1st XV - Report
|North Berwick||27||vs||24||Preston Lodge|
Derby Day Blues for PL at North Berwick
A last minute try allowed North Berwick to snatch the points in the latest East Lothian derby against Preston Lodge at Recreation Park on Saturday when their pace and determination caught the visitors’ on the hop.
North Berwick picked themselves up from this almost immediately because from the restart, they found good field position inside PL’s 22 and the pack did well to secure the ball. However, it was the threequarter line that would cause plenty of problems for the PL defence throughout the afternoon and when centre Callum Mark received the ball, he passed it on quickly before looping round to get it back while running a great angle that allowed him to cut right through the PL defence to score. Liam West’s conversion levelled things up at 7-7.
Following this try, it was PL who picked themselves up and they looked a lot livelier as Chris Dixon and Sam Stuart put in some good work in the loose but it was Paul Glynn who made plenty of ground down the right after he had received the ball from Stuart McLean after he had managed a great pick up almost from his bootlaces. Unfortunately, he would shortly be forced to leave the field after going over on his ankle and this resulted in the scrums becoming uncontested for the rest of the match. This latest visit into the home 22 again brought rewards for PL, as Clark opted for a shot at goal from a penalty and he made no mistake to give his side the lead again at 7-10.
West had the chance to level things up in the 34th minute when pressure in the PL 22 had forced the defence to concede a penalty but unfortunately his kick at goal hit the post and came back. This could still have been dangerous but a great tackle by Bruce Stoddart halted the danger. This seemed to give PL a lift just before the break and once again they patiently worked the ball upfield and quick hands through the centre pairing of Greg Kinross and Blair Robertson set up the attack which was finished off brilliantly with a try for Easton. Clark’s conversion gave PL a handy enough 7-17 lead at the break.
Grant Craig was introduced to the action at the start of the second half and it wasn’t long before he was able to exert his influence on the game. North Berwick captain Adam MacNair opted to take the advantage of the free ball from an uncontested scrum rather than a penalty and this set up a great attack down the left. The home backs had already shown that they had plenty of pace and were confident with the ball in hand so it came as no surprise when they put together some close passes and Craig was on hand to touchdown in the corner. The conversion was missed but the scoreline was now much closer at 12-17 after 43 minutes.
However, it didn’t take long for PL to pick themselves up and extend their lead again. Their line out hadn’t been functioning too well throughout the first half but Raymond Mackie was on target this time and found his jumper and when the ball was recycled and passed to Greg Kinross, he was able to breeze through at pace to score under the posts. Clark was on target again and PL’s 12-24 lead looked convincing.
North Berwick had plenty of ideas of their own though and the back row of Armstrong, Anderson and Dove picked up the pace to match that of the backs and create a more potent threat from anywhere on the pitch. Some forced changes to the PL line up were causing problems in the pack leading to too many unforced errors and giving up the ball too easily. North Berwick were now using the possession to their advantage and again some quick passes between Mark and Craig set up an attack down the left which the PL defence couldn’t stop and Quentin Caulfield was allowed to cross for the try.
When PL managed to retain the ball, they still looked dangerous going forward and Rory Monk came very close to scoring but he was forced into touch before he could touch it down. However, with seven minutes of playing time remaining, the referee sent PL’s Paul Voy to the sin bin for a high tackle and this would only add to the tension and the pressure on the visitors. And North Berwick were able to take full advantage as first they broke away down the left to score in the corner and make the score 22-24 with six minutes to go and then, when composure was required to run down the clock, PL once again needlessly spilled the ball which was quickly snaffled by North Berwick on halfway. This gave them the opportunity that they weren’t going to miss and they were able to put together a move which included MacNair in the backline but was ultimately finished off by Graeme Fairgrieve. The conversion was missed but the score was 27-24 in favour of the home side and there was no time left for any more play.
This had been a cracking game with plenty of skill on show from both sides but ultimately North Berwick made fewer errors and made the most of their chances.
Preston Lodge will be grateful for the short break in league action over the next few weeks in the hope that some of their injuries will heal to allow them to get back to top form.
Next week both sides are in Edinburgh Regional Shield action – North Berwick play hosts to Trinity Accies while PL travel to Dalkeith. Kick offs are at 2pm.
North Berwick Team:
D Waldman, G Fairgrieve, K Hamilton, C Mark, C Johnson, L West, G Spence
L Inglis, S Purves, A Gallacher, J Riddell, A MacNair, J Armstrong, G Anderson, I Dove
Q Caulfield, G Craig, A Elder
Preston Lodge Team:
G Patterson, R Monks, G Kinross, B Robertson, P Glynn, A Clark, W Easton
S McLean, R Mackie, K Duncan, B Cowan, B Stoddart, S Stuart, C Dixon, P Voy
L King, A Archer, P Johnston