On another fine day for sport, North Berwick travelled to Edinburgh to play mid-table Forrester in this East Region League 1 match. The supporters thought an away win was possible.
Ben Inglis returned from holiday but not in his usual back row position but at inside centre partnering Mike Lewis. Teddy Knight came into the back row with Andy Stephenson retained.
Although Forrester attacked from the kick off, North Berwick worked their way into the opposition half and on the five minute mark, Grant Craig opened the scoring with a well struck penalty. Forrester began to dominate and having missed a penalty on the quarter hour, five minutes later and after several phases of play scored a deserved try which was converted to take the lead.
Craig kicked another penalty to reduce the deficit but the home side extended their lead with another well worked try close enough to the posts for another conversion. Defensive angles and weak tackling were to blame and although North Berwick had had plenty of possession the breakdown was causing significant problems. Forrester were winning that contest hands down. Whether much of it was legal or not, is open to interpretation but the forwards were not ‘clearing’ the ruck well enough to persuade the referee of that!
North Berwick were still in contention and by half time Craig had slotted two more penalties to make the half time score Forrester 14 North Berwick 12.
The contest was fairly even for the first plays of the second half and Craig kicked a penalty in fifteen minutes to take the lead. Unfortunately the return kick off was ignored by everybody and Forrester took possession and scored a try which was converted – a daft score to give away! They were to score again through the centres and suddenly it was 28 – 15 with eighteen minutes of the second half played.
Bhrian Buchanan and Jamie Dove had joined the game and Buchanan’s abrasive running was encouraging to the decent away support and also to his colleagues. Jake Boswell was on the end of a driving maul and scored a try which Craig converted, the deficit was reduced to six points.
Forrester attacked again and from an off side penalty gladly took the three points on offer to extend the lead to two scores.
From a good drive by Inglis, the ball was spun left and Connor Johnston scored an excellent try and with the last kick of the match, Craig continued his faultless performance with the boot and converted.
Yes, North Berwick could and possibly should have won but Forrester scored four tries and probably deserved their win.
The pick of the forwards were Jonny Riddell and Scott Purvis both young men who are learning their trade on the job so to speak and Buchanan made a difference when he was introduced. Graeme Fairgrieve was always dangerous when he was on the ball and unlucky on a couple of occasions not to increase his try count.
Duns at home this weekend and the forwards will need to be better at the breakdown and defence in the backs will need to improve if a win is to be possible against the side second in the league.