DRFC 1st XV - Report
North Berwick v Dunbar
Dunbar hang on to take the win at Recreation Park. Dunbar had to endure two periods with only 14 men after two yellow cards but held out. Heartache looked on the cards as the home team had a penalty in the dying minutes but the kick went wide.
Within three minutes Dunbar had extended their lead to 8-0 when centre gary peebles burst through to score out wide. The conversion attempt flew past the right hand post. The Dunbar flanker Derek Anderson had stolen home line out ball and charged up field. The ball went quickly along the line to Peebles who had caused major headaches to the defence. Once passed the initial tackle the big centre strolled over to score with just 18 minutes played.
On 23 minutes North Berwick lost their number 8 for a short period through injury. Dunbar continued to dominate possession and territory as they looked to extend their lead. With 30 minutes played an altercation at a scrum saw Dunbar flanker keith courtney yellow carded by referee Ian Clark. This allowed North Berwick to come back into the game and Dunbar were on the defensive. Dunbar replaced prop Richie Gallagher with youngster Ruaridh Mitchell to try and bolster the scrum. Good play by North Berwick saw them camp on the Dunbar line only to see the ball stolen and cleared up field. Just before half time Dunbar were back to full strength with the return of Courtney to the pack.
Dunbar made several changes at half time with Mills replacing Clutton and Keiran Donnellan replacing winger Ally Brown. It meant a shuffle in the backs as Donnellan moved to full back with gary peters moving to the wing.
Dunbar continued to dominate proceedings and were camped in the North Berwick half. Play moved quickly towards the home try line and Dunbar set up good ball. Number 8 Calum Champion broke off to score in the corner. jamie peters converted the try from the touchline to extend the Dunbar lead to 15-0 with 47 minutes played. North Berwick stung by the try came back up field and were awarded a try when Dunbar winger Peebles was guilty of holding on. North Berwick reduced the lead to 15-3 with 50 minutes played.
Scrum half Blair Mills was having an impact with his quick decisions. From a penalty award he broke up field before releasing Derek Anderson who was illegally stopped in his tracks. The ball was kicked to touch but was stolen by the North Berwick forwards before going out wide. A fracas erupted which saw both captains spoken to before the referee yellow carded the Dunbar skipper. This was harsh as the home player had retaliated on more than one occasion. Blair Mills and gary peters put in some nice kicks to peg North Berwick back in their own 22. Dunbar flanker Derek Anderson and centre Sandy Thomson were immense in the tackle as they stopped the counter attack at source.
North Berwick were now starting to pin Dunbar back in the corners and should have scored but for a knock on near the try line. From the Dunbar scrum the home forwards drove Dunbar off the ball and a quick pick up saw them go over for a score.
North Berwick playing against 14 men continued to pressure the Dunbar line and again were rewarded by another score out wide after 68 minutes. Dunbar now had influential captain Peters back on at stand off and looked to contain play in the opposition half.
Dunbar had several good chances but were guilty of giving away too many penalties allowing North Berwick time to clear their lines. The home team went all out in the last few minutes to win a game they really did not deserve to win. Good Dunbar defence kept them out but they gave away a penalty out wide which would give North Berwick the lead. The ball sailed wide and Dunbar held out for the win to close the gap on their rivals.
There were many great individual performances in the Dunbar team but both Anderson and Thomson stood out in defence. The team will have to stop giving away so many penalties as they host Berwick on Saturday at Hallhill.