1st XV - Report
Late Try Bonus For PL At Duns
This was the final game of the first half of this season’s league campaign but despite Duns lowly position in the league this term, Preston Lodge couldn’t afford to underestimate them.
For the next 10 minutes all of the attacking play came from Duns but PL’s back three of Rory Monks, Jonathan Brash and Graeme Patterson dealt easily with all of the high kicks and breaks down the line. PL’s second visit into the Duns’ half ended in the same way as their first after centre Blair Robertson broke through the defensive line into the 22 before being brought down with a good tackle. The defence were too eager though and conceded another penalty in front of the posts which Clark easily converted to double the score to 0-6.
The first try came in the 18th minute after a nice break by Paul Glynn nearly allowed him through to score but Monks was on hand to pick up the ball after the tackle and he outstripped the defence as he charged down the left to touch down in the corner.
An injury to Keith Duncan meant that he had to leave the field but his able replacement was Bruce Stoddart who has returned to PL after several seasons away and his physical presence was a welcome addition to the PL pack who had been struggling to secure clean ball from the scrummage. Despite the amount of possession Duns were enjoying, they were doing little with it and gave it away too easily with some poor decisions and even poorer kicks. The opposite could be said of PL because they were making full use of the ball and when Clark sent through a nice grubber kick, Monks was on hand to pressurise the defender who managed to scramble it to touch on the 22. Once again, Duns couldn’t cope with the pressure from the PL pack and were forced into conceding another penalty which Clark slotted to make the score 0-14.
Just before half time, PL scored their second try which came from a great move which saw Brash running a great angle off his wing to charge through the heart of the midfield defence before coolly passing to Patterson who had the easy job of touching down under the posts. Clark added the conversion but there was still time for the third try to be scored as PL enjoyed their best spell of possession since the start of the game. Peter Johnston was busy at the back of the pack and Stuart McLean was much in evidence as the ball was passed back and forth along the threequarters so it was fitting that he sent the final pass to Paul Voy before the big No. 8 forced his way over for a great try. Clark just missed the conversion but PL had a comfortable 0-26 lead as the referee blew for half time.
Despite some good work in loose by Aaron Hay and Sam Stuart, the second half stats would show even more possession for Duns but PL’s defensive skills were more than a match as the home side failed to conjure up any real scoring opportunities. Living off scraps wasn’t exactly going to make things easy for PL though as they had to find a way to score the vital fourth try to secure a bonus point to keep the pressure on Livingston at the top of the league. On the hour mark, a brilliant tackle by Chris Dixon almost certainly stopped the home side from scoring but as time wore on in the freezing but bright conditions, it was difficult to see where any more points would come from. However, PL’s cause was helped in the 72nd minute when former international referee Iain Ramage, who was enjoying a run out following recent TMO duties at Montpellier and Murrayfield, had no hesitation in showing his red card to a Duns player who had put in a dangerous tackle on Rory Monks who thankfully was able to continue after treatment. This was just the signal that PL needed to up their game and when Raymond Mackie charged forward, he took the ball into the home 22 for probably the first time in the half. Blair Cowan and Paul Voy were involved in the move but once again Robertson and Glynn added pace and shipped the ball to Brash on the left wing and he was unstoppable as the defence was beaten allowing him to run round and score under the posts. Clark’s conversion made the final score a very comfortable 0-33.
It wasn’t the prettiest of victories but it was efficient and most importantly, the bonus point was secured with no points conceded to ensure that the PL defence remains the meanest in the league. Another tricky fixture lies in store next week with yet another local derby against North Berwick at Recreation Park. Please note that kick off times have now changed to 2pm.
Preston Lodge Team:
G Patterson, R Monk, P Glynn, B Robertson, J Brash, A Clark, P Johnston
S McLean, R Mackie, K Duncan, B Cowan, A Hay, S Stuart, C Dixon, P Voy
L King, A Archer, B Stoddart