Tom Thorburn reports from Hallhill
Duns First Team made the short journey to Dunbar RFC for their first league encounter for some two seasons - Dunbar having gained promotion from East League 2. In what can only be described as beautiful autumnal weather - perfect for playing rugby, it is just a pity that there was no beautiful rugby for those of us on the non playing part of the pitch.
Duns were penalised within the first minute of play for wheeling the scrum. The penalty count continued apace and at only seven minutes into the game, Dunbar were allowed a kick at goal from the 22 line which fortunately for the Dingers was missed. The Dunbar kicker had a somewhat easier job to do when Duns were penalised in front of the posts on the 22 for holding on at the breakdown, his successful kick brought the first score on the board to 3 for Dunbar after some 11 minutes of gruelling forwards play. Duns thought they would level the score again when they were awarded a penalty just inside the Dunbar half, unfortunately Robertson's kick went wide of the sticks. With further penalties awarded against Duns for their misdemeanours, the Dunbar kicker found himself with another easy job to kick his goal from inside the Duns 22 to bring the score to 6 for Dunbar at some 29 minutes into the game. The penalty count increased over the remaining minutes of the first half with both teams being similarly awarded for their errant play.
Four minutes into the second half saw Bert Griggs replaced by Martin Aitchison due to an upper arm injury. Hope that Duns were going to do better in the second half were justified when they were awarded a penalty inside the Dunbar 22 for them wheeling the scrum, Wilkinson's trusty boot brought the score to 6 - 3. Dunbar again fortunately missed their penalty kick when Duns were penalised for an infringement at the scrum. Nathan Chisholm replaced Andrew Connor on the front row after some eleven minutes of play in the second half whereupon scrums became uncontested. A dubious penalty against Duns, 10 metres out from the goal line allowed Dunbar to take a quick tap penalty, shift the ball along the line to their big forward who made easy work across the line under the posts. With a successfull conversion kick Duns now had their work cut out to get on top of their opposition with a minimum of 2 scores required and 25 minutes remaining.
Duns made their third replacement when Andrew Hamilton replaced Kevin Aitchison at 60 minutes into the game. It was in these last 20 minutes that their were lots of unforced errors and wrong options made/taken to allow Dunbar the hungrier team to run out victors in this uninspiring high penalty count encounter.
The team consisted of : - 15 Neil Graham; 14 Andrew Baxter; 13 Dale Robertson; 12 Kevin Aitchison; 11 David Hutchison; 10 Keiran Wilkinson; 9 Danny Lamb; 1 Alan Whellans; 2 Cammy Hill; 3 Andrew Connor; 4 Stuart Cockburn; 5 James Thorburn; 6 Robert Griggs; 8 Richard Burns and 7 Dane Ivison. Replacement were Martin Aitchison, Nathan Chisholm and Andrew Hamilton.