Sep 3 2010 Dumfries Standard Friday
DUMFRIES Saints couldn’t have wished for better conditions underfoot as they kicked off the new Premier 3 at Park Farm, but a swirling wind ensured things would be tricky.
Saints welcomed new stand-off Bosman Du Plessis into the side and winger Graeme Gemmell who had joined from Moffat Rams.
Saints kicked off into the wind although it was hard to figure out which way it was going.
A frantic opening period saw centre Sam Hiddleston go down with a thigh knock after his first charge, worse was to follow when with less than 10 minutes on the clock Bosman Du Plessis cut through the visitors defence and was only stopped by a last-gasp tackle.
Bosman didn’t get back up, however, and had to be substituted with a broken arm. He showed enough to ensure Saints supporters wish him a speedy recovery and a hasty return!
The disruption did not help Saints who seemed over anxious at times, trying to force the game rather than build the phases.
Dalziel struck first with Simpson converting a penalty after 20 minutes. Saints were trying to play open rugby whilst Dalziel preferred to keep it tighter with the bigger forwards.
Saints pressed for a score and from a well worked catch and drive at the lineout seemed to be heading for it, however the maul was collapsed and the chance lost. Half time after a very scrappy first half and Saints were 3-0 down.
Saints started the second half brightly with an early run from Sam Hiddleston getting deep into the Dalziel 22.
From the set piece Saints went again and almost made the line, just when they appeared to be going through the phases to an inevitable score another knock on let the visitors off.
However the Saints scrum drove Dalziel backwards and Rory Steele was up like a flash to charge down the clearance kick and score the try.
It was converted by Tom Hiddleston and Saints were in front!
Dalziel went back on the attack and with the wind dropping Saints struggled to win any consistent clean possession.
The home defence held firm however with the forwards working hard on the tight defence and thwarting Dalziel attempts to drive a maul over from close range. Eventually however Dalziel got a penalty and converted it to narrow the gap to 7-6 with 15 minutes to go.
Saints pressurised from the kick off and within minutes had a penalty of their own. Tom Hiddleston converted and the home supporters hoped this would give them the gap the needed.
Dalziel had other ideas and again went on the attack denying Saints any possession worth having. With the clock ticking down the home defence held firm, the tight pick and goes were going nowhere for the visitors. With time almost up they ran it wide, the Saints had enough defenders but too many were ball watching and the try was scored out wide.
Time was almost up and although Saints were able to restart there was no time to even regain possession before the final whistle went.
A disappointing opening game, a very scrappy performance and one that will undoubtedly be improved on in the weeks to come.
Team: G McCall, R Henderson, R MacMillan, A Mather, S Kennedy, J Currie, F Miller, D Henderson, A Birdsall, B Du Plessis, G Gemmell, S Hiddleston, R Steele, K Henderson, T Hiddleston. Subs all used; C Greer, S Graham, A Walker, V Satala.