Saints Falkirk Blues
Dumfries Saints 32 Falkirk 62
On a brilliant sunny day Saints kicked off their last Premier 3 fixture of the season with a patched up team with plenty of eager youngsters getting a start. Newly promoted Falkirk had a full side out including their stars such as ex Scotland hooker Kevin MacKenzie.
Saints started with real pace and aggression, after applying pressure they took the lead in five minutes with fly half Alan Birdsall kicking a penalty. More was to follow and within minutes full back Kenny Henderson engineered a break and put winger Andrew Whiteford in for a try in the corner.
After the recent dry weather the surface was dry and hard, both sides were throwing the ball about and trying to play entertaining rugby. Saints injury jinx struck again as prop Gareth McCall had to leave the field after ten minutes. Falkirk seized their chance and from a five metre scrum made their extra weight up front pay as they drove over for the try. Centre and man of the match Sam Hiddleston charged down the conversion attempt and then followed it up by taking a superb catch from the kick off and going straight through under the Falkirk posts! Saints 15-5 up.
Saints kept up the momentum and after 20 minutes a poor clearance kick from the visitors was caught by prop Blair Milligan and went through the hands of Kenny Henderson and Mark McClatchie before James Currie scored the try. Birdsall converted and Saints were 22-5 up.
The visitors realised they were in a game now and tightened the game up. As they applied pressure they used to boot to get into Saints territory and kicked penalties to the corners. Twice with half time approaching their big pack were then able to catch and drive to maul their way over for scores. To add to Saints woes Sam Hiddleston was mysteriously yellow carded and they were down to 14 men. Half time and Saints were leading 22-17.
The Falkirk coaching staff certainly got their side to screw the nut and tighten up for the second half. The started using their big pack to grind down Saints and then spin the ball wide when defenders were trapped. Against 14 men they scored two tries within ten minutes to take a commanding lead.
Saints were undone when no sooner was Sam Hiddleston back on the pitch than Villy Satala also suffered a harsh yellow card. A tiring young Saints team couldn’t hold out the strong Falkirk side, especially playing 20 minutes with 14 men. There was a fear that this brave effort by a young Saints side would go unrewarded but they came back into the game searching for a fourth try and a bonus point.
Saints got their reward when captain Jamie Little burst through a gap to go 30 yards for a try. Falkirk replied with another but just to show Saints would not lie down they went back downfield and created another gap for Jamie Little to go through for try number five.
This has been a long season for Saints with 44 players appearing in 22 Premier 3 games, the visitors used 26 in the same number. It has been a learning season for Saints, if they work hard on their conditioning over the summer they will be a better equipped team next year to target promotion once again!
Team; G McCall, K Geddes, B Milligan, J Currie, D Henderson, R Henderson, D Crichton, J Little, J Farquhar, A Birdsall, M McClatchie, S Hiddleston, V Satala, A Whiteford, K Henderson. Subs all used; A Sloan, S Robertson, L Smith, S Renwick.
Alan Birdsall takes on the Falkirk defence
James Currie looks for a gap with Andrew Whiteford in support
Jamie Farquhar slips through the gap
Kenny henderson tries to find a way through
Villy Satala off loads to Ross Henderson