new boy Euan Laverty Saints sustained a period of possession in the Cartha half. The two front rows were taking their time to come to terms with the pressure and heads were popping up to attract the referee’s whistle. Saints stayed in the Cartha half till they gained a penalty for a Cartha tackler not rolling away from a ruck. Ben Johnstone kicked the 3 points to draw level.

Saints almost immediately gave a way a penalty for offside in front of their posts and it was 6 : 3. Cartha were not going to let Saints get the ascendency again and retained possession well despite some great defence before diving over from a ruck on the Saints try line. The conversion was missed and the score went to 11 : 3.

The second quarter saw some excellent clearance kicks out of defence by Jordan Kerr and Martin Smith. One huge kick through from Jordan was knocked on by the Cartha full back who then illegally prevented advantage being played so Ben Johnstone kicked another 3 points. The two sides were evenly matched at this stage and just before half time Saints were awarded a penalty between the 10 and half way, it was outwith Ben Johnstone’s range but Jordan Kerr had been kicking well from hand so had a go but it just fell short. Half time Cartha 11 Saints 6, the crowd hoped for a bit more continuity of play and the game could go either way.

It was to be Cartha who found their game in the second half, albeit against 14 men. Craig Bryson was harshly sin binned for pulling a Cartha jersey in a chase for the ball outside his 22 with loads of defenders behind him, hardly a scoring position but made into an easy 3 points. A Saints back row broke early from a scrum for another easy 3. Saints penalised for offside then marched back 10 for arguing gave Cartha a kick to touch 5 metres out and an easy catch and drive for try. The conversion was missed, the sin bin was over, Saints were back up to 15 men but were now down 22 : 6.

Cartha were keen to try the catch and drive again so used every opportunity to kick to the corners and were rewarded by another easy try which this time they converted. They made up for it with their next try which was a brilliant solo effort by their stand-off Wayne Burrows running from left to right till he spotted a gap, accelerated through it and weaved round the remaining defence to score under the posts for an easy conversion.

To rub salt into the wound a loose ball out the back of a scrum inside the Saints 22 was picked up by Peter Hollier the Cartha number 8 for an easy stroll to the line. The final conversion took the score to 43 : 6 which is where it finished.

Next Saturday Saints have Hamilton at home and before then a couple of training sessions at which with head coach Mickey Hunt will be keen to raise their game.

Team: Alex Halliday, Martin Smith, Euan Laverty, Craig Bryson, Dougie Boyd, Jordan Kerr, Ben Johnstone, Sean Graham, James Jackson, Adam Prentice, Stuart Kennedy, Bruce Hunt, Ross Mawdesley, Mark McClatchey (capt), Alistair Jackson. Subs all used Ali Mather, Daniel Henderson, Jack Johnstone