Saints grind out the double

Scottish Premier 3 Dumfries Saints 26 – Perthshire 3

Last weekend on a sunny but breezy Park Farm, Saints welcomed their midland rivals knowing that a good result would cement their hold on a top half league position. With a single score separating the teams in the early season game, and having lost their last two home games against the visitors, Saints know they would be in for a tight match.

The sad departure of John Sa back to his native new Zealand because of family illness meant the home team had to make dramatic adjustments to the front row. This gave young 18 year old Sean Graham the opportunity to grasp a starting berth at loose head prop and Gareth McCall moving to what is for him the uncustomary tight head berth.

Both side started nervously obviously aware of the need to register a win, with play see-sawing and neither side really enjoying much domination. First blood fell to Saints courtesy of the boot of Tom Hiddleston. Not to be outdone the visitors came back on the offensive and drew level after punishing a Saints indiscretion. Midway through the half Tom Hiddleston extended the lead for the home side converting another penalty. With the session drawing to a close a forward drive saw Paddy Coupar touch down. Hiddleston’s conversion extended Saints lead and created some breathing space between the two sides for the first time.

In the second half Saints forwards were by now totally dominant in both scrum and lineout giving the backs an ample supply of ball to attack the wilting Perthshire defence. Despite this dominance a mixture of missed chances, poor decision making and valiant defence kept the visitors in the game.

On the two occasions the backs attacked from depth and ran straight they scored. Kenny Henderson got the first counter as he took on his winger, rounded him and scored out wide. The final score came as Sam Hiddleston ran in a try from the half way line which his brother converted making the final score Saints 26 – Perthshire 3

This was a solid if workmanlike performance from Saints, securing four valuable league points in the process which really should have been a bonus win. They will need to be more precise in movement, minimise their errors, and bring ruthlessness to their finishing when they travel to play old rivals Howe of Fife next weekend.

Saints Team: S Graham, K Brown, G McCall, S Kennedy, D Henderson, P Coupar, F Miller, S Clanachan, S Diez, G Gemmell, J Sloan, S Hiddleston, R Steele, K Henderson, T Hiddleston

Replacements who all played: V Satala, A Munro, A Turnbull and B Milligan