Duns inflict heavy defeat on Earlston
Ten try romp at the Hardens
DUNS 66 points, EARLSTON 7 points.
Duns entertained Earlston in a Berwickshire derby at the Hardens in the final round of matches in this season's RBS Border Regional Shield competition, and came out on top by 10 tries, 8 of which were converted, to a converted try.
Going into the match both sides knew that winning the Border Shield was beyond them, so there were only local bragging rights at stake. Duns played with the slope in the first half, and had the game sewn up after barely a quarter of the contest by which time they had swept into a 26 - 0 lead.
The home side started the match like a house on fire, and were camped inside the Earlston 22 for the opening five minutes or so. Eventually their pressure told and after a penetrative run by Stewart Cockburn, who had another good game for Duns in the back row, an offload just short of the line saw Keiran Wilkinson stroll over for the first try of the day. Dale Robertson converted.
Three minutes later, a seemingly aimless chip ahead by Robertson caught the visitors defence napping, and Stuart Thomson was the beneficiary as he just about won the race to touch down. Again Robertson converted.
Earlston were conceding penalty after penalty in a bid to stem the tide of red and black jerseys, and from one of these a quick tap by Chris Williamson saw the young Duns flanker crash over powerfully for the third try of the game. Once again the conversion by Robertson found its mark.
Next to score for Duns was Neil Graham. His kick ahead was perhaps even more speculative than Robertson's 10 minutes earlier, but again it caused panic in the Earlston defence with no-one willing to touch the ball down. This allowed Graham to follow up and dive on the ball himself for a try which seemed to happen in slow motion.
Earlston scored their only points of the match with half an hour gone. Duns were slow to tidy up loose ball, and when it was eventually fed to Jamie Renton on the right wing his attempted clearance kick was charged down. Earlston were first to react and touched down near the corner, with a fine conversion narrowing the gap to 26 - 7.
Just before half time David Hutchison scored the first of his hat-trick of tries, after a good burst up the touchline by Allen Whellans and then a nicely timed and weighted pass. Keiran Wilkinson kicked the extra points.
Into the second half, Duns scored five more tries as the Earlston legs grew heavier and their heads dropped. Eventually their captain implored the referee to bring proceedings to a premature close, and so the final whistle was blown after little more than 25 minutes of the half. The first score of the half came from Alexander Auld, after a 50 metre beak by Danny Lamb. The Duns scrum half broke from a scrum inside his own half, and when he was tackled on the visitors' 22 he popped a pass to the supporting Auld. Dale Robertson converted.
Next, David Hutchison scored his second try in the left corner, taking him past Colin Aitchison's tally of 105 First XV tries and into second place on the all-time list. Robertson kicked a fine conversion from the touchline.
The Earlston resistance had by now buckled almost completely, and Duns were scoring tries nearly at will. Alexander Auld scored his second after a good run by Stuart Thomson, and then Thomson scored his second but was injured in the act of touching down and had to leave the field. Finally David Hutchison scored his third before the referee took pity on the visitors and called the game to a halt. Keiran Wilkinson converted the final two tries.
The win, coupled with the excellent result seven days previously when Duns defeated league leaders Livingston, will put the side in good heart for another tricky fixture this weekend when Duns travel to Prestonpans to take on second-placed Preston Lodge in the league.
The Duns team was :- Neil Graham; Keiran Wilkinson, Ross Turner, Stuart Thomson and David Hutchison; Dale Robertson and Danny Lamb; Scott McCraw, Cammy Hill, Andrew Connor, Duncan Budge ( captain ), Scott Turnbull, Chris Williamson, Alexander Auld and Stewart Cockburn. The replacements were Allen Whellans, Peter Lamb, Richard Burns and Jamie Renton.