Saints Earn Victory – Dumfries Saints 20 Morgan 12
On a overcast afternoon Saints kicked off against visitors Morgan from Dundee as they attempted to get back in the winning groove and do the double over the visitors. Saints welcomed back Johnnie Sloan onto the bench but scrum half Aaron Watson didn’t make it and will have to wait for his return from injury.
Saints started positively with Sam Hiddleston catching the kick off and when the ball was recycled youngster Andrew Whiteford starting his first game in the seniors this season made a threatening early run. The pressure led to a line out and when Saints moved the ball quickly wide the visitors killed the ball conceding the penalty. Tom Hiddleston kicked for an early 3-0 lead. This was a false dawn for Saints as Graham Kiddie, the Morgan stand off, ran the game for the next 15 minutes with clever kicks forcing Saints to play in their own 22. The pressure led to penalties and Kiddie soon equalised.
To add to Saints frustration soon after the ref missed a Morgan knock on and Kiddie swiftly kicked a drop goal to rub salt in the wound. When things go against you they often get worse! Saints conceded another penalty for a scrum offence to fall 9-3 down. After 20 minutes things were not going Saints way.
At last Saints got into the Morgan half and built some pressure as they started to play with some pattern, taking the ball up in midfield and then targeting the gaps created. Rory Steele took a quick tap penalty and carved a way through the defence, Jamie Farquhar was in support to carry the move on to the Morgan 22. Saints won line out ball and moved Morgan about, full back Tom Hiddleston came into the line and almost got the try but Saints retained possession and brother Sam drove over from close range. Tom converted and Saints were 10-9 ahead.
Saints now had the visitors rattle and piled on the pressure, keeping the ball in hand with plenty of support runners, Morgan had no answer. Second row Ali Mather looked to go over for a second try but some how lost the ball forward in grounding. At the resultant scrum Saints pressurised Morgan and forced their number 8 to pick up, the ball was spilled and Rory Steele nipped in for an opportunist try, converted by Tom Hiddleston for 17-9.
Saints were in the ascendancy and continued this into the second half earning a further penalty to stretch to 20-9. Unfortunately at this point Saints took the foot off the pedal and allowed Morgan back into the game. They were fortunate that when they conceded penalties Morgan were unable to convert them to narrow the gap. Stewart Renwick was having a storming game at wing forward never letting a man past and Sean Cockburn was getting about the park as well fulfilling his propping duties. Eventually Saints paid when Kiddie kicked another penalty for 20-12.
Morgan were spurred on by the chance to get back into the game or at least get a losing bonus point. They forced Saints to display some excellent defence with one spectacular try saving tackle from Andrew Whiteford on a flying winger. Stand in scrum half Jamie Farquhar was also having an excellent day in an unfamiliar position.
As the clock ticked down the ref spiced things up by firstly yellow carding Saints captain Jamie Little for an offence no one else could see and then soon after yellow carding Tom Hiddleston correctly for deliberately putting the ball out. Saints faced a nervous five minutes with only 13 men and only back to 14 for the last five minutes. Excellent defence and a fine clearing kick from Alex Bryden saw them through, final score 20-12.
The was a mixed performance, some excellent rugby when playing the game plan, some very rusty stuff after six weeks off and some excellent defence. A valuable win and plenty to build on for next week!
Team; K Geddes, R Henderson, S Cockburn, A Mather, D Henderson, J Little, S Renwick, S Clanachan, J Farquhar, A Bryden, V Satala, S Hiddleston, R Steele, A Whiteford, T Hiddleston. Subs; A Sloan, R MacMillan, G Minty, J Sloan.
Alex Bryden finds a gap
Front row beauties!
Ross Henderson gets his man
Stewart Renwick tackles and Sam Hiddleston digs for the ball
Stuart Clanachan targets the ball with plenty of support
Youngster Andrew Whiteford almost breaks away